“I’m not very good in networking situations,” I once admitted to a new employee as we entered a conference where networking was going to be a major activity. She then shared with me that a former boss of hers had once noted that this employee had better results networking with one or two people during a half-hour session than her boss had networking with ten people in the same session. The idea of spending more time with someone, not less, was an eye-opener to me. Suddenly I felt a lot better about the concept of networking.
The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking... Because People Do Business with People They Like by Michelle Tillis Lederman is a well-organized, clearly written book that brings home many potentially eye-opening concepts, all of which are based on the idea that networking can be as enjoyable as having a conversation with friends and still be highly beneficial to career goals. The overlap between my former employee’s advice and the ideas laid out by Lederman exists, I believe, in the concept of authenticity. One doesn’t need to spend a lot of time with a connection, though that can help; rather, the interaction needs to be authentic in some way, and that can happen in an instant.
The book is organized in three parts based on what you can do before, during, and after having a conversation with a connection.
• Before having the conversation, familiarize yourself with the four laws of likability related to authenticity, self-image, perception, and energy.
• During the conversation, act on the laws of curiosity, listening, similarity, and mood memory.
• After the conversation, build the relationship through the laws of familiarity, giving, and patience.
Each chapter begins with a scene from the author’s own experience that demonstrates the law in action or the need for the law. The chapters do not have to be taken altogether or in a certain order; you can jump to the one(s) you feel are most important to you at this time. Even so, I found it beneficial to read the book in the order presented. For each law, following a description of its meaning and intent, the author provides simple and relevant activities to help you “Live the Law,” to apply the concept to you own work life.