Today’s Definition of Networking? Not So New

My adoring fans. Um. In my fantasy life.

If you’ve hung out on Twitter lately, or spent time on just about any business blog out there, you know that networking has been redefined as a whole lot more than just the ol’ happy hour hustle.

Instead of circulating a room with nothing but small talk and business cards, you’re now advised to connect with people wherever you go, building and maintaining authentic relationships with others and helping them out before seeking out help for yourself.

Similarly to what I’ve said on this blog, you should just be yourself, and trust in karma.

Refreshing. Right?

Of course it is. For those of us who have always seen sales and self-marketing as slightly sleazy/cheesy, this shift in the status quo is a huge relief.

The thing is, these tactics are nothing new.

I recently picked up a copy of How To Win Friends & Influence People. I had resisted the book for a long time, despite the praise heaped onto it by others, because it had seemed to me to be so… old-fashioned.  Not a completely ludicrous conclusion to come to, considering that the book was first published in 1937. What did a book that old — with its boring, all-text, color-blocked cover — have to teach me?

It turns out that Dale Carnegie — and those he highlighted throughout his book — were ahead of their time. (Either that or we regressed, and are just now coming full circle.)

Among the principles specified in his book are:

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Sound familiar?

Each principle (30 of them in all) is, of course, beautifully illustrated within its own chapter, and teaches the reader how to succeed not only in business communication, but in all social interactions.

It’s packed with solid advice, and I’d advise all of you to read it.

So tell me: Which classic books have you been slow in picking up, only to find that they were chock full of wisdom?

Related: The Road To Freelance Success Is Paved with Good Karma, Bring in New Projects Without Lifting a Finger, How To Build Your Network Without Having a Panic Attack


  1. Nice post!
    How to Win Friends & Influence People is an invaluable book, that is applicable to nearly all life situations.

    For a long time, I simply overlooked The Art of War by Sun Tzu as the eBook resided on my hard drive. The day I read it, I wished I had done so years earlier.

    Other classics worth reading are ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill and the ‘Science of Getting Rich’ by Wallace D Wattles.

  2. super great post! I may mention this in a speech i’m giving tonight to an entrepreneur group.

  3. This is what I like about your blog, Steph. You have great little posts that enlighten and teach. I’m going to include this post in a link on my blog next week, but I wanted to say thank you. I love hearing you reaffirm this idea of getting personal in the networking.

    • Thanks Lori! I’ve found time and again that people respond strongly when you get personal and try to make a real connection. Otherwise, it’s so easy to feel that you’re being used!

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