When you're out at a charity conference, do you envy the natural schmoozer who can effortlessly work the room and come away with valuable new contacts and promises of brilliant new charity collaborations? Don't worry, you're not alone. John Timperley's book Network Your Way to Success claims to reveal the secrets of making a real impact on those you meet - and not by leaving a bad impression.
You might like to start by learning how to "introduce yourself with panache". Don't cave in to embarrassment as soon as someone asks you "and what do you do?" Many would-be networkers clam up at this point, feeling inadequate about either their role or the organisation they work for (although all charity workers should feel immensely proud of what they do - they're not bankers, after all).
According to Timperley, you should write your own 30-second movie trailer of yourself, one that provides a snapshot of your personality and what you do in a lively and interesting way. Are you Jaws or are you Toy Story? You have to whet a stranger's appetite so that they think "that looks good". It's time to recast yourself as Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie and walk that red carpet.
- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today