Archive for September, 2011

Interview With Networking Guru Devora Zack

Posted on September 1, 2011, by , under Featured Interview.

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Devora Zack, networking extraordinaire and founder of the team management, leadership, and communications consulting firm Only Connect Consulting. I took a more practical approach for our interview, asking Zack what an individual’s next step should be once they receive a business card, and what is a basic concept that most executives do not understand about networking. Much like her book, Networking For People Who Hate Networking Zack brings practical answers to the world of professional connecting.

What lead you to your current career path?

My career path is quite unusual.  I have worked professionally as an actress, disc jockey, and chamber maid – among other things!  However, my work now as a leadership development consultant, trainer, and author combines many of of my passions – building connections among people and improving relationships.  My MBA in organizational behavior (Cornell), BA in communications and psychology (Penn) and certifications in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator all contribute to my career direction as well.

What is the next step someone should take after they receive that business card at an event?

I’m glad you asked.  The very first step takes place right after taking the card.  Take a moment to write a few key facts about that person on the front of the card.  For example, where you met, their interests, pertinent facts, or how to pronounce their name.  This way your follow up is specific and genuine.  Follow up within 2 days, while you both still remember each other.  There is no point spending your time or money on networking if you don’t follow up.  Even following up with one person per event is fine.  If you’re not following up, you’re not networking!

What is something most executives do not understand about networking?

Networking done right (i.e. yielding positive, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships) only works when we are authentic.  A lot of executives hate the traditional idea of networking because of an erroneous assumption that networking requires being phony, which is draining to most of us.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Outcome-driven networking requires being real, which is energizing and puts you in your best light.  This also means successful networking strategies differ, based on individual’s personality types.  I go into much more detail on this – including a self-assessment – in my book Networking for People Who Hate Networking (Berrett-Koehler 2010).

Is there a difference between networking and connecting?

That is an insightful question!  Really…no. When understood and executed correctly, networking is simply about building meaningful connections, one person at a time.  The title “Connecting for People Who Hate Connecting” isn’t quite as snappy, though.

How has your profession changed since the explosion of online and social media?

I do a lot of live training seminars.  Some organizations have turned to online training because it eliminates travel and expense.  However what they lose is person-to-person connection so the value is greatly diluted.  I’m still busy!

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