Don't Want to Stand Out Networking? Then Don'tMost people still envision networking as a Pokemon Go game where the professional who exchanges the most business cards wins. In the eyes of author Dorie Clark, this narrow view of networking robs professionals of the opportunity to create valuable and meaningful long-term relationships. Clark’s book, Stand Out Networking: A Simple and Authentic Way to Meet People on Your Own Terms helps readers transition from the “I need the business card of everyone at this event” mindset to the “I’m here to exchange awesomeness with the people around me” way of thinking.

What is Stand Out Networking About?

For professionals tired of networking events, Stand Out Networking may offer a very simple solution to the “I-hate-going-to-networking-events” problem: Don’t go. If you are attending a networking event for the sole purpose of collecting more business cards, you may be wasting your time. As Clark points out, people don’t gain a lot of value from business cards. They gain value from the relationships with the person on the business card. Relationships, not number of business cards, are the currency of networking discussed in Stand Out Networking.

Networking, as Clark suggests, should be focused on building relationships because that is the overall goal in the first place. We attend networking events to grow our network of relationships. Traditional advice on networking, however, focuses so much emphasis on the trying to “win” at networking instead of the process of building a relationship. This leads people to believe that they “should” go to a networking event if they want to strategically advance their career.

A better approach, Clark says, is connecting on a deeper level with individuals, online and in the real world. Find ways to connect with people that match your personal style of relating to people (i.e. introvert or extrovert) and demonstrate your unique talents and skills. It doesn’t matter if that connection occurs at an event or through a blog post. It only matters that you exchange meaningful value with the relationships that are in your network. By exchanging unique and meaningful value with others, you establish a relationship that can open up more doors than a simple exchange of business cards with a person you have never met. By exchanging value, you truly learn to stand out.

Clark is an author, speaker, media commentator, marketing consultant, adjunct business professor, and guest lecturer whose book “Reinventing You” was rated as the #1 book on Leadership by Inc magazine and one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year. A former award-winning journalist, Clark enrolled a program for the academically gifted at 14. She went on to graduate two years later with a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. Along the way, she also became a Grammy-nominated jazz producer.

What Was Best About Stand Out Networking?

Stand Out Networking continues the theme of adaptability that is present in Dorie Clark’s best-selling book “Reinventing You “and applies it to networking. This offers a much more realistic response to networking than most networking books which still focus on traditional networking techniques that are slowly dying out. Clark’s overall suggestion counters the idea that you need to fit a certain mold to network effectively. Instead, Clark attests, you should adapt networking to your personal style so that you can connect on a deeper and more comfortable level. This is encouraging and empowering news for networking-tired professionals.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Stand Out Networking does an excellent job at demonstrating how networking can adapt to technology and your personality. This empowering book provides several actionable and interesting recommendations for readers to consider when trying to figure out how to refine their network skills. One area that could be developed more is the application of the book’s philosophy to real-life case studies. Specifically, the book could cover the results of an individual’s networking efforts before the book and their results after using the book’s information on a daily basis.

Why Read Stand Out Networking?

Stand Out Networking looks at the future of networking for all professionals.Networking focused on short-term goals (like trying to meet everyone at a networking event) or in ways that are counter to our personal style of communication aren’t sustainable over the long-term. That’s where this book comes in. It pushes readers to invest in the long-term game of building a strong network that evolves with your future career.

The book also recognizes the impact of technology, both the potential and liabilities. Many books focus on technology (in particular, social media) in an overly optimistic tone. Clark, however, cautions readers to choose quality over quantity, no matter how they connect with a person (online or off). This is an important principle to keep in mind as our world moves into a tech-oriented world that still requires smart networking to thrive.

This article, "Don’t Want to Stand Out Networking? Then Don’t" was first published on Small Business Trends

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