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Do You Know The World’s Worst Networker? Interview With Tim Houston, author of The World’s Worst Networker: Lessons Learned By The Best From The Absolute Worst!

Do You Know The World's Worst Networker?  Interview With Tim Houston, author of The World's Worst Networker: Lessons Learned By The Best From The Absolute Worst!

Timothy M. Houston

Author Bio:

Timothy M. Houston owned and operated three successful businesses by the time he was 25. For more than a decade, he has dedicated himself to helping businesses of all sizes to become more productive, profitable and prosperous through referral-based marketing and business and social networking.

Crowned “The Czar of Networking” by CBS Radio, Tim Houston has positively impacted thousands of business people through his high-energy workshops, motivational presentations, and mentoring sessions on strategic business networking, public speaking, and word-of-mouth marketing strategies, across the United States. He has made more than 4,000 presentations to companies and organizations in the past 15 years.

His first book, The World’s Worst Networker: Lessons Learned By The Best From The Absolute Worst! reached reached #3 on the Amazon Business Best Seller List in the Sales & Selling category. He is a contributor to The New York Times Best Seller and multiple #1 Best Seller, Masters of Sales. (Entrepreneur Press, 2007). Tim’s articles on the topic of business networking and word-of-mouth marketing have been translated and published in magazines, newspapers and blogs around the world.

To learn more, visit and

Book Synopsis:

They are everywhere!

You can find them at trade shows and the business card exchanges. They attend conferences and seminars, and they have infiltrated networking groups around the world. Chances are you have encountered them or have been their victim. Maybe you’re one of them and don’t even know it!

These are the World’s Worst Networkers.

Tim Houston and several of the world’s best networkers take an uncensored look at the way some people conduct their business networking, online and offline. Their stories and experiences about these nightmares of networking will teach you how not to network.

You will learn:

— Which Networkers are on The Most Unwanted List and why.

— How to deal with Environmental Disasters.

— Who are the Online Outlaws of Networking.

— How to go from being a Networking Mess, to a Success.

Why did you write this book?

When I first started out in business, I made many mistakes, especially when it came to networking. I thought that networking was all about selling your products and services to people you meet, within mere moments of meeting them; I thought it was about collecting business cards and then cold-calling people afterwards. In short, I was one of the World’s Worst Networkers. Over the years, I discovered e many great “how-to” books, seminars and training programs that teach people how to network online and offline effectively. However, whenever I would attend networking events, I would meet people who although they would read, listen and learn from the very same sources I did, they would do things that were contrary to the advice given. These people became known to me as The World’s Worst Networkers.

Over time, I realized that I wasn’t alone because some of foremost experts in the fields of business networking, online, social networker and relationship building that I built relationships with experienced the exact same thing that did, or, because of their own flubs, faux pas and fiascoes, they believed that they too were once the World’s Worst Networker. Behind every story was a lesson that we learned , (sometimes the hard way) that help make us better networkers and better business people. I decided to ask some of these experts – some of which are well known and some who may not be household names but who are amazing networkers – to share their stories and experiences and to teach the lessons they learned.

Why should readers purchase your book? What will they get out of it?

Jim Collins, the author of the worldwide, bestseller Good to Great says that not only do great companies have “to do” lists, they have “stop doing lists”. I believe that it is extremely important to know what not to do just much as much as what we should do when it comes to networking. The book is an easy read because the stories are uncensored, in some cases funny, and appeal to the novice or veteran networker.

Susan RoAnne, the author of the 1 Million+ bestseller, How To Work A Room said that “This book is spot on and is a gem full of useful nuggets that teaches you how NOT to network!”

Everyone has a different definition or description of what networking is. How do you describe networking?

I believe that business networking , whether it’s online or in the real word, is “the creation of new relationships and the enhancement of existing ones through engagement, for the purpose of mutual business and personal development.”

Business networking can be defined in three basic, but crucial steps: 1) that you must meet new people and connect with them; 2) you build the relationship with them through a process of engagement, which is often done by getting to know them and trust them; 3) you find ways to help them to achieve their goals, by giving them referrals or introductions to people they want to meet without an expectation of them to give you something in return.

Is networking important? Should small business owners spend time networking?

In my book, I cite a 2009 Harvard Business Review study which surveyed 2200 of their subscribers. 95% of them believed that face to face meetings are the key to success in building business relationships and 87% agreed that face-to-face meetings are essential to “sealing the deal”. Business networking isn’t important — it’s CRITICAL in this day and age, regardless of the size of your business and how long you are in business. We live in a world that is so connected through technology, yet many people are seemingly so disconnected when it comes to creating and enhancing relationships. Small business owners need to spend the time developing their networks.

What’s better: in person networking or online?

They are both important, it’s not one over the other. You need to engage people in reality and virtually. Face to face is important because people like to do business with those they know, like, admire, respect and trust and there’s nothing like meeting people. Online networking has a similar effect, and can be a great multiplier of that effect since you can reach more people online than in person. What you need to remember is to be more than just a “profile” online; in other words, you need to engage people just as you would in real life. When it comes to online networking, you need to know the rules of each online venue. For example, on LinkedIn, since it’s more business-focused, it’s not considered acceptable to talk and write about your favorite movie, sports teams, what you did today, etc. whereas on Facebook, that’s expected and very acceptable.

What’s one of the key differences between a “good networker” and The World’s Worst Networker?

First and foremost is attitude. The World’s Worst Networkers typically have what I call a “mercenary mentality.” They believe networking is all about them. They go to networking events, trade shows and conferences with a WIFM (What’s In It For Me) perspective. They talk about themselves, how great they are, etc. They confuse networking with selling which are two different and mutually exclusive events.

On the other hand, great networkers approach their networking efforts with the attitude and mindset of “How can I help you?” They build relationships by helping others to achieve their goals. They are connectors who build bridges and deepen relationships whereas The World’s Worst Networkers through ignorance and/or arrogance end up burning bridges and isolate others.

What do you think is the one thing you did right when it came to networking?

When I started out, I was one of the World’s Worst Networkers; I did so many things wrong. I made all of the mistakes and some of them cost me business and relationships with people. I think the one thing that I did right was to take the time to master the art of networking by putting into practice the lessons that I learned. It’s one thing to read and to intellectually understand how to do something, but it’s another thing to actually do it. I learned that you have to master and always practice the fundamentals in order to truly be an expert – be it networking or any field.

You do a lot of speaking engagements and seminars each year. What are some of your common presentations? Who is in your “typical audience?”

Networking has a universal appeal so my typical audience varies from small business owners and sales-reps to departments and executives from Fortune 500 companies, to directors and workers in non-profits and schools. Some of my common presentations are The World’s Worst Networker where I bring several of the stories from the book to life. “Set Your Networking On Fire With I.C.E.” is a presentation designed for people who are new to networking and/or for those who dislike to network. It teaches them a simple skill set that will make their networking efforts a lot easier. One of my favorite workshops is “4G Networking” which teaches companies and teams how to interact and network with people from the 3-4 generations currently in the workforce. The “Level-Up Networking System” is an 2-3 day intensive program designed for people to make their networking more productive, profitable and prosperous.

Do you Tweet, have a Facebook or LinkedIn page?

Yes. People can connect with me on facebook by going to;

The Facebook fan page for the book is

On Twitter: @tmhouston.


Do you have any YouTube videos:
Here are a few:

Overview of The World’s Worst Networker:


Introducing one of The World’s Worst Networkers:


What are some books that you have read that will help people with to improve their networking skills?

Here are five of my favorite:

The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret by Dr. Ivan Misner

How to Work A Room, by Susan RoAne

Endless Referrals by Bob Burg

The Referral Engine – John Jantsch

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

Finally, your book was a Top 3 Bestseller on Why do you think it was so successful?

This book is a testimonial to the power of word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. First, every one of the contributing authors I have met though networking or they were referred to me by others. They come from all over the world and were happy to help make a contribution to the project. Second, the book became successful because of word-of-mouth marketing. People read it and told others about it and they referred others, and so on and so one. I didn’t do any formal or traditional advertising to market the book. People read about the book in interviews with me or reviews and others have heard me speak at conferences and seminars and purchased the book.

My reason for writing this book was to help others to avoid making the mistakes that I and others have made or to correct their course of action. . If I reach just a handful of people and help them to become better networkers and better business people, then I have accomplished my mission.

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