Never Eat Alone: 4 Networking Tips

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I’m always telling people about how Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is my favourite business book. It made me cry (not sure if that’s a normal reaction). It was a gift from my best friend senior year of college. Ferrazzi put into words exactly what I had on my mind, but didn’t know how to say at the time. He validated the way I feel about networking and relationships.

Here are a few beautiful lessons I’ve learned from that book, and just from living. I hope they’re insightful or relatable for you.

Give to others without expecting something in return. Give your time and talent. Help connect people, teach someone, give someone a recommendation or advice. Don’t ask, “What will this action deliver me in return?” as a condition of choosing to help someone. Give selflessly, and your life will be richer. I swear by this tip.

Never attend a “networking” event. Every event is a networking event. In fact, life is one big networking event. I love Ferrazzi’s approach to networking as a lifestyle and I’ve tried to adopt this same attitude.

Understand and ‘see’ relationships. I refer to this as my “online stalking tip.” The internet has A LOT of information (if you haven’t figured that out by now) so use it to your advantage. Understand how people are connected. Research what they do, learn their story and see who their friends are. Be driven by relationships before and after meeting new people.

Be genuine and interested. Gosh this one is important. If you are hitting on tips 1-3 and mucking up this one you could get in trouble. I would give you the advice of ‘fake it till you make it,’ but I’m not sure if that applies here. Please be genuine in all that you do. It will help your relationships thrive.

Have you read Never Eat Alone? What advice would you add to this list?


4 thoughts on “Never Eat Alone: 4 Networking Tips

  1. This book (and Networking Awesomely, by Colin Wright) basically summed up my networking approach. Go in it for people first, business second. I felt that some of the stuff in Never Eat Alone was a bit aggressive and icky, but it was still one of my fav books I read last year.

    Have you read his follow up book, Whose got your back? I’m about half way through it and it’s pretty solid, although not the same type of info. 🙂

    1. Nice — I’ll have to check that one out.

      It’s interesting that you found Never Eat Alone aggressive. I thought just the opposite. I wonder if it’s a cultural thing. Overly zealous Americans!

      I did read Whose Got your Back. I liked it, but didn’t enjoy it as much.

  2. Hey Hannah great piece, will definitely check out the book. I feel like networking has become a bit dirty and people are too aggressive in trying to scope you out to see what you can do for them…the whole “so what do you do” line comes up too quickly. I like the whole relationship thing, I guess what goes around comes around. Keep up the great work with the Fetch Hannah!

  3. Hannah,

    Great piece on one of my favorite business books of all times, Never Eat Alone. I especially enjoyed your emphasis on the importance of being genuine and interested in the person you are trying to connect with. There is no easier way to screw up what could be a life-long connection into something slimey and greasy than “pretending” to be interested in what the other person’s story is.

    Check out this article by another one of my heroes, Seth Godin on Ted Talk Imperatives, which is just as applicable to networking!

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