Our guest today is Gail Tolstoi-Miller, author of the business self-help book, Networking Karma. Gail is a former “goth” girl, a soccer mom, career coach and an avowed introvert who transformed herself to become a successful dual CEO of Consultnetworx™, a consulting/staffing firm and Speednetworx™, a B2B speed networking event company. Her companies are focused on connecting people for mutual fit and success.
As someone who always preferred solitude and time for reflection, Gail struggled for decades with social interaction, small talk and networking; but knew she would have to master these skills to reach her goals. When Gail began to focus on others instead of herself she saw her opportunities skyrocket. During her 20+ years as a staffing strategist, Gail has coached thousands of job seekers and discovered a startling truth; that those with the strongest networks and the most generous spirits always landed the best jobs in the shortest amount of time. In fact, Gail credits her own success to her mindful giving of care, compassion, and guidance in all areas of life. In other words, she’s living proof that Networking Karma works! Amidst the shrinking job market, Tolstoi-Miller’s innovative approach to business and life has singled her out as a resource in her field. She’s frequently sought after by many media outlets, including Forbes, FOX Business, msn careers, and others, where she shares her ideas on networking, recruiting and the job market. Gail has received the NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business 2013 award as well as the Diversity.com Top 2014 and Top 2015 Business awards. She was also named Leading Women Entrepreneur finalist, and selected as a finalist by Enterprising Women of the Year 2013. Gail has a Bachelor’s from NYU.
Miller feels your pain. In fact, she spent years experiencing the same emotions when networking. An avowed introvert, Gail discovered a powerful and universal law of connecting. And when she embraced it, Gail put those anxious, apprehensive interactions behind her to become a career coach and owner of a networking event planning company. Now, she shares her secrets with you.
If you are trying desperately to get past the constant inadequacy you feel every time you try to attend a networking event, this book is for you!
Networking Karma is a mindful approach to living that asks you to consider each chance meeting and budding relationship as an opportunity to inform, assist, advocate or connect others. “Embracing this spirit of selflessness,” Tolstoi-Miller says, “is the key to building a professional and personal fan base; one that will ultimately return your kindness in unknown and awesome ways. “
Networking Karma proves that life is not “all about me.” In fact, Tolstoi-Miller reveals that the most successful networkers are on a constant mission of “giving.”
Throughout this book, you will explore dozens of essential and specific Networking Karma to-do’s; powerful ideas you can implement immediately. Shared by some of today’s hottest thought leaders, speakers and business trailblazers, these proven tactics are absolutely essential to getting the edge you need to succeed in business and in life.
Written in a fast-paced, no-holds barred style and steeped in real-world situations, Networking Karma reveals:
• The negative beliefs that hold you back from networking success, and the 6 empowering steps to overcome them.
• Why Speed Networking is more fun and effective than absolutely any traditional networking method you’ve ever tried.
• 3 unique and foolproof strategies for breaking the ice at your next networking event.
• The 3 vital building blocks to your personal branding success.
• A surprising fashion “don’t” that may make you appear more successful to others.
• 10 ways your body language can work to your advantage
• The simple secret to creating a strong elevator pitch and the best place to test it out.
• How to turn passive listening into active listening, to attract important new contacts.
• Smart strategies for bringing stalled conversations to an end—without offending!
• 3 creative approaches to business card design that will launch countless conversations
• How to provide value, build awareness, nurture relationship and establish relevance through proper social media avenues
• The dramatic personal and professional benefits you can acquire through mentoring relationships.
• BONUS: The #1, can’t-fail networking approach to becoming the most visible and unforgettable person in the room. Hint: It’s all about Karma.
PLUS, exclusive guides, cheat sheets, checklists and secret resources, available only to Networking Karma readers.
Dorothy Thompson: Can you tell us about your publishing experience?
Gail Tolstoi-Miller: I never considered writing a book but I met other entrepreneurs who had successfully self-published business and self-help books so I knew it was something I could do, too. More than 20 years of personal and business experiences went into Networking Karma. It is the culmination of thousands of job interviews, hundreds of coaching hours, countless networking events and business situations, and a lifetime of observations.
I wanted to share my journey and my discoveries so others can be happier and more successful.
Before writing Networking Karma, I reached out to other authors for advice and ideas. I also did a lot of research online to get an overview of the process of writing and publishing.
Once I had an overview of the content I wanted to provide, I started filling in each chapter’s topic with content. I revised the book as I went through the writing process. I worked with a self-publishing design service that also provided editing services, which helped me to improve upon my ideas.
With regard to the book cover, I launched a design contest on the creative website 99designs.com so that I had several directions from which to choose. I provided parameters at the start of the contest; although I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, I knew I would know it when I saw it. It was important to me that the design would pop off the shelves. I always believe that a clean, white space looks best. I specified red and black in the design so that the book would connect with the brand colors of my businesses. I was drawn to the vertical title treatment because it is interesting and different. The swirl design in the art symbolizes the cyclical energy of Karma. This is a vital element in the book so I wanted it to be included in the cover design, as well. In fact, each chapter begins with the same graphic.
In terms of pricing, I researched the cover price of other books with a similar page count that were in the category. I thought I should keep the price in the mid-range. I came up with a price and then consulted with my business coach. She integrates eastern numerology into her advice. Together, we established a “fortunate” price that would give Networking Karma the best advantage.
I released the book in February to coincide with the month of the Chinese New Year. This is a month of great significance as it represents the changing of the calendar and new beginnings. Additionally, since the book speaks to spiritual and philosophical elements of the eastern culture, I thought it would be appropriate.
Creating a book trailer was a trying experience. First, I hired a reputable company to create a slick, feature-quality production. I was extremely unhappy with the work and I had to halt production. I ended up going in a completely different direction with my trailer and I’m very happy with the results.
DT.: What can you tell aspiring authors on their quest to be published? Any advice?
G.T.M.: Since I self-published my book, I would tell others that it is absolutely do-able. But writing the book is only part of the process. To me, what is more important, and probably more difficult, is making sure there is an audience to actually read the book. Otherwise, what is the point?
Before a book is released, there are a lot of things to be considered. First and foremost, authors should think about strategic relationships. Who are the people who can help you to reach your best audience? Make a list of them and then attempt to develop a rapport with these people. Second, be ready to introduce your book to the world via the Internet. Create/set up a dedicated web site and social media pages, and have blurbs, bios and messaging ready to go. Third, if the book is business related, be sure there is synergy with your established brand and co-brand your book accordingly.
Authors should take an active approach to getting the word out through social media, podcasts and publications. Blogging on your own blog, as well as for other outlets is also a great way to build ongoing buzz.
I used my website as a lead generator to build a list of potential readers. I also set up a Facebook page, blogged and used social media to share content to build up interest. I mentioned the upcoming book in all of my speaking engagements, articles and podcast interviews and drove people to the Networking Karma website.
D.T.: Where can we find you on the web?
G.T.M.: You can visit my website or connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.