This week I finished reading Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferazzi’s book on professional networking.
There are some people who seem to be naturally adept at making connections with others; I’m not one of them. However, I personally feel that networking is totally a learned skill just like singing or playing an instrument. If you can find the courage to get up on stage in front of strangers and play a song you wrote, you can learn how to network effectively.
One of my big takeaways from Ferazzi’s book is the belief in the power of audacity, and how the simple act of daring to reach out to influential people can set good things in motion. The benefits of finding mentors in addition to being a mentor to others also take center stage here. Underlying it all is the fundamental belief that the more you help others, the more likely you are to find help for your own endeavors. Rock on.
Ferazzi outlines some of his personal tricks of the trade (I particularly liked his ideas on “cold calls” and the art of “pinging”), but Never Eat Alone isn’t so much a how-to as a “how I do it” book.
I have no desire to become an extreme extrovert or the stereotypical “industry” guy, constantly yammering into his headset phone even as the plane leaves the runway. Still, I enjoyed this book and found some solid ideas to incorporate into my own approach to reaching out to folks.