With a few hours to kill travelling to a European Lawyers Association conference in Lodz, Poland, this was the perfect little book (just 141 pages) to fit in my limited luggage allowance. Given that I was heading to a conference with events scheduled from dawn to dusk over two days, it was an ideal opportunity to refresh my thoughts on the art of networking.
Although Rashmi describes herself as ‘really shy’, this is hard to believe, especially when you read that she introduces herself with ‘Hi, I’m Rashmi Dubé, fabulous lawyer with Legatus Law’. Anyone who claims to be ‘fabulous’ must have more than a smattering of confidence.
As a solicitor and mediator, Rashmi has built a practice specialising in construction law, with offices in Leeds and London. She demonstrates how important networking is in developing new business, giving plenty of real-life examples based on her experience.
While Rashmi’s narrative includes a liberal sprinkling of publicity for her firm, it does so with an authentic style and makes a refreshing change from many such books which are usually written by consultants.
Rashmi includes a number of interviews with professionals and business owners discussing their approach and experiences. I was particularly struck by one man who suffered from severe anxiety, to the extent that he was physically ill before networking events. He shared that he had undertaken neuro-linguistic training, which he had found helpful in controlling the anxiety.
Author: Rashmi Dubé
£9.99, Legatus Press
Many people who enter the professions are natural introverts and can find the prospect of networking very daunting. Rashmi describes how, if she is heading to an event where she is out of her comfort zone, her personal approach is to draw on the persona of someone who inspires her.
The book covers the various stages of networking: preparing for an event, during the event, and ensuring that you get around to following up with new contacts. This book will no doubt make a great gift or calling card for Rashmi to send to new contacts, by way of a personal follow-up.
There are chapters on networking at work and networking for ‘newbies’. Rashmi also includes a chapter which asks whether gender makes a difference, but comes to no firm conclusions. Her interviewees nearly all claim that there is no difference, but I suspect a book by a man might not have included quite so many mentions of clothes, colour, heels and lipstick. Nevertheless, it is a great read for either sex – especially on a business trip.
Sue Bramall is managing director of Berners Marketing. She advises law firms in the UK and overseas