When I was a sophomore in college I started thinking seriously about my career. I didn’t know what I wanted to do nor how to go about figuring it out.
It was at this point that I stumbled on Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Never Eat Alone. It taught me how to build meaningful professional relationships. It gave me confidence to reach out to people I found intimidating. It helped me develop critical skills to grow my network. The book was a tremendous help as I launched my career.
A few days back I heard Keith speak at an HR conference. While he presented, I thought about the impact Never Eat Alone had on me when I read it over a decade ago. It remains the most practical book I’ve read on developing professional relationships. Here are my favorite lessons:
Build your network before you need it. The best networking isn’t networking at all. Your goal should be to build relationships. Those connections are what’s going to make a real difference in your life and career.
Don’t Keep Score. Truly connecting with others is a constant process of giving and receiving—of asking for and offering help. You’ve got to be willing to be generous, and accept the generosity of others, without keeping tally.
Be Audacious. Nothing will create more opportunity in life than a willingness to step up and ask for what you need. It’s that simple. Push beyond what you think is “allowed” and you’ll often find that people are eager to help.
I’m grateful for Keith Ferrazzi and Never Eat Alone.