By Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon
I read Make Your Contacts Count years ago when it first hit the bookstores. I would not be exaggerating to say it dramatically changed the way I approached networking. That’s because before I read Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon’s incredible book, I thought networking meant attending business functions for the sole purpose of distributing and collecting as many business cards as possible. I never knew what to do with the cards once I got back to the office, but I was exceedingly proud of the huge pile I had amassed.
Make Your Contacts Count, however, provided me with a new, highly logical, systematic approach to making my way through the packed crowds of business luncheons and trade functions. Following the authors’ step-by-step process, I started to assess my networking skills and I shifted my mind-set about what it meant to meet all those new contacts — some of whom I hoped would be potential clients. Indeed, their detailed self-assessment (in Chapter 1) gave me an overview of the specific behaviors, attitudes and strategies I had going in.
In subsequent chapters, they guided me through a process to refine my purpose for networking, and helped me learn and understand how to better develop trusting relationships that would grow. I have never forgotten their terrific advice about proper body language, tone of voice, and opening conversations. Their “netiquette” tips also are forever ingrained, for they gave me pointers on seeking relationships rather than contacts.
They also advocate looking for networking role models to emulate. I find it wonderful to know that others now use me for this purpose.
So whether you’re looking to build a network of colleagues to help with career advancement or to grow new business opportunities, Make Your Contacts Count is a valuable desk reference and how-to guide for this most misunderstood, misused, and essential interpersonal skill.