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15 books to help you become a skilled networker

Man reading a book

A generation of social networking which for some has fueled their business or freelance career but for the majority, face-to-face networking is still the best way to build relationships and get potential clients.

For so many of us, the idea of small talk is very daunting and more often than not its the reason why we don’t go to networking events. Take comfort in the fact it’s not unusual to feel nervous at the thought of introducing yourself to a complete stranger – but were all in the same boat.

Below have gathered 15 books which all offer useful advice to help you overcome nerves and practical tips to make the most of meeting people and creating opportunities to boost your career.


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is number one on the list for a reason, it is absolutely ace irrespective of what field you’re in. This should be on your reading list whether you are a designer, developer, entrepreneur or teacher —any profession —it can dramatically change your relationships with people.

“Learning: Be a good listener, give the person your full attention.”

Dale Carnegie is a legend in psychology and self-help, his book will undoubtedly educate you on communication but also help you understand yourself and the behaviour of others which is ideal for UX designers.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey’s self-improvement book has sold 25+ million copies worldwide. Many people who have achieved a high level of visible success still find themselves fighting with an internal need for developing personal effectiveness and growing healthy relationships with other people. If this is you, this book will be a perfect match.

“Without a doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness.” Stephen Covey

Throughout this book, Covey helps you establish one path to success by identifying the habits that can help you on your journey, build relationships and bring value to your network.

The Pocket Guide for Nervous Networkers by Ash Mashhadi

If you’re nervous about networking and have a sense of dread about attending events, this book is for you – it’s aimed for introverts who have worries about interacting with people for the first time. The pocket guide full of helpful advice on how to begin a conversation, prepare for network events and creating new connections.

I Love Networking: A Story About Finding Your Inner Networker by Ivan Misner and C. G. Cooper

If you hate networking you’ve got to read “I Love Networking.” This book is actually a short novel about a man called Ken and his transformation from bypassing network events to making it a base of his business. It’s a great book to read and you can experience the lessons yourself with the practice sessions at the end of every chapter.

Winning with people: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time by John C Maxwell

The most important trait needed for success in leadership professions is ‘the ability to work with people’. Some people are blessed with great relationship skills, but those who are not can learn to improve them. In Winning with People, Maxwell has interpreted decades of experience into 25 People Principles that anyone can learn.

Willingness: Are we prepared for relationships? Connection: Are we prepared to focus on others? Trust: Can we build trust? Investment: Are we ready to invest in others? Synergy: Can we build a win-win relationship?

Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Good Job by Orville Pierson

Orville Pierson, a specialist in job hunting, reveals how to succeed by effectively utilizing your current circle of contacts. He explains how to use a small network to reach hundreds of insiders and decision makers; get the right information to the right people; and create a project plan to organise your networking endeavours. This book cuts through the myths and misinterpretations to show you how thousands of job hunters have networked their way to impressive new jobs.

Click: Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships by George Fraser

In this book, you will discover the ten truths for ‘clicking’ with people and unveil a proven path to success and happiness. Networking opens numerous opportunities but George Fraser doesn’t stop there. He shows you how to take these opportunities and build powerful and enriching business relationships.

Networking like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections by Ivan Misner

Networking leader and New York Times bestselling author Dr Ivan Misner educates entrepreneurs how to champion the art of networking. This book is a timeless guide which unveils effective networking techniques for building, restoring, and transforming your current outreach efforts.

The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success you want by tapping into the People you Know by Diane Darling

If you are looking for a job or building a career this book is perfect for you. Diane Darling reveals how to cultivate a rich network of professional contacts and use them to find success.

She says people who rely on ads succeed about 5 percent of the time. But those who have mastered the skill of networking find new positions nearly 66 percent of the time – “it’s not what you know, its who you know”.

The Fine Art Of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation in Any Situation by Debra Fine

In this book, communication expert Debra Fine shares a range of achievable methods and strategies that anyone can use to make small talk. With practical advice and communication ‘cheat sheets’, you’ll discover how to start a conversation even when you think you have nothing to say. It will help you avoid uncomfortable pauses, awkward silences and adopt listening skills that will make you a skilled conversationalist.

The Network Effect by Tony Newton and Judith Perle

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a consultant, a job seeker or looking to progress in your career, this book guides you through everything you need to know about connecting with other people.

‘The Network Effect’ offers quality, proven and practical advice. If you understand ‘why’ something works as well as ‘how’, you have a better chance of making it work for you.

Make your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success by Anne Baber & Lynne Waymon

Make Your Contacts Count is a useful, step-by-step guide for creating, developing, and capitalising on networking relationships and opportunities. Bound with valuable tools, readers will discover how to cultivate contacts, compose a networking plan, bypass the top ten networking turn-offs, and much more.

Savvy Networking: 118 Fast & Effective Tips for Business Success by Andrea Nierenberg

Do you hate the thought of standing in a room full of strangers? This book will help you build social skills to form strong connections and develop a reliable network of business relationships and long-term customers.

The Wall Street Journal called Andrea Nierenberg a ‘networking success story’. Her tips highlight the kind of people who can be helpful to you professionally, improve your communication skills and keep track of your contacts.

The Skinny on Networking: Maximising the Power of Numbers by Jim Randel

For someone looking for a new job, or to better connect with people in life, this is a great book. This quick but informative read teaches the basics of networking for a career using a real-life situation with advice collected from successful business people. Storyboards make the content of the book more memorable which help to get the author’s points across quickly and efficiently.

The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

We all admire and envy those people who can walk into a room and captivate the attention of everyone. Do you wish that could be you instead of a robot?

In The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane makes a credible argument that you can have that ability because charisma is the result of a certain mindset. If you read this book, practice and apply its techniques, you too could be the person everyone wants to be around.

Please note, this article is written with Amazon Affiliates.

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