For the past several months I’ve though of myself as student of social networking. The reasons I chosen to spend the time an effort to learn and practice this skill has to do with transitioning careers and wanting connect socially. So I read several books of the subject. One of them was Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone.
The story appealed to me of because Keith and I both attended Yale. He as an undergrad and I as a grad. But we also shared, not at the same time nor have we ever met, some of the awe of what Yale is about.
The other reason I read his book is because he is so intentional about implementing his strategy. That’s another feature we share – for me the plan comes first. The following is excerpt from an article written by Tahl Raz is a reporter at Inc.
My question to you – Does being so intentional take away from authentic relationships?
Rule 1: Don’t network just to network.
“If your aspirations lie with the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me,” he says, “that is, if your aspirations are to be one of the top x people in the world in whatever you do, if you’re so bold as to want to be president of the United States or a respected CEO in the Fortune 500, I would argue that you won’t get there by knowing a lot of middle-level people.” You need to know the right people, for the right reason.
Rule 2: Take names.
I’m constantly ripping out lists in magazines
Interestingly enough, I had been ripping out 40-under-40 lists for years and continue to do so. Those are individuals who somebody has spent enough time to identify as an up-and-comer, a mover, an intellectual, and these are the kinds of people I want to surround myself with. I rip out lists of top CEOs, most admired CEOs, regional lists. A recent book by Richard Saul Wurman lists the 1,000 most creative people in the United States. It’s fantastic.
Rule 3: Build it before you need it.
You build your network before you need it,” says Ferrazzi. “When someone comes to me for advice on how to build a network because they need a job now, I tell them it’s useless. People can tell the difference between desperation and an earnest attempt to create a relationship.”
Rule 4: Never eat alone.
The dynamics of status in a business network are similar to those in Hollywood: invisibility is a fate worse than failure. Above all, never, ever disappear. “Keep your social and conference and event calendar full,” Ferrazzi tells me. “I give myself one night a week for myself, and the rest is an event or dinner.”
Rule 5: Be interesting.
Perception drives reality and that we are all, in some sense, brands. All his choices — his Prada suits, his conversational style, his hobbies — help him fashion a distinctive identity that is both interesting and attractive. And the cornerstone that supports the design of a person, he instructs, is content. “Being known is one thing, but being known for content is something else entirely — and much better,” he says. “You have to have something to say to be interesting to people.”
Rule 6: Manage the gatekeeper. Artfully
When you don’t know someone, the first concept is getting past the secretary,” he says. “So Johnson’s secretary says, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Johnson is traveling, he’s traveling all month.’ And I say, ‘That’s OK. Why don’t you tell him a friend of Jane Pemberton’s called? Tell him to call me back if he has some time.’ I didn’t push.
That puts her on the defensive. Now she thinks that she’s been a dick to a personal friend of a friend of her boss. She backs off, and I make a proposition: ‘Why don’t I just send Michael an E-mail? What’s his E-mail address?’ And at this point she thinks, ‘I want to be out of the middle of this thing.’ She gives me the E-mail address. “The E-mail is simple: ‘Dear Michael, I’m a friend of Jane’s, and she suggested I talk with you. Fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee is fine. Jane thinks we should know each other.’ I get a cordial ‘Of course we can’ response. “So now I go back to the secretary with the ‘Of course we can.’ Now it’s not if, but when, we’ll meet. Now it’s ‘Michael would like to set up this meeting, just let me know when.’ And finally it happens.”
Rule7: Always ask.
Audacity was often the only thing that separated two equally talented men and their job titles
Rule 8: Don’t Keep Score.
Successful networking is never about simply getting what you want. It’s about getting what you want and making sure that people who are important to you get what they want, too. Often, that means fixing up people with one another. “It’s about a personal connection that makes you feel a sense of reciprocity,” Ferrazzi says. “Superficiality is not networking. There are people who have lots of superficial connections, and people call that networking. But that’s not successful. You feel dirty when you talk to someone like that. The outcome of good networking is the capacity to have a conversation with anyone you want to have a conversation with and then to leave that conversation with a lasting connection of some sort.”
Rule 9: Ping constantly.
Eighty percent of success, Woody Allen once said, is just showing up. Eighty percent of networking is just staying in touch. Ferrazzi calls it “pinging.” It’s a quick, casual greeting.
Rule 10: Find anchor tenants. Feed them.
“You, me, every one of us — we have our peer set, and we can always have dinner parties with our peer set, but if you keep having dinner parties with your peer set, why would somebody two levels above your peer set ever come to your dinner parties?” he asks. “The point is, you don’t randomly invite somebody two levels above your peer set to your dinner and expect them to come, because they won’t. They want to hang around people of their peer set or higher. This is a crass way of talking about it, but this is the formula.”
So Ferrazzi developed his theory of the anchor tenant. “What you do,” he says, “is find somebody in your peer set who has a friend who is two levels above — the big swinging dick of the group, the anchor tenant. You get them to come and, in all invitations subsequent to that, you use the anchor to pull in people who otherwise wouldn’t attend.”
What about the manipulation, the gamesmanship, the using of people? Doesn’t he ever feel uncomfortable, like a phony?