This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
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Is networking a bothersome chore for you? Do you want to improve your connections but don’t know how? Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” is the ultimate guide to successful networking. Forget boring networking events and get ready to have some fun with creating new relationships! You’ll see, a profound network is the sure way to success – it’ll leave you with more options than you could ever have imagined. The lone wolf is a thing of the past; interconnectedness defines our world today.
It’s true: success breeds success and the rich will always get richer. Why? Because of the networks they have established with other people. The spirit of helping one another out and lifting each other up pervades the upper echelons of society.
So how can you get there? Your background and setup don’t really matter. Neither does how smart you are, or how much you start out with. It’s all a matter of successful network building. If you start helping others, others will help you too. Ferrazzi started out as the son of a working-class couple in southern Pennsylvania and has become an extremely successful entrepreneur – all through his ambition to be helpful to other people.
Helping others means that people will start liking you - and people will do business with the people they like. “Like business itself, being a connector is not about managing transactions, but about managing relationships,” says Ferrazzi.
Networks are incredibly important to begin a successful career. A stable network will also provide you with the loyalty and stability that was previously provided by large corporations. No one works for just one company anymore. We all change jobs and positions frequently, so the one thing that can anchor us in life is the network of people around us.
The perfect time to start networking is now, since the “dynamic of our society, and particularly our economy, will increasingly be defined by interdependence and interconnectivity.”
The key to successful networking is to be generous. Be willing to accept generosity and also be willing to ask for it. Connecting entails a “constant process of giving and receiving — of asking for and offering help.” Ferrazzi only got to where he is today through the generosity of others who were willing to sponsor his education, for example.
Stop keeping score – a network works because there is a recognition of mutual need. Putting time and energy into building relationships will eventually pay off. When someone offers you something, accept it without feeling indebted to them. Likewise, don’t expect to get repaid for the generous offers you make.
The most important thing is to start building your network early. If, say, you wanted to set up your own PR company, don’t wait to look for potential clients once you have set up the company – start looking for clients immediately. Try to get into the industry through contacts. Think about where the top people of that industry hang out, and then go and network with them.
Here are a few practical steps to building a network:
The most important thing to keep in mind when building a network is not thinking, “How can they help me?” but rather, “How can I help them?” Seek to become indispensable to others. The more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way.
It is also valuable to realize that you’ve already got a wealth of possible connections at your fingertips – you already know a lot of people, such as friends, family, and neighbors. So start making a list of all the people you already know!
To be successful in life, you must also be audacious. Ferrazzi’s dad wanted him to achieve more in life than he had. The only person his dad thought could help was the CEO of the company he worked for. So he went to ask his boss’s boss’s boss for help, and that man was so intrigued by the dad’s courage that he ended up sponsoring Ferrazzi’s school education - eventually sending him to business school at Harvard. It never hurts to ask.
Goal setting is incredibly important to becoming successful. Having a clear goal in mind will allow you to create the correct network to get where you want to be.
Do you have a particular goal you want to achieve? Have you written it down? Studies show that writing down your goal makes you more likely to achieve it. If you don’t yet know what it is that you want to do, start by finding your passion. Find the place where your talents and dreams intersect - your “blue flame.” Every one of us has a distinct mission within ourselves, one that we are here to fulfill – whether that is becoming a mother or being a successful writer or a top engineer.
You can find your blue flame by creating two lists: one with your dreams and goals, and one with your talents and passions. What is it that you want to do? What are the things that you’re good at? Then, start connecting the two lists by looking for intersections.
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, you need to figure out how to get there. You can do so with the help of a networking action plan (NAP). The first step of the NAP is to set yourself three-year goals. From there, move backwards to create mid and short-term goals. Then, create both A and B goals. For example, your A goal might be to be a teacher, while your B goal might be to be a teacher in a certain neighborhood.
In the second step of your NAP, you must come up with two or three people per goal that can bring you closer to achieving it. Finally, set out which strategies will be most useful to get to know all those people.
With your mission and plan in mind, create your own board of advisors. These are people who will help you stay focused on your plan. They can be family members or friends, but the important thing is that they keep you on track.
Now that you’ve figured out where you want to go and how to get there, you’ll need a few strategies to make your networking plan a success. Don’t leave your networking to chance. Carefully plan who you meet, how, and when – in short, do your homework. Before you meet someone, do research on who they are, what they like and think. Ferrazzi usually compiles a one-page synopsis of the person he is about to meet.
When talking to someone, it is important not to fall back on polite chit chat. Find a common ground, such as a shared interest, to really connect with the other person. Share your passions and be open! That way you will be remembered positively by your conversation partner. When Ferrazzi meets someone new, he is never shy to admit that he’s done research on them – after all, wouldn’t you be flattered if someone was that interested in meeting and connecting with you?
Create lists of all the people you know and the people you want to meet. Ferrazzi stores his lists in Microsoft Outlook and structures them by region. That way, when he gets to a new city, he knows exactly who he wants to reach out to.
Sometimes, making new connections involves calling strangers - so-called cold calls. The secret to these is not to hesitate, but to plunge right in. You’ll always find another excuse to procrastinate just a little bit longer. Consider getting to know new people as a challenge and an opportunity.
Another important strategy to meet really important people is to get along with the gatekeeper – whether it is the assistant or secretary. These people are the key to getting to know their bosses, so you’ll have to try your best to get along with them. Assistants are much more than just that. If they are any good at their job, they often become trusted advisors, and even friends.
Keep in mind, “The dynamics of a network are similar to those of a would-be celebrity in Hollywood: Invisibility is a fate far worse than failure.” So keep your calendar full and make sure you’re always “there.” You need to use your time wisely to meet as many people as possible.
Take the author as an example. He once had a two-day business trip to New York, during which he wanted to meet three people and only had one available time slot. So, he “cloned” the event, and invited all three to dinner - since they would all benefit from knowing one another, anyway. Always try to include others in what you’re doing and never eat alone.
You’ve probably heard of the idea that there are only six degrees of separation between you and anyone else in the world. This happens because of so-called super-connectors: someone who knows everybody, and who everybody seems to know.
Since you are more likely to get a job through personal connections than through your own initiative or applications (as proven in a 1974 study), knowing someone who knows many people can be incredibly useful. Super-connectors know thousands of people well enough to give them a call – which means that once you get friendly with a super-connector, you are only two degrees away from thousands of possible connections.
The seven most common professions where you’ll find super-connectors are restaurant owners, headhunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, public relations people, politicians, and journalists. That’s because in these professions, it is possible to meet a great many people from different walks of life.
Apart from knowing super-connectors, one of the most important concepts in the art of networking is that of the mentor. It is believed that mentoring can reduce employee turnover and improve revenue growth by providing people with the right relationships.
A study by Dr. David McClelland at Harvard University found out that the “reference group” - or, the people we hang out with - plays a crucial role in determining whether you’ll be successful or not. So, learning from a role model or someone who is more successful than you will inevitably improve your success.
Mentoring works because sharing your knowledge with someone else usually pays off. Your mentees might contribute to your firm or introduce you to someone important. “Mentoring is a nonhierarchical activity that transcends careers and can cross all organizational levels,” says Ferrazzi. Mentors are all around you – and you should become a mentor yourself.
To become successful, you’ll need the right network to support you. Growing your network means being audacious, generous, and helpful to others. Ferrazzi has helped countless people become successful entrepreneurs. The Dean of the Yale School of Management is certainly convinced, saying: “Keith’s insights on how to turn a conference, a meeting, or a casual contact into an extraordinary opportunity for mutual success make invaluable reading for people in all stages of their professional and personal lives. I strongly recommend it.”
Make friends with a super-connector such as a restaurant owner or a journalist to boost your network.
Keith Ferrazzi is an author and speaker on subjects like business, networking, and sales. Keith Ferrazzi is the bestselling author of Who's Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone. Ferrazzi was published in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc. and Fast Company. He was the youngest person to partner and serve as Deloitte Consulting's Marketing Director, where he elevated Deloitte's brand recognition to a primary position, fueling the industry's highest growth rate. As founder and... (Read more)
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