Book review: Build Your Dream Network by J. Kelly Hoey
Does the word “networking” cause you symptoms of nausea, skin irritation and headaches? Or do you mistakenly think you’re already great at it – and yet no one is returning your calls, sharing your social media updates or taking you up on your many demands to meet for coffee? Let’s face it, even the best networkers could do with a bit of continuing professional development when it comes to networking in the digital age.
J. Kelly Hoey’s “Building Your Dream Network” is packed with common sense and easy to action steps to improve your networking game. I first read this book when it came out in 2017, having pre-ordered the e-book after seeing Hoey speak at Inspirefest 2016. It’s always a gamble pre-ordering a book, wondering if it will live up to the hype or if you will still need it when it’s published. In this case the book more than delivered. It took me from being a reluctant networker with a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) to a much more strategic, enthusiastic and effective one. More importantly it made me network with authenticity instead of feeling that I had to don a suit of armour and engage in some method acting to “get out there.”
By applying Hoey’s practical tips, thinking about my career and business goals I was able to use my time, and others’, more effectively and recognise relevant networking opportunities more easily. In re-reading her book to write this review I’ve picked up more tips that weren’t as relevant in 2017 but are now that I’m at a different stage. This is a book I’m sure I’ll return to again and again over the years.
As well as plenty of nuggets of advice on good networking etiquette online and offline, Hoey has interviews with a variety of entrepreneurs, tech and start-up figures and others. These case studies showcase how vital networking is in achieving career or personal goals.
Buy it: If the words “networking event” fill you with terror, if your networking style is to throw business cards at people and then wonder why you never hear from them again, if you think you’re doing okay but know you could do better, if you don’t get social media but feel as though you should know more about how to use it.
Borrow it: If you can’t afford to buy a copy right now, although you will probably end up buying your own copy at some stage.
Brush it off: If you’re six feet under or have no personal or career ambitions whatsoever.
Bedroom or Boardroom: Yes, both, and classroom, college library, careers service library. Hoey’s style is engaging, honest and no-nonsense. Get your highlighter pen out and get ready to change the way you approach networking.