Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and all other networking sites are absolutely terrific and a BIG tool for marketing and networking. Since the boom of these websites, the art of conversation and direct ‘human’ interaction have been lost. It’s kinda like when we started storing phone numbers in cell phones and could no longer remember people’s numbers on our own. Before cell phones, I could reel off anyone’s number without hesitation; alas, my brain no longer logs these in. Hmm…maybe that’s just me. But I digress…
The art of networking in person is almost dead. Even the most skilled of minglers need to make an effort to have face to face conversation after a few years of ‘networking-made-easy’, courtesy of the cyber age.
Thank goodness for self-help books such as How to Work a Room by Susan RoAne. I just finished this great read which I rate as well written and pertinent in this age where networking, image and branding are the core of any and every business.
The author starts out by identifying the 5 reasons (”Roadblocks”) resulting from our socialization, that prevent us from communicating freely and comfortably with strangers. Our mother ingrained in us to :
- Not talk to strangers
- Wait to be properly introduced
- Not be pushy
- Be better safe than sorry
- Avoid mixed messages
Susan RoAne addresses each individual issue and suggests real solutions for overcoming these roadblocks.
In my blog post, “You Had Me From Hello”-Work your Network!! , I related a story about using RoAne’s tips from the book to create a positive lasting impression on the hosts and fellow guests at an event I attended with my husband. Since then, I have continued to utilize the book to create strong business and personal contacts. RoAne stresses the fact that networking shouldn’t be a task…it should be natural and fun! So after reading the book I didn’t feel like a student about to take a life-changing examination; instead I felt excited and energized to try the suggestions.
How to Work a Room explains the importance of the perfect handshake, active listening, how to gather great conversation starters, how to leave a great first impression, the essence of never leaving our business cards (EVER!) and so much more…. My question is…How did she cover so many issues in one book!?
The author’s style is a combination of humor, anecdotes, comic strips and stories from her own life to make the book entertaining as well as educational. Every chapter brought a chuckle (yea…I got some strange looks on the train).
Anyone who has to attend a reunion, a trade show, give a speech before a crowd, go to the gym, walk your dog in the park….pretty much go anywhere…this is a great read to help you on your way to developing your communication skill or honing your already adept socializing dexterity. Of course, Susan RoAne wisely and succinctly tackles the etiquette to be used in “cyber rooms” and “techno toy” rooms, addressing the proper use of emails, cell phone and PDAs.
This is evidence that the book is great: No one is as shy as my husband with whom I am in business and he has used the tips to work a room…even I am impressed! My job as his spokesperson and official event crutch may be in grave jeopardy (thanks a lot Susan!…Kidding!!).
RoAne ends the book by outlining the 10 Commandments of Communication which sum up the topics covered:
Thou shalt prepare
Thou shalt attend
Thou shalt try strategies
Thou shalt say something…anything
Thou shalt mind their manners
Thou shalt avoid common crutches
Thou shalt remember the 3 E’s – Effort, Energy, Enthusiasm
Thou shalt dress appropriately
Thou shalt remember the 3 C’s- Courtesy, Charm, Chutzpah
Thou shalt bring thy sense of humor
How to Work a Room by Susan RoAne is a great read with great communication pointers. Pick it up and start connecting again!!
Paula Yee Sing-Edwards