I met Thom Singer through blogging last summer and had the honor to meet him in person just last month in Austin, Texas. I was pretty excited to meet Thom because I found it hard to find networking blogs, and here’s a guy that has written a book on networking. After dinner he gave me a copy of his book, which I’ve been dying to get my hands on.
Many of you know that I love Never Eat Alone, and have recommended it various times. I was anxious to see how this compared, and as I read through the book my biggest question was “is this different? If I’ve read Never Eat Alone, will reading this add value to my networking?“
One comment I heard from someone elsebefore I cracked the book was that Some Assembly Required said everything that Never Eat Alone says, but without all the fluff. It is supposed to be an easier read, quicker, etc. While the book is shorter, I did not find it to be a faster read. I actually read it slower because Thom has so much substance, so many examples, suggestions and definitions that I couldn’t “skim read.”
That’s it, in a nutshell. Keith has great stories and I found his book to be highly motivational – it was just what I needed when I read it. It helped me change my views on networking, and gave me lofty goals of what I wanted to aspire to. Thom’s book gave me solid “how to’s” to accomplish the goals. These two resources fit hand-in-hand. Here are some things that I’ve picked out from the beginning of Thom’s book:
- page i: “I believe strongly that relationships with other people make us stronger than we could be on our own…” – this is why networking is critical. This is why he wrote this book.
- page III: “Building a network of business contacts is one of the most important things you can do to help your career.” Thank you Thom! I wish I knew this while I was doing all of the other important things and totally neglecting networking!
- page 2: definitions of what networking is and what it isn’t – critical for those that think they can’t, are too shy, or don’t have time.
- page 3: how to get others to do it for you (hint, the subtitle is No one will do it for you)
- page 4: 5 networking myths explained
- page 5: networking and competition – Thom spends a lot of time in his book talking about etiquette in networking with regard to competition, customers, vendors, etc. I’m guessing this is a huge part of his public speaking message as he speaks to law firms and others training them on how to network to increase business.
Here are some other things I want to pull out:
- Reasons why people don’t network
- Chapter 3 – building a strategic plan – an in-depth networking plan that you can follow
- Chapter 4 is on developing relationships, and he compares nurturing a relationship with dating someone. Excellent chapter for those that have 3 inches of business cards on their desk and think their network is strong!
- Chapter 5 is “Tricks of the Trade“… there are lots of solid examples of things to do here to increase your visibility and expand your networks in ways that you may not have considered. And they are all doable (I know this because Thom does them, and he’s just a regular guy).
- Chapter 7… if you wonder how to keep in touch (or, why you can keep in touch) with people in your network over time) you need to read this chapter.
- Chapters 8, 9 and 10 go into merging your network with your career and job (emphasis on the career). He talks about developing peer groups, continual learning and even how to join a competitor without burning your bridges (if that’s possible).
So here’s my comparison. Keith’s widely accepted book motivated me and shifted my paradigm, where Thom’s book will serve as a resource for ideas on how and where to network better. I highly recommend Thom’s book as the resource to keep handy – there are enough clever examples of HOW TO that its a keeper.
Click on over to Thom’s website to learn more about him. He’s also a speaker and loves to teach organizations or associations how to network – if you have opportunities I’m sure he’d love to hear about them. Also, you can subscribe to his blog via e-mail – you’ll find the box to subscribe to the right of the posts.