Magazine article Marketing

On the Shelf

Magazine article Marketing

On the Shelf

Article excerpt

Linda Plant, group director of sales at Edwardian London, reviews Relationology by Matt Bird

I can't pretend to have been full of enthusiasm upon hearing this book's title - Relationology. To me, relationships are more of an art than a science, and for some people it is a natural talent - not so for others However, having read all of its '101 secrets to grow your business through the power of relationships', I could appreciate how the book might be a very practical manual for anyone who struggles to make connections with people, and even those who have a natural gift but don't capitalise on it.

Author Matt Bird is clearly on to an interesting subject. Relationships and their impact on our lives, both everyday and professional, is a theme that has not been covered extensively. In an age when face-to-face relationships are almost secondary to the virtual, it is refreshing to be reminded of just how important human interaction can be. In business, the alchemy of personalities can mean success or failure.

Organised in three parts - Collecting, Keeping and Growing Relationships - the book's structure is very simple to follow. Each section contains lively anecdotes from the author, together with facts and tips on how to go about each task. It is possible to read the book in a straightforward beginning-to-end way or dip into the areas from which you feel you might extract the most important insights.

Some of the secrets open up new ideas for building relationships and could be useful to pass on to teams. For example, secret number six talks about setting relationship targets. This was a very practical and simple way of putting relationships at the heart of an organisation. All too often I find that people tend to use their 'hard business skills' in isolation, rather than augmenting them with the much overlooked 'softer skills' of relationship-building.

I would not, however, recommend all the tips - particularly not to the faint-hearted. The tactic recommended in number 13 (how to flourish in a crowded room) could make even the most natural extrovert wilt: approaching a group of strangers and touching the arm of the person leading the conversation (to make oneself noticed) is not something many people would feel comfortable with.

Crucially, Bird focuses on the importance of authenticity. …

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