My book Conversation on Networking came about due to popular demand. My partner Kay Keenan and myself were traveling around the country giving talks called…Conversation on Networking. After getting asked bazillions of time “do you have a book?” we got the message and wrote a humorous book filled with stories and exercises guaranteed to lighten up your day and improve your networking skills.
Tell us something about yourself.
A random past involving living in the woods in Vermont; founding several companies; surviving getting an MBA at The Wharton School; consulting on strategy, business development, story, branding, marketing and getting your company aligned for exceptional execution; and wandering around the world doing this consulting led to my having lots of stories and learning quite a bit about culture, communication, and how to run a successful business. To my amazement I now have multiple roles including running Africa for the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum, Consulting Professor National University of Singapore, President of the consultancy Benari LTD, and a bunch of board memberships. All of this has involved extensive writing of various types…using stories, humor, and my life events as much as possible.
What inspired you to write this book?
To get people to stop asking me to write it.
How did you choose the title?
Since we were listed everywhere as doing an interactive, energetic, educational talk called “Conversation on Networking,” what else could we call it?
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
Did I have a desire to be a writer? Nope. I just wound up writing business related things and discovered that people really liked to read the things I wrote. One thing led to another and next thing I knew, popular blogs, this book, a newsletter, and several contracts to write books and things for other people. I suppose the way to become a writer…is to keep writing and notice if anyone cares. When they do, it’s great encouragement to keep on writing. And if they don’t, keep writing anyway.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Of course. I’m making notes on several ideas and waiting to see which takes over. One is on story…and how it’s all about story in the business world, and in life at large. I have years of monthly Conversation on Networking newsletters and now blog postings so am culling them to see if there’s a book hidden in their somewhere that will follow up on Conversation on Networking, the book. And I’m being encouraged to think about taking a bunch of my experiences in out of the way places in Asia, Latin America, and Africa and turn them into a book about connecting across cultures.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Just do it. Always. I’ve found that the more I write the better I get. Use any writing excuse as a way to hone your skill. I often hear that people love getting emails from me. Why? Because I treat them as teeny tiny stories. Nothing ever goes out under my name that I wouldn’t be comfortable having used as an example of my writing. Most importantly, have fun. If you’re having fun it comes across to others…and people really would rather have a good time than not.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
You! I figure anyone who got through the above and is still reading will find my writing fun to read as well as useful. On a more specific note: Conversation on Networking is aimed at people interested in improving their skill at networking, relationship development and strengthening, and generally connecting more effectively with other people. I come from a business background so it’s aimed that way just a bit but applies to all interactions. I hear some people have used the techniques and wound up married.