I always assumed that networking was something that was reserved for CEO’s and other powerful people. Plus, as an introverted, young man I figured it had no place in my life. But when I graduated college without a job I realized that not everything in this world is based on merit.
As they say, “It’s not about the grades you make, but the hands you shake.”
Networking can be defined as, “interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career” (Wiki). It’s a skill that all men who want to be successful in life must learn to develop.
I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business—and life—skill sets you’ll ever learn. Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like. Careers—in every imaginable field—work the same”
One reason I absolutely love Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is because it’s basically a textbook on networking. The first time I implemented the techniques he suggested in the book I felt like I was using PUA techniques, except I was trying to get guy’s email address!
- I made the approach after recognizing someone at an event.
- I used an ‘opener’ to show we had similar connections.
- We then talked and built rapport.
- Then I finally closed.
Yet, this book I by no means a bore. He has plenty of anecdotes to keep the book moving without being a drab.
Why You Must Network
The point of networking, as Ferrazzi points out, is not to necessarily meet as many people as possible or to collect business cards, but rather to develop meaningful connections with people who will be able to help you get to where you want to be down the road.
“real networking was about finding ways to make other people more successful.”
How to Network
Ferrazzi uses numerous examples throughout the book of how to build connections, from how to get past pesky secretaries to strategically positioning yourself at conferences. The amount of knowledge he drops is absolutely brilliant.
In fact, the book is filled from cover to cover with detailed, actionable advice.
One of the principles of networking is to make sure you give as much as you take. People who are only looking to get ahead with no regard to anybody else’s well-being aren’t going to succeed. You must be willing to help others achieve their goals.
Another way to do this is to become a builder of connections. Once your network becomes vast you can start getting different people in contact with each other.
Credibility is the first thing you want to establish in any interaction, and, ultimately, no one will buy from you unless you establish trust. Having a mutual friend or even acquaintance will immediately make you stand out from the other anonymous individuals vying for a piece of someone’s time.”
Seek out the big names in your industry. Offer value, make yourself known, and in due time your credibility will be solid.
Using Social Media to Grow Your Brand
Ferrazzi has tailored a section of the book in order to accommodate for the technology of the 21st century, namely social media. He is a big advocate of Twitter:
I’ve structured and curated my online network to deliver people, information, and opportunities that are completely specific to me and what I’m working on.”
Looking at all this seemingly disparate information in aggregate, I see patterns, make connections, and from it all, generate my own little “eurekas!” about myself and the world.”
The idea is to make social media work for you. Don’t let it be a waste of time, rather turn it into an opportunity to grow yourself and your network.
When it comes to creating content online, remember that:
Creating content that gets read and builds trust requires you to adopt and communicate the same core values that help you build relationships in the physical world. Here’s my formula:
GENEROSITY + VULNERABILITY + ACCOUNTABILITY + CANDOR = TRUST
I can’t say I’ve read many books on networking, but this is definitely an invaluable book on this subject. A must-read for men looking to move up in the world and find like-minded, driven men. In fact, I found this book so valuable I included it in my list of 8 Books Twenty-Somethings should read.
Click here to get a copy of Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi on Amazon.