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Book Review:
"Cracking the Networking CODE"
Jump Right In, the Water's Great

Imagine standing on the bank of a clear green river on a hot summer day, pondering whether to get in. First you submerge both feet then wade in up to your shins, but the water feels colder with each step. Others who bravely took the plunge promise that it was cold at first, but soon they warmed up.

"A Progress Agent's Guide to Cracking the Networking Code:
4 Steps to Priceless Business Relationships"

By Dean Lindsay
Copyright 2005
Dean Lindsay
World Gumbo Publishing, Plano, Texas
Paperback, 156 pages
ISBN 0-9761141-0-0

Many people, according to Dean Lindsay, author of "A Progress Agent's Guide to Cracking the Networking Code" feel the same way about networking. They prefer to dip their toes in and wade around before going further. Networking might be tough at first, he says, but "do what is uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable, and you will never stop."

Why go through the torture? Because business, especially sales, is about building relationships with others. Being connected to the right people opens up opportunities for you and your company ... it's also a crucial part of career development and job hunting," he writes.

Lindsay is a development strategist, author and speaker, entrepreneur, business owner and sales executive. He claims there is a right way and a wrong way to go about networking.

The wrong way is to force yourself and your products or services on others. Doing this will earn you the reputation of being manipulative, self-serving and predatory. The right way is to serve as what Lindsay calls a Progress Agent. Progress Agents look for ways to help people learn how to progress.

They also maintain their visibility and credibility, share information, and show that they care. His networking CODE is an acronym for:

C: Create personal curb appeal
O: Open face-to-face relationships
D: Deliver Solid First Impressions
E: Earn Trust

Follow these four steps consistently, and you will crack it.

The book offers a common-sense approach to making the most of networking opportunities and events. It also provides reassurance for the timid or inexperienced networkers.

"Most people are cool, nice, enjoyable, and are there to connect. If they are not, they are making a far worse impression than you are ... Do not let these sad sacks curb your enthusiasm," he writes. Within the pages Lindsay provides a number of gems, including 37 questions for defining a networking plan, 16 examples of proven places to network and 16 tips for running a tradeshow booth.

He also supplies nine strategies for opening face-to-face relationships and six often-overlooked networking opportunities. Networking is such an integral part of business and our daily lives as salespeople that we often take it for granted. This book dissects the process and helps us step back, think about what it is we do and why we're doing it.

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