Okay, at some point last month, I lamented that I was still in search of the perfect book on networking and that many of the titles I’d read on the subject just didn’t quite capture the spirit of what I’ve seen working most effectively out there, over the years.  Then along comes Smart Networking by Liz Lynch.

After reading the first few pages, I knew this book was going to be pretty special, and by the time I was done it had evolved to “downright spooky” in terms of how closely it echoed many of my own thoughts on the subject!   Perhaps this has something to do with Ms. Lynch’s confession that she’s a late bloomer to the networking process, as I am, myself…

At any rate, it’s hard to do justice to the steady stream of great tips, insights, and observations that are packed within the covers of this publication.  Each chapter focuses on a specific angle of the networking process, ranging from one called “Reconnecting With Raving Fans” that teaches you the right ways to renew ties with old friends to one called “Wind Up For The Pitch” that shares the author’s point-of-view on how to introduce yourself effectively to those around you.  There’s even a section on how to leverage your networking efforts using social networking sites like LinkedIn, which is a nice touch, since no serious discussion on relationship-building can ignore the role played by these new technologies.

Another terrific passage in the book takes place starting on page 86, where the author discusses the many tangible and intangible things that job hunters can “give back” in reciprocation to those around them.  I’m going to be blogging further on this topic myself in the near future, since many out-of-work professionals limit their networking efforts unnecessarily based on the fear/embarrassment of not being able to exchange something of value, in return.  But as Ms. Lynch points out, there’s one tremendously valuable thing you can ALWAYS give to other people, and it’s absolutely free.  You can give them a feeling.  This gift is one that all of us have at our disposal — in unlimited abundance — and it’s a powerful offering, since few people every really get sick of receiving sincere expressions of gratitude, appreciation, and positive feedback.

I’ll stop there and let you savor the rest of Smart Networking for yourself — but again, it’s definitely the newest entry on my “top 10” list of all-time best career and business books.  It’s tightly-written and truly offers something for everybody, whether you’re a networking newbie or a social butterfly par excellence!