|Book Review: Do men or women make better networkers?|
He says: New book looks at it from both sides
Business Networking and Sex (not what you think). By Dr. Ivan Misner, Hazel M. Walker, and Frank J. De Raffele, Jr. Entrepreneur Press, 224 pp.
* * *This is one of two reviews of this book: One view from each gender. To read the other, from a woman banker's viewpoint, click here. To read the book editor's introduction to both reviews, click here.
* * *Business networking has its challenges. The book Business Networking and Sex (not what you think), provides insight on the ongoing problem of how men and women relate to each other when networking.
The book was written by a team: Ivan Misner, Ph. D.; Hazel M. Walker; and Frank J. De Raffele. Misner is founder and chairman of Business Network International (BNI); Walker is executive director of the Central Indiana Region of BNI and an international speaker; and De Raffele is the founder/president of Entrepreneurial Excellence Worldwide, Inc., and the founder/director of BNI of Hudson Valley.
The book makes for somewhat entertaining reading. But by the time all the survey questions have been answered, a consistent theme is very well established: Men are going for the referral or sale without developing a relationship first and women are working on a relationship but oftentimes fail to ask for a referral or sale.
One of the most informative discussions for me was the explanation of the VCP Process®. This method emphasizes the process of Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability. To summarize:
V: "The greater your visibility, the more widely known you'll become."
C: The importance of credibility can be illustrated in "actions speak louder than words."
P: Profitability is reached if the networking relationship becomes advantageous for both parties. This is a basic understanding of why we should network and why the process can definitely not one-sided if the relationship is to continue.
Indeed, "Men need to become more adept at building real relationships" is the battle cry as conclusions are reached with many of the topics covered. Examples are provided, and mock conversations are shown as illustrations and studies demonstrating the male inability to stay on one real topic for an extended period are given as various proofs--examples, mock conversations, and studies--are cited to demonstrate proof of the male's inability to form real relationships.
There is, of course, advice to women, but it is primarily insight on how the male thinks, to improve the female success at networking. For example: "It is important for women to understand that male communication is all about status."
I had not considered that last point, as a man. But to prove their point, the authors hold up the law of the jungle, as illustrated in virtually any PBS nature show. I had hoped we had sort of moved beyond the goals of male animals, but, if you go by the authors, apparently not yet.
Indeed, throughout most of the book, I remember thinking that with all the blanket conclusions being reached based solely on whether one is male or female, how about some analysis of different styles, ability, or natural ease in networking? Part of the book does deal with one's comfort level in networking. But this comes only after stating the accepted norms of "men are more naturally networkers because of their personal experiences or that women are more natural at it because they are better communicators."
In my own experience, there are varying comfort levels that are spread throughout both genders, with no real advantage for either.
Now, given the book's premise, there will be by definition some "he says/she says" in it. All the usual banter between the male and female authors provides a light-hearted summary of the information being relayed. There are excellent points to learn in this book, but at times the ongoing teasing becomes somewhat old. I found myself eventually looking for a learning point, in place of a punch line.
Many of the male-female conversations take the battle of the sexes back to the stone age with men hunting and gathering and women doing their relational best to raise the primitive family and establish community.
Okay, fair enough. But after a few chapters, the hunting and gathering analogy gets old. I found myself saying, "Okay, I got it! Please tell me more about how to improve."
The worst of male-female stereotypes are also illustrated--the worst of both genders' behaviors. Fortunately, these less-than-desirable traits are shown as the exception more than the rule: The usual preconceived conclusion are that all men are looking for a date, in place of business referrals, and all women are using their feminine characteristics to attract a male for attention and referral success. I was very glad to see these exceptions clearly declared as exceptions.
From the survey results it appears that women spend less time networking but are more successful when they do it. Also anyone networking with a system to track referrals and the business which came from those referrals are more successful than those who have no system. These points as well as others throughout the 224 pages of the book will be of interest to the reader.
Being a male and wanting only the facts (as the book maintains), I especially enjoyed the final chapter, Chapter 9, "Your best networking self."
This clearly summarized how to successfully network, boiling things down to essentials, complete with lists of to do's for both genders. Those bullet points separated into male and female columns were a thrill to behold as very few words were wasted.
Having read the book for this review, I think I probably need to read the book again to improve my relationship building skills. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
Previous reviews by Will Taylor include:
• The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History
• Your Money: Uncommon Insights: What You Really Need To Know To Protect And Enhance Your Wealth!
• The New Advisor for Life: Become The Indispensable Financial Advisor to Affluent Families
• Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, And The Education Of A President
• Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy?
• Living Richly: Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth
[This article was posted on September 7, 2012, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com, and is copyright 2012 by the American Bankers Association.]
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