You’ve probably heard the saying “your network is your net worth.” It is especially true in business. As an entrepreneur, the benefits of networking are critical to your personal growth and business development. If you are still not sure about the full benefits for networking, then check out this article on the “Top 9 Benefits Of Networking In Business.” However, not everyone is extroverted and was born with natural social skills. If you feel that you are awkward at networking, then here are 7 books to help you enhance your business networking skills and build relationships. As a bonus, you can actually get the audiobook version for most of these books for FREE on Amazon with Audible trial.
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1. “Superconnector,” Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh
Gerber and Paugh make a case for a new networking model. They argue that having a fishbowl full of business cards is simply no longer a measure of a successful networker. Instead, they show the model of a “superconnector” who foregoes the networking habits of yesterday in order to build connections between whole communities. The book effectively argues for the importance of building efficiency into your networking and of building relationships within several social circles, not just one.
2. “Never Eat Alone,” Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
In this latest edition of their book, the authors delve deeper into making connections online. They reveal how important it is to use content to build relationships, and they provide practical ways to grow and enhance your network. One of the most easily implementable ways they discuss is “pinging” each of your connections on a consistent basis – not only when you need something. Checking in regularly allows you to build a foundation of trust with them and establish a genuine relationship.
3. “Giftology,” John Ruhlin
So you have realized the extensive, unbeatable benefits of networking, and you have started to construct your invaluable community. What comes next? Author John Ruhlin presents a strategy for becoming influential within your networks, and it has to do with – you guessed it – gift-giving. Obviously, there is a wrong approach for gift-giving in a business relationship, as well as a right approach. Ruhlin deftly presents anecdotes, personal experiences and practical advice for helping you understand how to use gifts the right way.
4. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey
There is a reason Stephen Covey’s business book has turned into a classic, selling more than 25 million copies. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is universally applicable. One of the most helpful paradigm shifts presented in the book is from a scarcity mentality (the belief that there are insufficient resources to share) to an abundance mentality (there is enough to go around. Developing an abundance mentality helps us to create more supportive, helpful business relationships that provide value for both ourselves and our entire network.
5. “Networking Is Not Working,” Derek Coburn
Still not convinced to hold a bonfire for your business cards? Then listen to Derek Coburn explain how he approaches what he terms “un-networking.” He spent thousands of hours wasting time at large networking events before developing alternative tactics – all so he could present them to you.
His main tactic is simple and profound: He created a small, tight 20- to 30-person network, then introduced people who would benefit from it – all while establishing himself as the center of the network. Another tactic is something he’s termed the “3 for 1,” which requires that you invite someone to an event, then ask them to invite some of their friends as well. Any discomfort you feel about doing that might go away when you learn that Coburn’s new tactics helped him increase his company’s revenue by 300 percent in 18 months.
6. “Give and Take,” Adam Grant
When the youngest tenured professor at Wharton writes on how to build better relationships, you pay attention. In Give and Take, Adam breaks down the three types of leaders: givers, takers and matches. He posits that the ideal style is the giver, who brings his own vitality and helpfulness into every situation he encounters.
The book carefully weaves case studies, deep research and creative stories into a tapestry of an argument against takers, who it says destroy their own companies. Grant’s main takeaway is that using a giver mindset paves the way for more genuine business relationships to be built.
7. “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” Dale Carnegie
How to Win Friends & Influence People has been wildly influential in its own right. Before Buzzfeed was offering vapid takes of business and leadership qualities, Carnegie wisely wrote many of his wise insights in this all-time classic. Reading the book is a necessity for anyone hoping to get better at building business relationships. Even though the book was published more than 70 years ago, the strategies and principles that Carnegie recommends using are still applicable today.
If you want to become better at networking with other business professionals, one of these seven books is a great place to start. If you are truly dedicated to establishing yourself in the center of your network, try reading them all. If you have read a book that change how you approach your business relationships, let me know in the comments.
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