“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” One of the first things that struck me while reading this book, and it also ties the entire book together. Keith Ferrazzi, the author of Never Eat Alone, gives many examples of what networking is, how to network, and beyond. And you should read it if you want to know more. I am here to write about what I learned from the book and my thoughts about it.
Networking has a negative connotation in the business world, it’s like you’re talking to someone to get something from them, but that is the exact opposite of what networking is. I recently started working at a consulting firm, and the word “networking” was drilled into us on the first day of orientation. I never really understood the power of networking until I was given an opportunity that I would not have been given if it wasn’t for networking. My friend who I met at training gave me a contact, who gave me another contact, who was the one who gave me that opportunity. Of course I made good impressions on all of them, or else they would not have helped me out, but I did not keep in contact with them with the intention of getting something from them. I had a genuine interest in the work they were doing. Not keeping score is something that’s really important about networking – if you keep score, you will get nowhere.
Ferrazzi had many experiences while growing up. One that I want to experience is going to culinary school. He went to culinary school in London, but I would be lucky to go to one in New York. He talked about how your experiences matter a lot when you talk to someone. It makes sense, do you want to talk to someone who had a really boring life or has no interests at all? Obviously you shouldn’t go climb Mt. Everest just so you can tell people you did it, you should do it for yourself, but those experiences matter when you’re talking to someone. He also talked about how wine is a social lubricant, which I thought was just on point, because it’s funny and true. Maybe a little wine will help you tell your story better!
So what happens when you’re done telling your story? Exiting a conversation is something I struggle with. I just think it’s so awkward to say bye to someone I just met. Thankfully, Ferrazzi talked about the art of exiting a conversation. That is one section that I learned a lot from, and hope to practice it more in the near future. Maybe at a holiday work event?
Next I wanted to talk about broadcasting your brand. This is also something that was mentioned many times during orientation for work. What do you want to be known for? Do you want to be the go-to data visualization person? Or the pharmaceutical marketing person? It might take a while to figure out what you want to be known for (I’m still figuring that out), but it’s important for everyone to have a brand. I thought about this when I started my blog as well. What do I want my blog to be known for? I ended up with a short and sweet sentence – fashion and lifestyle through the eyes of a New York City consultant.
The things I learned from this book not only applies to my job, it also applies to my blog and daily life. There were two major points he brought up about the digital age that I thought was very interesting. The first is about curating your stream so that it’s a learning network. When you open Twitter, Facebook, or your email, you want to have notifications that are meaningful. Knowing about what our friends are up to is a big part of social media, but another great part about social media is that you can follow/like/subscribe to certain blogs or websites that have information that you want to learn about. Happify, Wait But Why, Bit of News, and Bright Talk are part of my learning network. The second thing is the algebra of trust, which is generosity + vulnerability + accountability + candor = trust. This is especially important when it comes to blogging, because people will only come back to your blog if they trust what you have to say about things.
While some things he said were not relatable, like how to talk to reporters and dealing with media, I learned a lot about the true meaning of networking, broadcasting my brand, and utilizing the digital age. I have been learning about the power of networking at my job now, but he had so many more examples for me to learn from. I definitely recommend reading this book if you want to learn more! Thanks for stopping by : )
To Mark: Thank you for introducing this book to me (and leaving it on my desk as a hint to tell me to read it). After reading this book, I totally get why you love it so much. You and the author are similar in so many ways, and one day you will be like him. Happy two year anniversary : )