A client of mine recently recommended this book to me. It was a felicitous recommendation. This small handbook, written by Dr. Marcia Ballinger and Nathan A. Perez should be considered an essential tool for anyone wanting to expand their network. "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting" is geared primarily to those who need to network in order to find their next job, but the principles outlined here can be broadly applied to any networking situation.
The major takeaway from the lessons shared by the authors is that all too often, we waste the time of those who have been gracious enough to grant us a networking meeting. The book offers very specific steps to structure a meeting that will be productive and will take only 20 minutes out of the busy life of the person you have asked to meet with. It is no accident that this 20-minute time frame is very close to the optimal length (18 minutes) of a TED Talk that has evolved over the past decade. With proper planning, discipline, and execution, we can accomplish a great deal in less than half an hour.
The co-authors have worked both sides of the job placement business. Dr. Ballinger founded her own executive search practice, and Mr. Perez is a consultant who works with candidates looking to make a move into a new job. Their combined vision and wisdom provides a nice balance in terms of seeing the world of networking through the eyes of the candidate and through the eyes of the persons the candidate is hoping to network with.