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on 3 June 2013
I bought this book to help me to prepare for a management consulting role. This book really surpassed my expectations - it is a fantastic, practical guide to networking.

I really liked the length and writing style. This book is only a couple of hundred pages, and the concise, engaging style meant that my limited attention span was not challenged at any point. I finished the book during a couple of a few commutes in my first week after which, I felt ready to start using the book as a networking tool.

There were two things that set this book apart for me: Firstly, the author draws extensively on networking good practice and her own networking experience throughout the book. For example, her business card is included; a follow-up letter after a first meeting to develop business relationships, etc. The second was the `over to you'-style activities that are towards the end of each chapter. These include practical exercises for the reader, signposting to help you find out more about key themes, and tips on how to bring the ideas together into a more holistic approach to networking.

The result is an invaluable networking resource that shows you how to develop a strategic networking approach while remaining authentic. This book is perfect for current or prospective professional service firm employees.
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on 9 December 2013
My curiosity was piqued by the reviews - and the reviewers, some well-known names - so I bought this book wondering if it would teach me anything I didn't already know.
I've finished it with heaps of new ideas to apply, hence my recommendation for old hands and networking novices alike.
Things I like:
Lots of real-world examples, from the author's own business and networking experience as well as other business people from a range of services.
Clear action points at the end of each chapter to get the reader applying the tips and techniques.
All kinds of networking are covered, both face-to-face and online. Whether it's business referral networks or conferences, to less formal meet-ups there are good ideas for preparing ahead, 'working the room' and following up.
Good tips on social media too: I like the idea that the author only friends someone on FB is she's had them to dinner at her house.
Since the book was published there have been some changes in social media, such as no more Google Reader or LinkedIn Answers, and new channels have come along.However, the basic principles given are still very sound.
Lots of suggested websites and further resources to find out more, including free downloads from the author's site (registration required).
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on 8 March 2013
I do a lot of networking for my business. Physical, virtual, social; you name it, I probably do it.
Heather's book showed me how to make significant improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of my networking activities.

The book sits on my desk all the time and I often find myself referring to it as a reminder for the various things I need to do.
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on 12 December 2011
I didn't have a clue about networking when I attended my first event a few months ago. I was well-stocked with business cards but otherwise completely unprepared - I felt awkward, didn't have a clue what I was supposed to say to people and was tongue-tied anytime I was asked "So what do you do?". It was a disaster.

Fast forward two months and my second event. I was confident, well-prepared with a rehearsed 60-minute introduction speech and a slick one-line reply that gave the benefits of my business. I chatted to several new people and any time the conversation dried up or I felt "stuck" I confidently asked who else that person could introduce me to. The contrast to my first experience couldn't be more stark.

What made the difference?

This wonderful book!

It demystifies the networking process and gives simple but effective tips on how to prepare, conduct yourself and follow-up, whether you're attending a face-to-face networking event, using social media or writing a blog.

The book contains steps on how to craft the perfect intro speech and what to say to get the converstion going without spruiking your own business.

Following my first awkward and painful experience I vowed I'd never go to another networking event again, but Heather's wise words gave me the confidence to give it another go - with amazing results.

If you're serious about your business then you can't avoid networking and I recommend you purchase The FT Guide to Business Networking - your business will thank you for it!
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on 13 October 2012
Until I discovered this book on the 2012 Small Business Book Winners list, I had not put 'business success' and 'talking to people' together as a possible combination at all. The sticking point was the word 'networking' which I mistakenly thought meant 'face to face selling', to be avoided at all costs.

This book has been my constant companion ever since, and although I am still learning, it has carried me through all sorts of business networking events, which to my surprise I have both really enjoyed and which have been successful in gaining new sales, especially through referrals.

What a revelation! A whole new world opened up together with an ability to be successful in business. One of the keys to the success of this book is the ability Heather Townsend gives you to score yourself in different areas of networking, which instantly provides an ego boost in areas where you find you are doing well (for example I discovered that my Twitter following of over 4,500 is a good thing in business networking terms), and focus and practical `how to' steps to improve areas where you could do better.

And as you take the plunge and follow the action points she suggests, you suddenly realise that as an inexperienced networker, you really are not alone. No-one you meet is born with an extra `brave' gene, everyone is scared of failing in business, or just looking foolish, or finding that they are alone in a busy room with absolutely no-one wanting to talk to them.

Of course in reality none of these fears come true and the good news is that while many others find that their nerves are drowning their ability to enjoy themselves, the tools provided in this book give you a life raft to hold your head high, smile and work a room like a pro, and you will surprise yourself at how busy you are following up your interesting and valuable new contacts afterwards!

Thank you so much to Heather Townsend, who is a shining inspiration in practising what she preaches and you can find her on Twitter @HeatherTowns for more hints and tips to enhance and improve your networking experience.
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on 30 June 2011
This is a valuable read if you want to increase your business leads.

For sometime I was ignorant as to what successful networking looked like. I believed I simply had to turn up to events, meet a lot of people and give out a lot of business cards and the phone would start ringing. How wrong I was!

This book provides a structure and strategy for successful networking both online and offline. It shows that networking is not about having the people you meet become clients but about increasing the centres of influences you have.

This book highlights that a lot of people are fearful of meeting strangers in a crowded room but this fear is misplaced and can turn into an enjoyable event. I have found this myself.

If you want to increase your business read this book.
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on 28 June 2011
Networking is like marmite. You either love it or hate it. Negative perceptions and experiences, such as excruciating events with a bunch of strangers, are becoming outdated. It can easily be seen as time-consuming and a wasted effort without the confidence and tools to be effective. The ways in which people are now networking and the value it brings are changing because of technology and the imperative of finding (and staying in) work in an era of fluctuating employment. Networking has become essential to being more employable at any life stage (see Learning to Leap: A Guide to Being More Employable), whether internal or external to an organisation, and it can no longer be left to chance. So where can you go for help and support?
I really recommend you read this book whether you are a professional in business or someone who simply wants to develop this core competence. Heather is a performance improvement specialist for professional services, widely published writer and social media expert. She has written a timely book that not only simplifies and debunks the myths about networking, but also cleverly helps you join up and integrate your face-to-face and online approaches. She has spotted the opportunities being presented by the blurring of our online and offline lives.
Heather has managed to avoid making this another dry business book through bringing a lively, positive and personal style. Her energy shines through from her considerable experience of working with lawyers and accountants, setting up and running her own coaching and consultancy business, practising what she preaches through networking on and offline herself and finding time to be a mother of two young children!
The book is an easy read, clearly structured with summaries, signposts to other resources and action points in the form of targeted questions at the end of each chapter. There are plenty of real life case studies to illustrate points, the benefits of networking are highlighted and I particularly liked the inclusion of an `opportunity score' - a measure of your networking effectiveness.
Heather doesn't leave it there, she also provides practical ways you can develop and increase your score whether it's working a room at a network event or maximising LinkedIn and Twitter. There is a supporting website where you can share stories. Like the good coach she obviously is, she helps you overcome your fears. It has certainly given me more confidence and many ideas for actions to take that will help me and my business going forward.
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on 4 July 2011
Whether you are a seasoned networker or have been resisting networking until now, this book will demistify the subject and help you make profit from your networking activities.
From the first words, Heather's style is light, informed and engaging. Her clear understanding of her subject and her ability to clarify and explain key issues make it an easy and informative read. Having been a big fan of her blogs for a long time, I was delighted to hear Heather in the pages and was instantly engaged.

Much has been written on this subject- so critical to business success in the current market and going forward. Heather has taken a unique approach and the structure of the book, with exercises and actions at the end of each chapter, mean I will return to it again and again.

The greatest learning for me from the book is the need to have a plan for my networking that is truly "joined-up" as Heather says - She does not recommend face-to-face networking OR on-line networking; if I am not taking a joined-up approach I am missing the greatest opportunities for my business.

An excellent guide that everyone who wants success from their networking should read - and action!
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on 2 July 2011
Heather's excellent book is the first that I have read which addresses the issue of combining face to face and online networking and makes both seem fun and accessible. I particularly like the tips and action points included in each chapter and the fact that Part 4 encourages you to put it all together in a strategic networking plan. Interesting also to read in Chapter 12 about cultural differences and the implications of this for networking.

Having read many of Heather's blogs, I expected the book to be enjoyable and readable and it lived up to that and more. It takes the fear out of networking by placing the emphasis on interaction and helping others by sharing information and experience. I would encourage anyone who is sceptical about the power of networking and the impact of social media to read it.
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on 30 March 2012
I am usually far too stubborn to want to read 'how to' books, especially if they are on the topic of something as intangible and as supposedly common-sense as effective networking. For me, this book broke my usual habit of assuming that I can work it all out for myself!
As someone who has been successful at selling professional services, I instantly recognised some home truths - for example, about how important it is to genuinely connect with the person ( not the outcome you're after ).
The book also explains very clearly why, in this modern age, virtual/online networking is not only valid but possibly an essential part of building up your business.
The way the book is written is also really helpful for learning : good signposting of what to expect in each chapter, helpful tips dotted around and some key action points to take on, if you really want to engage with this topic and learn how to network naturally and effectively. The other thing that works well for me is that you can dip in and out of chapters, and use the information at your own pace.
Personally, I think the author has offered a huge amount of helpful content in just one book - many authors prefer to tease you with some good initial advice and then ask you buy their next instalment. Not in this case.
My bet is that, if you read this book with the intention of learning, you will not fail to come away from it with some very helpful pointers and ideas for what you can start to do differently. Very practical, very helpful.
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