Networking is changing—technology and social media have made reaching out to others easier than ever before. Yet it’s as difficult as ever to establish meaningful connections with other people. At the heart of networking, past and present, is understanding the needs and wants of others, but it’s not always clear how to translate that into what you do on a daily basis.
For better or worse, everyone else is experiencing the same fractured landscape you are. The key to effective networking is always to put yourself out there as much as possible, but if you’re looking for more detailed strategies, here are 10 of the best books on networking to improve your skills:
Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi
It’s often better to think about the people in your network not as connections, but as relationships: Real people with real needs you can engage with. Never Eat Alone offers a valuable, human-centered perspective on networking that emphasizes kindness and give-and-take techniques over cold, unfriendly Rolodexes.
The Thought Leader Formula: Strategically Leverage Your Expertise to Drive Business & Career Goals by Robin Farmanfarmaian
Networking isn’t just about shaking hands and swapping cards—it’s about the exchange of ideas. The Thought Leader Formula is a look into how you can take your original ideas and turn them into an attractive, marketable brand for yourself. Being able to simply and clearly deliver your message is key to attracting engagement from others.
Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You by John Hall
Meeting people is one thing, but how do you create an impression that lasts long after the introduction? John Hall seeks to answer that question through building a brand based on helping others first. His book is a guide for making you and your business stick in the minds of the people you connect with—and more likely position you at the top of their list.
Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships that Matter by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh
Networking is dead—or so say Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh. In their book, Superconnector, Gerber and Paugh show how the era of social media has fundamentally changed networking forever and how the best way to get others to work for you is to work for them. Superconnecter is a powerful way to think about how the ways people treat one another translate into professional success.
Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani
Sometimes, making the most valuable connections requires taking some risks. Brave, Not Perfect shows that being successful in business doesn’t require every single move to be made correctly; it requires the courage to take risks, fail, and improve on your next go. These insights are especially helpful for those who struggle to “put themselves out there,” whether at conferences or networking mixers.
The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World by Jamil Zaki
In 2019, people are starving for thoughtfulness and understanding in an increasingly divided world. This book isn’t just about the battle its title suggests, but also about how individuals can become a part of the solution. The key to networking with others isn’t just savvy business techniques—sometimes, it takes a more human connection.
Breathe To Succeed: Increase Workplace Productivity, Creativity, and Clarity through the Power of Mindfulness by Sandy Abrams
Technology distracts us, isolates us, and shortens our attention spans, yet there’s no getting away from it. Sandy Abrams’ new book shows that the secret to staying human in an increasingly inhuman workplace is through mindfulness and self-care. Being more in tune with yourself and others is critical not only for staying happy, but also for keeping your relationships healthy.
Taking the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count by Karen Wickre
Some people may enjoy the idea of interacting with dozens of others in the hopes of expanding their network, but many others aren’t as comfortable “chasing connections” like that. Karen Wickre, a self-described introvert, offers her guide for navigating the professional world by creating and thriving in whichever social situations you feel most comfortable. I’ve passed this title along to colleagues who firmly believed networking was an extrovert’s game.
Friend of a Friend…: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career by David Burkus
You’ve spent your entire life networking by making friends and meeting new people. Why not turn those connections into a network you can use? David Burkus’ book is a call to arms for taking stock of how you can leverage all of the relationships you’ve already made into powerful connections that can push your career to the next level.
A Brown Girls Guide to Employment and Networking by Dr. Tamika N. Jacques
This pocket guide is exactly the kind of thing I needed at the beginning of my own career. From examining where you sit at events to how you look for your next role, this book touches on details that truly impact your networking. It also provides insights on diversifying your network and overcoming some of the obstacles that women of color face.