Using Your Book as a Networking Tool

Back in the Real World is a collaboration between Ed Turner, Cara Lopez and Mark Graham Communications.

Networking. For many, it’s a dreaded word. Whether we’re entrepreneurs, managers, or individuals just getting started in our careers, the idea of introducing ourselves, shaking hands, and making small talk that we hope leads to “big talk,” can feel intimidating.

Today, in-person networking opportunities are on the rise. A recent study by Forbes lists some of the benefits of in-person networking: building stronger business relationships; a better ability to read body language and facial expressions; bonding with others; and engaging in more social interaction. That being said, plenty of networking still occurs online. A 2023 LinkedIn article states that online networking can help you connect with potential customers, partners, and investors; develop your skills; and build your reputation and brand.

Clearly, both in-person and online networking are beneficial. If you want to keep up with the curve and are not comfortable talking about yourself or your business, what can you do?

First, genuine interest in others is essential. According to Debra Fine, bestselling author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, “If you are not genuinely interested in what the other person is saying, no amount of planning or preparation will save you from a doomed conversation. Interest in someone else cannot be feigned.”

Secondly, offer something of value. This is where a book authored by you can be incredibly helpful. Assuming your networking involves individuals interested in your topic, your book can be an icebreaker. With your expertise in the subject matter and your conversation partner’s interest in it, you can mention your book’s topic, listen attentively to your partner’s thoughts on it, and discuss the insights your book has to offer. Many authors carry copies of their books to in-person events and/or offer to send a sample to an online or in-person connection.

It’s important to reiterate that genuine interest in your conversation partner is essential. If your goal is solely to sell books—but not to make connections—you are likely to experience stiff, polite rejection before your conversation partner quickly exits the exchange.

Don’t have a book yet? You’re in good company. Many individuals with significant expertise in their subject matter and much to offer have not written a book. Some do not have the time, and many are informed enough to understand that while they do not have the writing expertise to create a book-length work, professional help is available.

If you’ve considered the idea of authoring a book but are not sure where to start, please reach out. A Mark Graham Communications ghostwriter can help you clarify your ideas, put them together in book form, and get you talking at your next networking opportunity. We’d love to hear about your ideas and help you get yourself out there!