Networking for People Who Hate Networking

Does traditional networking advice seem like it’s in a foreign language? Devora Zack, author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking (Berrett-Koehler, October 2010, £14.99 ) and avowed introvert, found that most networking advice books assume that to succeed you have to become a back-slapping extrovert. Or at least learn how to fake it. Not at all. There is another way.

Forget the myth that people who dislike networking have phobias or are misanthropes- many people just aren’t made for it. Because we’ve been taught networking is all about small talk, big numbers and constant contact, introverts assume it’s not for them. But it is! The old, aggressive, glad-handing rules of networking had their limitations anyway. Zack shows how the very traits that make people networking-averse can be harnessed to forge an approach that is just as effective as more traditional strategies. In fact, she thinks these approaches are better.

Zack politely examines and then smashes to tiny fragments the “dusty old rules” of standard networking advice, and shows how introverts can apply their innate strengths to jump start a networking journey. From the networking technique that has a higher payback and lower cost than any other accessory under the sun, to the Platinum Rule of networking; these techniques can be applied in all situations. After all, as she says, life is just one big networking opportunity—a notion readers can now embrace.

Networking enables you to accomplish the things that are important to you. But you can’t adopt a style that goes against who you are—and you don’t have to. “I have never met a person who did not benefit tremendously from learning how to network—on his or her own terms”, Zack writes. “You do not succeed by denying your natural temperament; you succeed by working with your strengths.”

Devora Zack used to be just like you- she would have rather had a root canal than schmooze with a bunch of strangers. Yet she is now a successful consultant who addresses thousands of people each year. And she didn’t change her personality to do it. Zack is president of Only Connect Consulting, focusing on corporate consulting, strategic planning, seminars, corporate retreats, and coaching. Her clients include America Online, the International Monetary Fund, Deloitte, the Department of Homeland Security, and many others.

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