- The book is a guide on how to network effectively and authentically, based on the author’s own experience and stories of other successful people.
- The book covers the mindset, skill set, and strategies of networking, such as how to research people, create value for them, follow up with them, and leverage your network for mutual benefit.
- The book also shows how to deepen your relationships, reach out to influential people, and give back to your network and society.
Hard work and an inspiring vision are important — but they can only get you so far. According to the authors of “Never Eat Alone,” the key ingredient to success is fostering meaningful connections with other people. In fact, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships. In this book summary, you’ll learn why creating a network is the best way for you to succeed and allows you to help others in the process.
How to cultivate the most important relationships in your life.
READ THIS BOOK SUMMARY IF YOU:
- Want to grow your network and strengthen your relationships in all areas of life
- Find networking events intimidating and uncomfortable
- Are interested in finding the right people to connect with to further your career
Table of Contents
It’s a rainy Thursday night, and you’ve finally worked up the courage to attend a happy hour event for professionals in your industry. As you enter the bar, you notice that not many people have arrived yet. An impeccably dressed man walks up to you, martini in one hand and business card in the other. He introduces himself, hands you his card, and begins to chat.
“So, what do you do?” he asks. You can tell that he isn’t listening to your answer. In fact, as soon as he sees your business card (which reads “junior analyst”), you start to get the feeling that he’s more intent on sizing up the other people arriving at the event than talking to you. Before you’ve had a chance to get past your elevator pitch, he abruptly excuses himself and moves on to talk to more important people. You sigh, order an appetizer, and wonder why you wasted your evening coming here.
Many people have negative associations with networking and avoid it at all costs. But according to Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz, this is a mistake that costs you big in the long-term. By failing to connect with people, you’ll have to work a lot harder just to get by in your career, and you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities to achieve your goals and help others in the process.
In this summary, you’ll learn Ferrazzi and Raz’s top tips for making networking an effective and enjoyable experience. By the end, you’ll know:
- How to not be a networking jerk.
- How to build your networking muscles.
- How to turn acquaintances into compatriots.
- How to nurture the right connections.
You’ll also learn why going skydiving might be better for your career than attending a networking event and what to do if you see someone important that you’d like to talk to.
How to Not Be a Networking Jerk (netjerk)
People hate networking for two reasons: It feels manipulative, and it can seem like a waste of time. This is because networking is often associated with network jerks: ruthlessly ambitious schmoozers who connect with people in search of quick wins rather than meaningful relationships. But networking doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, networking can be valuable and even enjoyable if you focus on giving rather than taking and integrate networking into your long-term strategy.
Focus on giving, not taking
A common approach to networking is to hand out business cards and make boring small talk, hoping that the person you’re talking to will give you something later. But this is the wrong mindset. If you show up to a networking event thinking only about what you need right now, you will repel people and come across as selfcentered or desperate.
According to Ferrazzi and Raz, networking is more about building relationships and working with other people when you don’t need them than it is about forging short-term alliances with people who can give you what you need today. The most important thing is to establish trust by bringing value to every conversation, connecting the right people to the right opportunities, and finding opportunities to collaborate with others.
Bill Clinton followed this rule from the time he was in school. He wrote down the names and key details of everyone that he met and kept in touch with them with a genuine focus on what mattered most to those people and how he could help them. As he advanced in his political career, people were astonished by how well he could navigate tough conversations, connect with just about anyone, and develop deep, trust-based relationships.
Integrate networking into your long-term strategy
It’s true that networking can take a lot of time, but it can also save you a lot of time in the long run by helping you stay on top of what’s happening in your industry and connecting you to people who can help you get things done more efficiently. To make the most of networking as a valuable exercise rather than a total drag,
Ferrazzi and Raz recommend a three step approach.
- First, find your passion. Decide what your real dreams are, regardless of the obstacles that are keeping you from achieving them.
- Second, write down a list of the things you’d like to achieve in the next three years. Break those goals down into one-year goals and then one-month goals. Write down some ideas about the types of people and organizations you’ll need to be connected with to achieve those goals. Then, figure out how you’ll connect with those people or organizations.
- Finally, create a small circle of friends, mentors, or trusted acquaintances who can serve as your personal “board of advisors.” Ferrazzi uses his board of advisors to help him navigate tough situations and identify countless opportunities that he would’ve missed otherwise.
How to Build Your Networking Muscles
Now that you understand the “why” behind networking, it’s time to understand how it’s done. Building networking skills is a bit like building muscles by going to the gym: Regular training and proper preparation are key to your success. The keys to a good networking regimen are being proactive, using your passion to connect with others, and never eating alone.
Let’s say that one of your short-term goals is to speak on a panel at a conference. Unfortunately, you haven’t had much luck when you’ve applied for speaker slots. You could just wait for the perfect opportunity to come your way, but it would be even better if you did some research and identified the top event organizers in your industry. Then, you could reach out to a handful of them and offer to volunteer at the next event. This enables you to not only network but also establish trust and build a good relationship with people who can help you achieve your goal in the long-term.
Suppose an event organizer agrees to discuss your offer to volunteer over a cup of coffee. You could just show up to the meeting and talk about yourself and why you’re qualified to help. However, you’ll get a lot further if you spend a few minutes on Google, LinkedIn, or Twitter learning about the event organizer’s area of specialization, accomplishments, and upcoming challenges. This gives you a chance to congratulate the organizer on a recent conference that went well, ask them about an upcoming event, or at least have a basic understanding of their situation from the moment you start talking.
Always do your homework on the people that you’re going to meet or want to meet, whether you’re having a one-on-one meeting with them or you just happen to know they’ll be at the same event as you. By doing so, you’ll rapidly grow your network and set yourself up for more success so that you’re not tongue-tied when you get your “big break.”
Use your passion to connect with others
There’s a reason that networking events have a bad reputation. Even when they aren’t full of “networking jerks,” you may feel kind of desperate when attending them. Very few people get jobs or seal deals at networking events when compared to other environments, like skydiving courses, first-class sections on airplanes, or volunteer spaces. This is because the quality of time you spend with other people while networking can never compete with the quality of time you spend with people while sharing a pleasant, scary, meaningful, or intense experience.
One of Ferrazzi’s friends networks at the gym. He enjoys chatting with ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders while they’re both huffing away at the Stairmaster. Meanwhile, Ferrazzi makes meaningful connections while on volunteer trips to places like Guatemala, where he and other volunteers share memorable experiences and contribute to something they care about.
If you want to start building more meaningful relationships, think about what you’re passionate about — whether it’s hosting dinners or volunteering — and fit those things into your schedule. Don’t make excuses like, “I’m too busy.” Participating in shared activities will provide you with energy and a chance to let go of office stress for a while, and it will save you time by sparing you from the need to go to boring networking events.
Never eat alone
According to Ferrazzi and Raz, disappearing from your network is a cardinal mistake that leaders avoid at all costs. If you’re an “up-and-comer” in your industry, you must work hard to remain visible and active among your ever-budding network of friends and contacts, or you’ll miss out on important opportunities.
Ferrazzi once got to travel with Hillary Clinton when she was first lady. She was up at 5 a.m. for phone calls with people in different time zones, and in just one day, she gave four or five speeches, attended multiple cocktail parties, and shook over 2,000 hands. At the end of this exhausting day, when most leaders would seize a much-awaited opportunity for solitude, she chatted with her staff on Air Force One and then went about scheduling the next day.
Clinton’s crazy schedule isn’t all that unique. Through his work, Ferrazzi has observed that world-class leaders are constantly engaging with the members of their network and the public. So, if you want to up your game, don’t let meals, commutes, or other moments go to waste.
How to Turn Acquaintances into Compatriots
When you’re making new connections, it’s important that you understand the other person’s mission. This is what makes them tick, sets their goals, and matters most to them. Everyone is unique, but three common mission types are making money, finding love, or changing the world.
Once you know someone’s mission, no matter how big or small it seems to you, do what you can to help them succeed in fulfilling it. Many people do the opposite and focus on their own success, but if you help an influencer in your industry succeed, you become indispensable to them, which encourages them to give you many opportunities in the future.
For example, Ferrazzi met Robin Richards, an executive at Vivendi Universal who had made a fortune founding and selling MP3.com. Richards was leading a negotiation to buy Ferrazzi’s company. The deal ultimately fell through, but during their discussions, Ferrazzi learned that Richards’ child had a rare form of cancer, so introduced Richards to a friend of his who was passionate about finding a cure. To this day, he and Richards are still good friends who would bend over backwards for each other.
On top of understanding someone’s mission, to convert them from a casual acquaintance to a close friend or ally, you’ll need to find creative ways to stay in their lives. One way to do this is “pinging”: using emails, messages, or quick phone calls to share things that made you think of them, give them a quick update, or ask how they’re doing. Another way to deepen your relationship is to organize regular dinners, brunches, or get-togethers of another sort and invite them along. By hosting regular get-togethers, you act as a connector for interesting people, demonstrate your leadership skills, and create unforgettable memories that your network will always associate with you.
How to Nurture the Right Connections
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich likes to tell a story about a lion who spends his time hunting field mice. No matter how good a hunter he is and no matter how many field mice he catches, he’ll still be starving at the end of the day if that’s all he eats. The moral of the story is that it’s important to begin targeting antelopes rather than field mice.
Focusing on powerful or influential people doesn’t make you vain or superficial if you have a meaningful mission that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to improve America’s education system, you’ll achieve a lot more by surrounding yourself with policymakers and their advisors than surrounding yourself with unemployed musicians. To surround yourself with more powerful people, attend events such as golf tournaments, conferences, or political fundraisers. You can also seek opportunities to serve on nonprofit boards or in other prominent roles outside your job.
Once you’ve put yourself in proximity to powerful people, it’s essential that you establish trust. Powerful people are often wary of newcomers because they expect that they’ll want something from them. But if you treat them like anyone else, they’ll stop worrying about your possible ulterior motives. For instance, at an embassy event, Ferrazzi once saw Richard Schiff, the actor who played the advisor to the president on the popular TV show The West Wing. Rather than ask for his autograph or make a big deal out of him being there, Ferrazzi casually introduced himself and acted like he didn’t know who Schiff was. This allowed Schiff to open up, and the two went on to have a great connection and kept in touch afterwards.
In this summary, you’ve learned that networking is more about helping other people succeed than it is about wearing an uncomfortable tie, impressing everyone, or squeezing concessions out of people. You’ve also learned that networking is like a muscle, and to build it, you must always be constantly seeking opportunities to use it — whether that’s during mealtimes, plane rides, or your morning gym session. Finally, you’ve learned that it’s important to prioritize developing relationships with the right kind of people so that you can maximize the positive impact that you have with your career.
Whether your mission in life is to earn money, help others, innovate, or make exciting new discoveries, you’ll get much farther if you pursue it with other people.
Keith Ferrazzi is an author and entrepreneur. As founder and chairman of Ferrazzi Greenlight, he works to identify behaviors that block global organizations from reaching their goals and replace them with new behaviors that increase growth and shareholder value. In 1999, Ferrazzi was named a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, and in 1997, he was Crain’s Business pick as one of the 40 top business leaders under 40. In addition to Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi wrote Who’s Got Your Back, and has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Fast Company.
Tahl Raz is a bestselling author, nonfiction collaborator, and award-winning journalist. As chief knowledge officer and director of publishing at Ferrazzi Greenlight, Raz oversees the firm’s publishing, digital strategy, and intellectual property management efforts. His most recent work, Never Split the Difference, written in collaboration with Chris Voss, remains the nation’s top book on negotiation. When not researching or writing, Raz coaches executives, lectures, and serves as an editorial consultant for several national firms.
Self-Improvement, Business, Nonfiction, Self Help, Personal Development, Leadership, Psychology, Communication, Relationships, Management, Business Life, Careers and Employment, Characteristics and Qualities, Public Relations, Success, Motivation, Self-Esteem, Personal Growth, Marketing and Sales, Business and Money, Job Hunting and Careers, Social Skills
Table of Contents
Section 1 The Mind-Set
1 Becoming a Member of the Club 3
2 Don’t Keep Score 14
3 What’s Your Mission? 24
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Bill Clinton 40
4 Build It Before You Need It 43
5 The Genius of Audacity 49
6 The Networking Jerk 58
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Kotharine Graham 63
Section 2 The Skill Set
7 Do Your Homework 69
8 Take Names 76
9 Warming the Cold Call 83
10 Managing the Gatekeeper-Artfully 92
11 Never Eat Alone 99
12 Share Your Passions 105
13 Follow Up of Fail 111
14 Be a Conference Commando 116
15 Connecting with Connectors 136
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Paul Revere 145
16 Expanding Your Circle 148
17 The Art of Small Talk 152
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Brené Brown 158
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Dule Carnegie 167
Section 3 Turning Connections into Compatriots
18 Health, Wealth, and Children 173
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Adam Grant 182
19 Social Arbitrage 185
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Vernon Jordan 192
20 Pinging-All the Time 195
21 Find Anchor Tenants and Feed Them 205
Section 4 Connecting in the Digital Age
22 Tap the Fringe 219
23 Become the King of Content 236
24 Engineering Serendipity 254
Section 5 Trading Up and Giving Back
25 Be Interesting 269
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: The Dalai Lama 285
26 Build Your Brand 290
27 Boradcast Your Brand 298
28 Getting Close to Power 316
29 Build It and They Will Come 327
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Benjamin Franklin 332
30 Never Give In to Hubris 336
31 Find Mentors, Find Mentees. Repeat 342
Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profile: Eleanor Roosevelt 352
32 Balance Is B.S. 355
33 Welcome to the Connected Age 360
The book is a guide on how to build and maintain a network of relationships that can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. The author, Keith Ferrazzi, shares his own story of how he rose from a humble background to become a successful entrepreneur, consultant, and speaker, thanks to his ability to connect with others. He also offers practical advice and tips on how to reach out to people, create value for them, follow up with them, and leverage your network for mutual benefit.
The book is divided into four parts:
- Part One: The Mind-Set: This part explains the importance of having a positive attitude, a generous spirit, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. It also challenges some common myths about networking, such as the idea that it is selfish, manipulative, or superficial.
- Part Two: The Skill Set: This part covers the specific skills and techniques that you need to master in order to network effectively. It includes topics such as how to research people, how to make a good first impression, how to join or start a conversation, how to build rapport and trust, how to exchange information and ideas, how to follow up and stay in touch, and how to ask for favors and referrals.
- Part Three: Turning Connections into Compatriots: This part focuses on how to deepen your relationships with your existing contacts and turn them into allies who can support you and advocate for you. It also shows how to expand your network by joining or creating communities of interest, such as clubs, associations, or online groups.
- Part Four: Trading Up and Giving Back: This part explores how to reach out to more influential and powerful people who can help you advance your career or cause. It also emphasizes the importance of giving back to your network and society by sharing your knowledge, resources, and opportunities with others.
The book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to network effectively and authentically. The author draws from his own experience and from the stories of other successful people who have used networking as a key strategy for achieving their goals. The book is full of practical tips and examples that can be applied in various situations and contexts. The book also offers a holistic approach to networking that goes beyond the transactional aspect of exchanging business cards or contacts. It shows how networking can be a way of building meaningful relationships that enrich your life and the lives of others.
The book is well-written and engaging, with a conversational tone and a clear structure. The author uses anecdotes, metaphors, quotes, and humor to illustrate his points and keep the reader’s interest. The book also includes exercises, checklists, and action plans that help the reader apply the concepts and skills in their own networking efforts.
The book is suitable for anyone who wants to improve their networking skills or expand their network of contacts. It is especially relevant for professionals, entrepreneurs, students, job seekers, or anyone who wants to achieve their personal or professional goals through the power of relationships. The book is also inspiring and motivating, as it shows how networking can be a rewarding and fulfilling activity that can make a positive difference in the world.