Firstly, I have to start with a caveat, the following blog is written honestly and objectively but the book that I refer to throughout was written by a client of Open Communications. In true Open style I would prefer to be completely honest and… well, Open, about that before we start.
And so, on with the blog.
It’s been a while since I have written about our experiences or the things that we have been up to and for that I apologise. Like many other businesses, the day-to-day gets in the way and clients come first.
Recently however, and for the first time, a client wrote a book. I’m not aware of any other clients that we work with having done this and was intrigued as to why a hard-working business woman would put the time and effort into scribing more than 100 (141 to be precise) pages when they have a to-do list as long as your arm.
Rashmi Dubé is well known throughout Yorkshire and London. Her legal practice, Legatus Law is award winning and just three-years after launching the business it is expanding with new offices in Leeds city centre and appointments to the team.
Still, Rashmi felt that she had some tips that she wanted to pass on and so started to write a book that would help people to do something that many of us take for granted – in our social lives at least – every day; networking.
Some people scoff at the need to network, considering it a waste of time and money but others, perhaps those that are doing it right, see the value and benefit from meeting contacts and once a relationship has developed, sharing business.
The book, ‘Making a Splash (a Personal Guide to Networking)’ gives really honest advice about networking and what you should and should not do when you are faced with the opportunity to meet a room full of new people.
What struck me about the book was that it isn’t a difficult read. There is nothing worse than getting in on an evening after a busy day and turning to pages of manuscript that you have to read time and time again to work out. I don’t want a business thesaurus for my bedtime read, I want something interesting and insightful and this book didn’t disappoint.
The chapters are really structured so you can either read it from cover to cover, like I did, or dip and in and out of the parts that would be most relevant to you. Not only does this make it a really useful guide for those who are networking for the first time but also for those who have been attending events for years and feel that they need a bit of a refresh.
I’m in the latter group and have done everything from very structured and formal networking meetings to conferences, balls, dinners, charity events and just about everything in between. When you work in PR the best word to describe the events that you attend is varied and so one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to networking.
I’ve always thought that being honest was the best policy and have found that this has worked in my favour. Rashmi reiterates the need to be authentic when you meet with new people and this really resonated with me. There is nothing worse than meeting someone and knowing they are ‘playing the game’, it’s far from appealing.
What really peaked my attention was the fact that Rashmi was actually a shy child – now that I didn’t see coming! As such a confident business woman you would never know and that made me realise that her techniques are working. She explains in chapter 2 that through channeling her alter ego she is able to address a room with not so much as a stammer, even when she is as nervous as a child on the first day of school.
Other things I really liked about the book were the use of real people as interviewees to ask how they approach networking. As I know and network with some of them, it was really insightful to hear their thoughts and also the tips that they apply. I hadn’t realised that people thought so deeply about events until now and it was really refreshing to know that we all share the same doubts and annoyances that can come from being in a room of strangers.
The one thing I hate is people trying to sell to me at networking events. I can usually tell within 10 seconds of a conversation because they will use the term ‘we have synergy’ shudder or worse they will refer immediately to a client and ask for their contact details groan. This again was addressed in the book with the consistent tip that it is not about collecting business cards but about making relationships – long-term.
I don’t want to give too much away about this book as I genuinely think that people will get a lot from reading it. I wasn’t sure what I would learn but am thankful and not ashamed to say that I am already putting the tips that I have learnt into practice.
Whether it’s the way you approach new people, the way you dress, the attention you pay to your ‘own brand’ or the follow up there is a suggestion on how you can apply Rashmi’s techniques that just might make your next event less nerve-wracking and more productive.
For your copy of the book head to Amazon. It’s only £9.99 and well worth the read.