Books My Portfolio

Build Your Dream Network by J. Kelly Hoey

Helena Nuttall

Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World

I started reading Kelly’s book on a really miserable Monday in lockdown; it was raining outside and I was finding it difficult to muster up the motivation even to get dressed. Thoughts of how I was ever going to make it in the corporate world when I’m not even able to go outside and meet anyone were weighing me down along with the numerous unanswered job applications and cancelled events. However, only a few pages into the book did I realise that a world without Covid was not going to be the answer to all my problems, and that I’d actually already built a great network, I just didn’t know it yet.

“Networking always starts with who you already know: those key connections, groups or communities with whom you interact regularly.”

As recent ambitious job-seeking graduates, we are entering a loud, competitive and crowded world. No longer will our degree alone land us the role we hope for or the lifestyle we dream of, and we cannot rely on traditional, or shall I say outdated, methods of ‘walking into rooms filled with strangers’ to succeed. A complete rebrand of what our original thoughts around this topic is 100% necessary, and will be 100% worth it.

“It’s not a question of what you know or who you know but rather who knows what you know that tips the balance.”

Kelly advises us to move away from ‘random acts of networking’ and instead make strategic decisions that will likely result in the desired outcome. By setting ourselves clear goals we can tap into our network accordingly and avoid wasting the time of ourselves and others. She recommends drawing out a plan in as much detail as possible before considering our networking options.

Despite living in such a competitive world, shying away from boosting others through making introductions or sharing knowledge will be hugely detrimental to the strength of our networks. Kelly interviews Kathryn Finney, founder & managing director of digitalundivided, author, blogger, former editor and crowdfunding campaigner. With a wealth of experience in network building she swears by helping out others as a way to get people to help you. Helping others out is a rewarding experience and will go a long way to help establish deeper connections with people. Investing in somebody doesn’t have to be monetary either; even just giving someone your time, ideas and energy will serve both people well in the long-run.

“I’m a believer in the idea of ‘return on generosity.’ If you don’t have a network of people you think you can really turn to for help, then you probably have a super-low return on generosity.”

Social media has undoubtedly changed the face of networking, and lockdown has dramatically increased our dependency upon it. Kelly reminds us to be aware while using it to network that our aim is to create purposeful connections; which may mean fewer more relevant ones than acquiring several inconsequential contacts.

“The point of technology may be to deliver information faster and seemingly more efficiently, but I’m primarily interested in making effective connections.”

If you’re looking to change, add to or transform your current network, reading Kelly’s book will absolutely accelerate your success. Through a combination of advice and evidence through interviews that the advice when applied is effectual, Kelly will redefine your networking misconceptions and guide you to connect with people in a way that will help you to achieve your goals. Our world is changing exponentially and building a dynamic network is more important than ever!

My key takeaways:

  • Networking is a process, there’s no start or finish date!
  • The more you put in, the more you’ll get out
  • Being an introvert is not a disadvantage
  • Being able to extract what is relevant using a ‘why’ filter is crucial
  • Be generous with connections

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