Over the weekend I got down to some reading and on my table was Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, the expanded and updated version. This networking powerhouse is written by Keith Ferrazzi, and it stems generosity as the key, not only to relationship management but also to business success.
Never Eat Alone will teach you how to never leave a business conference with indigestion but a month’s worth of lunch dates, new connections and people who lead you to the next opportunity in your career life.
That said, let’s review the practical lessons you will learn from the book Never Eat Alone.
- Networking is a synonym to making friends
The author who hails from simple roots learnt from an early age that proper networking is a key ingredient for a successful life and career. After all, most people do business with the people they like and even with all the knowledge, getting an opportunity remains a people’s problem with a people’s solution.
He notes that having knowledge is basic. What’s left is meeting the right network of people who will take you to a place you can leverage that knowledge.
In today’s world, the most valuable currency is social capital, which is defined as information, trust, expertise and total value that exists in the relationships you have and the social networks you belong to.
Therefore, whether you’re in a party or a formal event, get to know people and make friends. Don’t schmooze. Instead be genuine, as you get to know the other person and solve problems for them if you can. The goals are to help others by sharing knowledge and offering solutions just like genuine friends would, without expecting anything in return.
Ultimately the more you give, the more you will receive. With authenticity guiding your generosity the people you help will often reciprocate your kindness. At the very least if a favour is not repaid you can take the chance to learn, explore and enrich your own life knowing that you made a difference in someone else’s life.
- Have a relationship action plan
Networking has evolved to an act that’s no longer signified by the number of people you give your cards to in an event, but to what you look forward to creating afterwards with such people. This automatically denotes that strategy is a key part of getting the concept of networking right. This is what the author regards as having a relationship action plan.
In action, it means that you have to do your homework to know who will serve the purpose you plan to reach or at the very least facilitate the opportunity needed for you to achieve a set goal.
You can start by listing all your prospects, friends, mentors, colleagues and whoever comes to mind that could share with you the knowledge you need. Then start cold calling. You have to remember that the goal is not to exploit since you also need to help the other person attain a goal of their own.
Bottomline real networking as Never Eat Alone demystifies it, comes down to facilitating the success of others. It is tied to a fundamental principle that governs successful friendships and all type of relationships; providing an ever-increasing value to others.
- Take control of your relationships
Your mood, your paycheck, your health, heart set, mindset, and how you act will always depend on who you choose to interact with. On the other hand, intellectuals have often reminded us that the equation to success isn’t about innate talent, being smart, working hard, or even class. Success is about the people you meet and what you decide to create together. It is ultimately about knowing the right people for the right reasons and utilizing the power of these relationships.
“The individual who knows the right people, for the right reasons, and utilizes the power of these relationships, can become a member of the “club,” whether he started out as a caddie or not.”
Be vulnerable as this will take your relationships to the next level and keep in touch (pinging), otherwise will die.
Your network eventually becomes your destiny.
- Ask for help
Working as a caddie and being exposed to the richest network full of successful people from a young age, exposed the author to some truths earlier on in life. These include
- Success breeds success, but intrinsically its about access. Thus, until you are willing to reach out and ask for help, as much as you’re willing to give it, you are only working half the equation. Learn and accept that you cannot do it alone then start building effective networks.
- Exercising equity builds equity. There’s never a too big a pie to share. In fact, sharing with more only increases the pie, because by devoting your time, expertise and sharing connections, you build strong networks which create great businesses.
- You should never wait until you are a master in reaching out to implement the strategies of relationship building. Whenever you find it difficult to initiate contact, always remember that humans are social creatures and it is in human nature to want to connect. The worse that could happen is someone saying no, to which you say thank you, I am sorry you feel that way. Your work is not to change people’s nature. Here are 5 tips on how to network in a new environment.
- Have a personal adviser board
These are the people you seek advice whenever you’re stuck in your career or life. These are the people who can help you reach the destination you plan to reach by influencing your perception and decisions.
An epiphany that dawned on Ferrazzi when he was still a kid was that poverty was not only a lack of financial resources but isolation from the kind of people who could help you make more of yourself. 5 tips to help you move forward in your career.
- Have a mission in life
A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of a mutual need. But to know what you need, you must be self-aware enough to have a mission in place. Not only do you need a goal, but the more specific you are about where you want to get in life the easier it will be to develop a strategic plan. Equipped with a mission, you know what you need, who to connect with and what will impact your life.
The author says that developing a networking strategy plan banks on having a mission in life.
- Be afraid, but do it anyway
Balance the fear of embarrassment against the fear of failure and its repercussions. The author gives an example of his father, who its either he asked and risk getting embarrassed or he didn’t and his family went without. For the author, its either he was fearful and didn’t try or he did and became successful. After all, the worst thing someone can say is no, echoing the words of the author. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
What Ferrazzi learnt throughout the years till he became one of Crain’s 40 Under 40 and was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow by World Economic Forum, is that failure debilitates. Once you discover that there’s no benefit to holding back, every situation and every person, no matter how seemingly beyond your reach they seem, becomes an opportunity to succeed.
“There is an ounce of genius, even magic in being audacious,” Keith Ferrazzi.
- Be a great leader
A mark of leadership is generated by what people do because of you and not for you. Whether you are the leader of a company or the president himself, you need to see those below you as partners to be wooed towards achieving your and their long terms goals, instead of people to be called upon whenever a task needs to be done. You work for them as much as they work for you.
After all, when you help people genuinely they help you too. But when you don’t have other’s genuine interests at heart, they tend to find out sooner and escape you when you need them the most.
What the author learnt is that success depends on everyone around you and not the only people above you. Everyone needs to become part of your leadership for you to be established as a successful leader.
For more valuable lessons and insights found in the book Never Eat Alone, you can read or listen to the audio version which is available on Amazon