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Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections Paperback – May 2, 2014
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About the Author
Derek Coburn is the Founder and CEO of cadre, an un-networking community in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, which currently supports over 100 CEOs and business leaders and has hosted numerous bestselling authors and important public figures. He began his career as a financial advisor in 1998 and built a thriving wealth management practice, mainly by outworking everyone else. When the economy took a turn for the worse, he had to devote more attention to his existing clients and had less time for "traditional networking". He began to experiment with his own ideas, which included creating an informal "un-networking" group consisting of his best clients and other top professionals. These techniques tripled his revenue - in just 18 months - and improved the quality of his business and life. Derek's passion for connecting remarkable professionals led him to start cadre, and now, to write his first book.
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So, I kept reading, and reading....and reading...
(Oh no. You have got to be kidding.)
When he gets to the meat of how to put this into action, his advice is so impractical, so useless, it’s utterly ludicrous! The only concrete advice he gives the reader is to take on the huge job of organizing a networking group, that’s it.
(Uhhh.. WHY should I do that exactly...? What for...? He doesn't say.)
He goes on and on about how to choose the members, how to contact them, organize them. He even has a chapter on how to choose a restaurant for the meetings. Detailed explanation on why we need a private dining room so there is enough quiet for people to be heard.
But NOT A SINGLE WORD on what to talk about when you get there!!
Not a word about WHY these people should want to get together with you, WHAT would make it worth their time, and barely a word about WHAT the heck you should be doing at these meetings.
Please...I'm telling you, I wasted my time reading all the way through this book, hoping to find something of value.
Don't waste yours.
Instead, read “How to be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits”.
Judy Robinett is the real deal. Her resume is jawdroppingly impressive, and the tone of her writing is generous and eminently practical. It took me a long time to read her book,not because I found it tedious (far from it), but because I was highlighting every - other - sentence. It is *packed* with concrete advice, all of which I definitely plan to implement. She even makes all the same useful points that “Networking is Not Working” makes --only she does that better.
Trust me. “Networking is Not Working” is..not.. working.
It is NOT worth your time.
What I love about Derek's book is that it provides that plan. This is how you provide value - this is how you connect people - this is how you need to network.
Like many owners, I kissed a lot of frogs looking for that princess in the first few years that I was in business. I gave, and gave, and gave, and pretty much never got anything back. In the purest sense of "pay-it-forward," I shouldn't care, but a business needs to make money. So, the longer you go without getting a payoff from your "go-giver" networking efforts, the more disenchanted you become, and you stop networking. However, that's a problem - the most effective way to market your business is through networking, but only if the networking works.
As a business coach, a business writer, and an interviewer, I've run into dozens of CEOs who have given up completely on networking. They advertise, cold call, sponsor events, and pump out proposal after proposal, but keeping their pipeline full is a much more expensive proposition than it needs to be. If they would instead master real networking, or un-networking, not only would they reap the financial rewards, but they would reap the friendship rewards as well.
Derek Coburn's book offers a pithy, step-by-step process to help any business owner or business development professional create and maintain the kind of network that delivers those rewards. Derek's process works; I've known him for about 5 years and have been a member of his cadre group since he and Melanie started it. FINALLY with Cadre I am associated with a group of people who will take the time to get to know one another and will take the time to help one another. This is thanks to Derek's vision and leadership.
If you want to take advantage of the most efficient, and most successful, way to grow your business - networking - then don't delay reading Derek's book on how to do it right. He writes from personal experience, an experience I can vouch for, and he provides a step-by-step process that anyone can implement - if he/she is willing to do the work. Derek and Melanie didn't sit around eating bon bons - they worked hard to build Cadre. It is, after all, netWORKING, not netLOUNGING.
I final word on business books. I have many of them, but I don't read many of them. Why? Because 50% - 75% of the pages are fluff, and I don't have time for fluff. I only have time for "how I did it" biographies and "how to do it" practical application books. Derek's book combines both, with no fluff, which is why I will be buying this book for my clients.
"Networking is Not Working" has my highest personal recommendation and endorsement.
In sum: it’s a nice read and Coburn comes with some valid points. However, this book will not be practically relevant for a lot of readers.