Waterstones Launches Networking Book Making a Splash

RD Leeds

An exciting time; the official launch of the book in Leeds

So, as many of you will be aware, it has been many years in the planning and for the last two it has all but dominated my life, I am of course referring to my book. At last I am able to announce the official launch of Making a Splash (a Personal Guide to Networking).

It was a very hot and clammy day and despite the fact that we weren’t scheduled to start until 5.30pm people began to arrive from 5pm. We couldn’t serve the fizz, something to do with rules, and so everyone took a seat, started to chat and by chance to network.

I couldn’t really have planned it better, there was a wonderful atmosphere and it was clear that everyone in the room was eager to hear more about where my plans for the book came from and what experiences had led to me choosing to put pen to paper.

It’s no secret that I network and that I actually enjoy it, well, I do now that I have the skills in place to know what works and what doesn’t. It wasn’t an easy journey; I was actually a very shy child so looking back even I find it difficult to believe how far I’ve come.

Rather than live, learn and leave it at that, I decided that I would share my thoughts on the wonderful world of networking and all that it can bring to those who embrace it with open arms. It really isn’t a dark art but it does take more thought than to walk into a room and simply talk to people – or worse still sell.

And so, back to the launch, the room is full and people are looking at me expectantly. The Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post, Mark Casci, takes to the lectern to make the introductions.

“Coming here tonight has got me thinking and it is actually the third time that I’ve come to a book signing. Not new to being a journalist, I have been a news editor for the last three years working really hard and have now taken the position of Business Editor and as a result I am out and about a lot. Suddenly I’ve gone from sitting behind a desk every day to having to get out and meet with people – lots of people!”

“I wanted to read a section from the book that I found really interesting. The main point of this chapter was the importance of choosing events that you want to go to and instead not going to the ‘opening of the envelope’.”

Then, without further ado, it’s over to me. What to do? Well, take a selfie of course.

The floor goes quiet, 60 pairs of eyes stare at me, my palms go clammy, I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach – like butterflies or a washing machine – I take a breath, put my game face on and start to put my own good advice into practice.

And so, it’s now or never.

I deduced to explain why I chose the name of the book, Making a Splash. It’s because when you go into a room to network, you get the same feeling as you would when you dive into a swimming pool; a cold and harsh hit. It makes you catch your breath and wonder why you are there. You can either swim and warm up or you cling onto the side and get cold.

I then went on to describe the main points about networking, predominantly that it is about building relationships, not about selling. You need to think about your personal brand.

Two examples of networking that take away from today were that I had my nails done and as a result I got chatting with the beautician and exchanged business cards and now we are looking to do some work together. A further example was when I was with a taxi driver in London and the lady driving the cab took the time to network with me. Again, I took her business card and built my connections by association.

Providing an overview of the book, the chapters cover everything to do with networking and can be used by those that go out a lot and those that are doing so for the first time. It is a great guide and a book that can be dipped in and out of.

Sharing a few sections from the book, I could see that people were already taking the hints and tips that I was giving. What a great response. Before I knew it, I had launched the book to an audience of contacts and business people. I had done it! Two years down the line, from a conversation with a friend over a dining room table to a published author, what a journey.

Then it was on to questions and answers.

1. What was the easier and hardest part to write in the book?
Easiest part was knowing myself and my characters. So, what I say about characters is that because I’m introverted and shy I use a default position. I use my Mum as a person that I can cling on to and the Queen, after all she has to network and has no choice about the matter.

The hardest bit in contrast was talking about gender. It opened so much to talk about. As a result, it is likely to be my next book because there is so much to explore. The difficulty was what should I put in and what should I keep out? Watch this space!

2. How do you want someone to feel after they have finished the book?
I want people to feel however they want to feel. Some people who have read the book, have said that they realized they had inadvertently let things slip and that they had to put some simple tools into practice to improve their networking.

3. In the book where do you look at network maintenance?
The book is all about understanding yourself and why you network. Throughout the book I touch on this a lot. It is about relationships and being choosy.

4. What gave you the confidence to finally write it?
It wasn’t confidence, it was the fact that I had made a commitment to people inadvertently. I had mentioned to people that I had thought about writing a book, I didn’t realize that this to many people felt that this meant it was underway.

The thing that really shocked me was that people write for a living and that isn’t what I do so I was worried about being seen as a fraud. I was then told that no one was born a writer.

5. Would you like to be famous?
Am I not already famous? Laughs
I would like people to learn from the book and for it to be a useful resource for those in business.

6. Which part of the book did you finish when you were in Portugal?
Chapters 5 to 10. It was hard work and I realized that I had to shut myself away with no distractions and get on with it.

7. Would writing a second book be easier?
The formatting would be easier but the main concern is time. I need to commit some time to the firm, and then of course the film…it’s a running joke in the office but watch this space.

8. Do you find the more you network the more selective you become?
Yes, absolutely. You do start by opening every envelope and you feel like you need to know everyone and everything. You soon learn that your time is valuable and you need to work out who you want to spend your time with and for what reason.

9. When you wrote the book did you look at others that were out there?
No, absolutely not. I just went in by myself. I chose consciously not to do this as I didn’t want to look and had made a decision that no one is an expert because everyone does it individually. I know that everyone networks differently and so this was my guide, it was my hints and tips which I hope people will get value from.

It had to be my idea and be written in my way.

10. Do you find it useful to put notes on the back of business cards when you receive them?
Absolutely. I include notes about the event that I am at and also any comments that have been made. Not only does this act as a prompt but it allows me to be more organized. Business cards are your shop window, so I think it’s really important to appreciate the value of them.