I just finished the most amazing book on networking called Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi. For the two years in Little Rock, I wore myself to a frazzle attending networking functions, all to no avail in terms of bringing business into my company.
I was initially attracted to the title of the book because I eat alone alot. I work at home, and spend many meals eating by myself at my own dining room table. And, when I do choose to go out, I most often go out by myself, as I usually make the decision to do so at the last-minute and it’s just too much trouble to call anyone at that point. So, I’ve got over the introvert’s nightmare of eating alone <g> and now do it very routinely as a rule, rather than exception, I’m sad to say..LOL So, of course, since the title of the book made reference to something I do every day, I was intrigued and wanted to know what the author had to say.
Although intellectually I knew that networking was about building relationships, I never really and truly felt and understood what that meant on a deeper level until I read Keith’s book. Keith’s style of networking is about really and truly connecting one-on-one with every person that you meet and doing what you can to help that person. He illustrates this point by telling a story about Bill Clinton when Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. When Bill would meet someone new, he would pull out a black address book and record some pertinent details about the person and ask a few questions. When asked why he did this, Clinton replied that he was going into politics and was planning to run for governor of Arkansas, so he wanted to keep track of everyone he met.
Several years later, Ferrari reports, after Clinton became governor of Arkansas, he wrangled an invitation to an exclusive leadership event in Hilton Head, SC. A Washington Post article described Clinton in action:
Many guests, reflecting on Clinton’s presence, remember images more than words: how he would roam from discussion to discussion and take a spot at the side of the room, leaning casually against the wall; how he would seem to know everyone, not just from their name tags, but remember what they did and what they were interested in. "He hugs you," said Max Heller, the former mayor of Greenville. "He hugs you not only physically, but with a whole attitude."
What Heller was referring to is Clinton’s ability to create almost instant intimacy with anyone in the room — he uses the info as a means to bond with you. My sister experienced that personally, and became a Clinton fan because of it.
As a result of reading this book, I’ve rethought my whole concept of networking, and may never choose to belong to a formal networking group again. One thing that Keith does is to throw great dinner parties to which he invites a small group of people to get to introduce them to each other and as a way to get to know some of them better.
Now, that sounds like a lot more fun that standing around a room eating stale munchies and trying to forge a fake conversation over a very bad glass of wine, doesn’t it?
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.