Don’t Eat Alone

As you might have caught on to by now, I am obsessed with Audiobooks! I find them to be the best way for me to consistently learn while on the move. I recently finished listening to “Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success One Relationship at a Time” by Keith Ferrazzi. I consider myself to be a good relationship person but Ferrazzi has artfully mastered the skill of relationship building that gives him access to an unmatched network of connected influencers.

Since many of you don’t have the patience to listen to eleven hours of relationship building tips, I will give you a quick look at some of the items that I found to be the most useful. I hope that it will motivate you to learn more about the author and his philosophies. 

Create a plan.

  • The key to achieving success is making goal setting a habit. Start every day reviewing your daily, weekly and yearly goals. Creating this habit of accountability will ensure that you achieve your goals and enable you to set loftier goals for the future.

  • Take some time tonight to sit down to ask yourself what you really want in life, what you are good at and what obstacles are stopping you. Make sure you set goals that demand risk and uncertainty.

  • The more specific you are about where you want to go, the easier it is to build a strategy to help you get there.

  • Remember that a goal is nothing more than a dream with a deadline so once you achieve a goal set another one!

Start finding future customers today.

  • The bigger your web of relationships gets, the more attractive it becomes and the faster it will grow.

  • Identify who your ideal customers or network members are and where they socialize. Start networking in those circles by attending social functions, volunteering your time and making connections with people that will one day influence your future business endeavors.

  • Spend time with people who are in a field you are interested in or have the job you want to have in the future.

  • Research shows that who you associate yourself with is crucial to who you become. This is true no matter what age you are so START NOW!

Do your homework.

  • If you are going to successfully build your network you must do your homework. Make sure you are prepared with as much information as possible on the people that you wish to meet so you can engage in thoughtful conversation when you have the opportunity.

  • Spend time before each meeting compiling a one-page synopsis on the person you are about to meet. Focus on specifics that will help you to get to know the person personally – what they feel strongly about, their proudest achievement, etc. – in addition to general updates on their business.

  • Follow this rule for both people you know you will interact with and people you want to meet. Before you attend your next conference, take a look at the keynote speaker list and do a little discovery on each in case you are able to catch them before they become the most popular person in the room.

  • One of my favorite quotes from the book on this topic was, “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by spectacular preparation.”

Don’t keep score.

  • “How can I help you” needs to be the primary building block of any relationship so make sure you aren’t keeping score. Remember that the currency of real networking is generosity.

  • Relationship equity is not finite; the more you work it, the stronger it gets.

Create reasons to meet.

  • Ferrazzi loves to cook and invites friends, customers and other networkers into his house for special dinner parties on a regular basis. If you are like me and don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen, think about another memorable event you could host that would separate you from other network builders.

  • If you are only reaching out to your network when you need something, you are doing it wrong. Make sure you are consistently adding value to your relationships so when you do need to tap into your network, you have an army of loyal and well-connected friends to lean on.

  • If you are meeting a person you don’t know well, feel free to invite someone you do know well to help break up any awkwardness. A mentee is a perfect person to invite to your next blind lunch as the mentee will love the opportunity to get face time with business leaders and your lunch date will likely appreciate your commitment to mentorship.

  • When engaging with people you want to get closer to remember that you have to get past the abstract and get to know them as a person.

Each of us is a brand.

  • I have written about the importance of treating yourself as a brand before and Ferrazzi drives this point home throughout his book. He talks about the importance of setting yourself apart from the crowd by continually adding value to others.

  • Creating a personal board of advisors that can help to hold you accountable and strengthen your brand is a valuable asset that few people ever formalize. It also could be a game changer for your career.

One of my favorite lines and take away from in the book is, “Those that are best at reaching out to others don’t network, they make friends.”

I recommend this book to anyone that has a desire to take his or her networking skills to the next level. Throughout this book, Ferrazi teaches there is no easy way to build your network as it should be built on trust, common respect and commitment to success, all of which are hard to earn and easy to lose. If you want to network successfully, make sure you commit to the long game.

Thanks for being a valued part of my network and, more importantly, a great friend.