As most of you who read this blog are avid networkers, it’s highly likely you are already familiar with Keith Ferrazzi. If you aren’t, however, I can tell you that if the dictionary had a photo to accompany the definition of “master networker,” the photo would be of Keith. He is absolutely the epitome of a master networker, and he has the most diverse group of contacts of anyone I’ve ever known.
Keith’s first book, Never Eat Alone, is a bestseller and the entire premise of the book is that networking over a meal is an absolutely amazing way to build rapport and trusted relationships with people. After I read it, I found myself constantly referring to it in conversation and recommending it to people because it really is true–something magical and companionable happens when people break bread together.
I wanted to share this video with you today because, in it, Keith talks about his own key strategies for hosting networking dinner parties, and I think the “dinner party tactic” is one that not a lot of networkers have dabbled with. I would love to see networkers around the world, both novice and seasoned, experience the amazing, relationship-building power that hosting a purposeful dinner party can have.
Keith believes that the strongest links have been forged at the table. Because of this, he has mastered the art of throwing a networking dinner party and, in his networking content, he consistently emphasizes the power that throwing a dinner party can have in creating memories and strengthening relationships. He is quick to mention, however, that if we continue to have dinner parties with the same people, our circle will never grow. His solution is to identify and invite “anchor tenants” to your party. These are people who are related to your core group but who know different people, have experienced different things, and thus have much to share. They tend to be the people who have had a positive influence on your friends’ lives. It’s akin to inviting the CEO to the manager’s table, as Ferrazzi says. Soon other executives will want to be there too.
I had the opportunity to experience one of Keith’s networking parties firsthand and the anchor guest that night was the legendary author Gore Vidal. Providing the entertainment was America’s oldest collegiate a capella group, the Whiffenpoofs of Yale. Clearly, not all of us will be able to get Gore Vidal and the Whiffenpoofs at our networking party, but I’m guessing that Keith didn’t have them at his first party either. However, the strategy is sound and I encourage you to try out the concept as a way of building your visibility in the community. Keith has paid close attention to how a meal can most appropriately be leveraged for a business networking opportunity; the primary focus should always be on developing the relationship–learning about each other, helping one another with problems, and giving ourselves.
I invite you to visit KeithFerrazzi.com to learn more about Keith, and I highly encourage you to check out his content on networking–it’s absolutely fantastic!