The following is a book review by Flt Lt Jane Pickersgill.

Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A field guide for introverts, the overwhelmed and the underconnected – by Devora Zack

As part of the MLC, and particularly at the annual Milken Summit in London, you will need to do some networking.

For someone like me, who (despite outer appearances!) is a natural introvert, this can be daunting, exhausting and quickly overwhelming.  If you’re one of those people who needs time alone to recharge before getting out amongst the crowds again, this book has some helpful hints and tips.  If you’re an extrovert, perhaps reading this might help you to understand the introverts around you and network more appropriately with them.  Zack begins by helping you classify yourself as either extroverted or introverted through a series of business-orientated questions, such as:

  1. Why does an extrovert join you for dinner on a business trip?

  2. Why does an introvert join you for dinner?

  3. To unwind and enjoy a meal after a long day.

  4. To avoid seeming rude!

Many of the traditional rules for networking are geared towards natural extroverts: “Get out there, talk to people, interact, be sociable!” Networking, Zack explains, is much more than just handing out a ton of business cards, getting a pile in return and talking to as many people in the room as possible.  Instead, it is better understood as maximizing the useful return on your investment of time.  She gives tips for introverts to maximize their useful time in networking events and conferences, such as making space to have lunch alone (recharging), and asking questions of your potential new connection to develop depth and meaning, rather than “speed dating” around the room.  You may come away with significantly fewer cards, but the connections could prove much more worthwhile.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, this book will help you to understand yourself better, help you understand your limitations, and therefore give you a better chance of making good connections through the MLC and Milken.

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