Earlier this year I released my first book, “The Ties that Bind: Networking with Style” through BookPress Publishing. Since its release I have been asked numerous times at presentations and one-on-ones why I wrote a book. Specifically a book on networking? I wish I could say I was smart enough to know what I was doing at the time but I can’t. In fact, the book started to take shape after one conversation with my father.
I was sitting on the porch swing at my parents' house one afternoon last summer. My dad is a pretty black and white guy. He tells it like it is and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. We were watching the sunset and I was talking about the success I was having with networking.
He asked a of couple questions: “What is networking?” “What exactly do you do?” “Why do you keep talking about it?” I went on and on about my network, the personal and professional success I was having, and what I was expecting to happen over the upcoming year.
He took a drag on his cigarette. I could tell he was thinking about his next comment. I sat in silence, waiting for a question. He grinned and I knew something good was about to happen. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Danny that all sounds good but kind of complicated.”
“What do you mean, Dad?” I asked.
He explained, “It all sounds fine and good but do you know what we called this 'networking' thing you’re talking about back in my day?” I smiled, here it was. “What Dad?” He paused and smiled again. “Talking to people…”
And there it was. Of course, he was right. Networking is nothing more than talking to people.
That’s why I wrote this book. I wanted to explain that networking is nothing more than talking to people and most people are inherently good at that. We’ve labeled it “networking” and we’ve created a stigma that only salespeople or individuals in suits are good at it. That’s just not the case.
The next time you attend a networking event or have a social on the calendar think back to that porch swing. Networking is nothing more than talking to people. Go have a fun conversation and remember we were born to talk to each other. It’s that simple.
- Danny Beyer is the director of Sales and Marketing for Kabel Business Services and author of The Ties that Bind: Networking with Style. He is also a professional speaker on networking.