bridges vol. 14, July 2007 / Book Review
by Chetan Dube
Networking is essential to business development. Because business is an interpersonal activity, trust is the basis on which business relationships are founded - and networking is the time-tested method for establishing this trust.
Until now, networking has been mostly an art form. It is commonly believed that people are born with networking skills or they are not; people are inherently either gregarious or retiring. However, in The N Factor, Adrie Reinders and Marion Freijsen explode the myth of the little-understood phenomenon of networking, and break it down to a science. Step by step, The N Factor leads its readers through the key ingredients of networking. It is an ordered walk-through of all the key ingredients one should include in a business development protocol for effective networking. Whether it deals with events, seminars, peer-to-peer networking, individual meetings, inheritance of peer relationship capital, or even "chance" meetings, The N Factor tells its readers how to optimize the relationship currency acquired in these situations. For instance, it provides a practical approach to uni- and bidirectional communications, both synchronous and asynchronous, making it easy for readers to start incorporating these suggestions into their networking activities.
As a more trivial example, consider the opportunities afforded by seemingly "random" meetings: Reinders and Freijsen guide the reader to places such as airports, flights, professional clubs, even health clubs, where "random" meetings may happen. They then present comprehensive guidelines for how to engage in the "random" meeting - from the introduction, to the fodder for conversation including business and world events, political changes, market activity, M&As of interest, and global market dynamics - effectively presenting a recipe for building your relationship capital during what would otherwise be downtime. By the conclusion of the book, The N Factor has infused its readers with the value of networking as a way of life, one which can contribute significantly to one's business goals. A failure to avail oneself of this knowledge would reflect a philistine indifference to the talent and achievements that can be harnessed by an accomplished networker.
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