Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone

This book will change the way you think about building connections. Probably anyone who has gone through university or who has been in the work place know that networking is one of the keys to success. This book takes it to the next level. Rather than simply being present at events such as conferences, seminars, or parties, this book teaches through example the mindset and skillset that will help build meaningful relationships.

It's been more than 8 months since I read this book, yet I still think about its messages every day. From the cover, it looks like an all-too-familiar "networking" book, but after reading the first few pages, you'll know that's not the case. The book starts with Mr Ferrazzi's personal childhood experience of working as a caddie in the local country club and observing high powered networking occur on the golf course. The book is full of such personal examples of what works and what doesn't, knowledge gained from experience and not theory. This is what separates the book from other books on the topic.

Conference Commando

This is a term that I still remember vividly. Mr. Ferrazzi uses this term to describe a mindset when attending conferences - to make an effort to reach out to people of interest. He also mentioned that smart people don't attend conferences to acquire knowledge.. most leaders already know the material, and that they use conferences as purely networking events and are busy emailing even during talks. This blew my mind away at the time, but after attending a few conferences, I realized that this was indeed the case. When I attended a major international conference earlier this year, I put this new mentality to good use and also have had very fruitful experiences in my volunteering at conferences ever since.

The mentality is, I think, to always be actively helping others. For instance, I always try to find a way to generate value for a new contact, whether it be offering resources in the form of my knowledge or my existing network. Mr Ferrazzi also teaches "pinging" and I find that I do this by emailing people in my network when I find an event or meeting that may be of interest to them.

Another key point is to share your passion with others. Sounds cheesy, I know, but here's an example. I'm interested in biotech and entrepreneurship, and there is nothing more exciting to me than to meet someone who also works in biotech and loves startups. I would make certain that we meet for coffee or a meal and talk about the subject, exchange ideas and keep in touch. I know that if I find an opportunity that matches that person's interests, I'll forward it along, and who knows how that may help.
This mentality isn't only required for success in business, but also in the academic setting.

Don't Be Shy

At first I was also a little apprehensive about reaching out to others, especially people who seemed more established than me. I thought to myself, incorrectly, that I had nothing to offer. As I soon found out, I could help numerous people by extending my network to them - if I couldn't help, I almost always knew someone who could. People are always interested in meeting new people, so even introducing someone to people in my group was a lot of fun. Even just encouragement or a compliment, when genuine, was a great way to connect. My favorite offerings have been books (like this one!) and a person that I think this person should be connected with. Mr Ferrazzi gives many personal examples on this in his book.

I highly recommend anyone who is interested in networking to read this book. It'll change your mentality and give you a basic skillset to get you started. After that when you incorporate your own style is when the real fun begins..

The book has also had an in-depth review done by Dave Jenson at Science Careers Forum. Check it out here.

Get the book here.

1 comment :

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