The book "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi was recommended by one of my colleagues and I thought it made sense for me to read it considering the fact that I prefer to eat alone most days ! I was feeling the pressures of the real world and was ready to get some creative tips on getting out of my shell and networking the world. Being a technophile, I had all the tools of the trade, just needed the tips and technique. So I thought ....
Few Clicks and 48 hours later, I had the book in my hands !
Overall, I think the book has lot of good advice, spiced up with personal anecdotes from Keith's life. His track record clearly illustrates that his tips work! If you are the type of person whose role and ambition needs an excellent networking style, this book is essential reading for you. Note to all Managing Directors and Business Development Managers- grab your copies today. It gives great practical tips for enhancing your performance and meeting those quotas thrust on us from up above.
But if you are like me, mainly focused on delivery solutions sold
by the above mentioned networking gurus, but needing good networking skills to remain in the race, some of the tips are way up there. It made me realize the price in terms of time and effort it goes into building a productive network.
Overall, I think it is a book worth reading and if you have the time and interest, I would suggest that you get a copy and read it during the next flight to your consulting engagement
For you folks who are too lazy or who need some incentive to read this book, here are some of my key learning (Remember I ignore all those esoteric tips). Let me know if it makes sense. If it does, you may want to actually read the whole book not this condensed list
You need to belong to the right group to move forward in your career. Who you know matters in addition to who you are ! So network to make sure you get entry into this exclusive club
Like my father used to advice me, you need to give to receive. Keith endorses this big time when you think of networking. The key consideration - Generosity. While building the network do not think of what you can get, but focus on what you can give so as to strengthen the relationship. Networking is not an accounting book with credits and debits for each relationship.
Create a personal "Board of Advisors". This group of your personal mentors can guide you to make the right decisions and act as god fathers to help you reach the right person at the right time. Mentors are a huge plus in your career.
- You need to build a network before you need it. Think strategic in addition to being tactical. You may want to penetrate the account and hence network to build the right relationships. But you may also want to network in case you need the help some time in the distant future. So build and it will be of use to you.
- The "powerful" sales person who advices to distribute your cards to as many people as possible, it mostly going to remain just that - an average sales man ! Networking is not measure by the number of cards you have or the contacts in your outlook !
- Do your home work. Whether it is the cold call or the first meeting. Tools like the LinkedIn, Google help you understand the client better. In fact, Keith had one of his staff prepare a one page write up of each of the contacts he was going to meet.
- Never eat alone- Keith's exaggerated (attention grabbing) way of stating that every time you eat, it is an opportunity to build a relationship with somebody. Just consider the 20 lunches in a month. Throw in 20 breakfast you have some thing going. And if you are a glutton for this kind of stuff, invite somebody for the dinner. Bottom line- You eat alone, you loose !
- Share your passions - The best way to relate to a person is to share your passions - Golf or technology or whatever makes you get high. Another interesting point also was his statement that you should share your vulnerabilities also to build a true relationship. People are more comfortable with a 3D person with weakness as compared to a 2D "perfect" person.
- Follow up or fail - Straight enough. Return the email or the voice message as soon as possible. If you promise to do something, do it !
- Importance of heath, wealth and children - According to Keith, these are the things important to most folks and hence topic of discussion or a foundation for relationship
Pinging all the time (Wishing on birthdays is better) - I personal try to wish people on their birthdays. Also, I am planning to send stuff to people which could remind them of me (articles, web sites etc)
- Be a person of content - Have a unique point of view - This is very interesting and I need to work on it. If anybody has some suggestions, Please send it along
- Build your brand - Obvious