“You could ask any accomplished CEO or entrepreneur or professional how they achieved their success, and I guarantee you will hear very little business jargon. What you will mostly hear about are the people who helped pave their way, if they’re honest and not too caught up in their own success,” writes Keith Ferrazzi.
Lately, I’ve been going through my library to look back on — and to update — some important innovation influences. And I’m writing a series of book reviews using my C.H.E.M. Persuasion Model for communications effectiveness:
- Connect – to fit in their world, not try to disrupt it
- Honestly – utilize your best data, not distort it
- Easily – share information, not make it more difficult
- Motivate – to show customers how to take action, not demand it
Ferrazzi is the founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Green Light, a marketing and sales consulting company. He has been a contributor to Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. Earlier in his career, he was Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte Consulting and Starwood Hotels and Resort.
Ferrazzi says when we are building a web of relationships that helps build a career and a life with the help and support of friends, family, and associates. And it has some incredible virtues. Connecting, with the support flexibility and opportunities for self-development that come along with it, happens to make a great deal of sense in our new work world. The loyalty and security once offered by organizations can be provided by our own networks. Lifetime corporate employment is dead. We’re all free agents now, managing our careers across multiple jobs and companies. And because today’s primary currency is information, a wide-ranging network is one of the surest ways to become and remain thought leaders in our respective fields.
I could relate with Ferrazzi when he wrote about the audacity of networking. Like the author, nothing in my life has created opportunity like a willingness to ask. Whatever the situation. But I never wanted to make cold calls to executives, whether it was small, local businesses or large multinational biomedical companies.
But it simply comes down to balancing the fear I had of embarrassment against the fear of failure and its repercussions. That fear always could override my anxiety about rejection or being embarrassed. The choice between success and failure is between choosing risk and striving for greatness, or risking nothing and being certain of mediocrity.
So the author offers five points to make good on your commitment to network and getting more comfortable at being audacious in social situations.
- find a role model
- learn to speak
- get involved
- get therapy, if needed.
- just do it. Set a goal for yourself of initiating a meeting with one new person every week.
He tells the story of DeAnne Rosenberg, who was a career counselor and management consultant. Her encounters of the audacious kind helped her learn what successful careers are based on. She developed a script that she found helpful to overcome her fears in meeting someone for the first time. One, state the situation. Two, communicate your feelings. Three, deliver the bottom line. Four, ask an open-ended question.
Now, the whole premise of this book comes down to connecting with people who might be called “influential” in your career or business area. You might also concentrate on people who are already part of your existing network, and expand from there. Take the time to list people such as:
- Friends of relatives
- All your spouse’s relatives
- Current colleagues
- Members of professional and social organizations
- Current and former customers and clients
- Parents of your children’s friends
- Neighbors past and present
- People you went to school with
- People you have worked with in the past
- People in your religious congregation
- Former teachers and employees
- People you socialize with
- People who provide services to you
- Even people who might be ranked in articles of most influential, most admired, most progressive, 40 under 40, etc.
Now, thinking about never eating alone requires some creativity and flexibility. Here are some things that I like to do.
- 15 minutes and a cup of coffee. It’s quick, it’s out of the office, and it’s a great way to meet someone new.
- Conferences. If I’m attending a conference in, say, Seattle, I’ll pull out a list of people in the area I know or would like to know better, and see if I might drop by for a particular interesting keynote or dinner.
- invite someone to share a workout or a hobby. You might invite them to golf, chess, stamp collecting, book clubs, etc.
- A quick, early breakfast, lunch, drink after work, dinner together. There’s nothing like food to break the ice.
- Invite someone to a special event. For me, a special event such as the theater, a book signing party, or a concert, is made even more special if I bring along a few people who I think might particularly enjoy the occasion.
- Entertain at home. I do dinner parties at home. I like to make these events as intimate as possible. To ensure they stay that way, I generally only invite one or two people I don’t know well. By dinner’s end, I want those people leaving my home feeling as if they’ve met a whole new set of friends, and that’s hard to do if a dinner is filled with nothing but strangers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this book review and summary using my C.H.E.M. Persuasion Model outline. I welcome your comments, feedback, and experiences to share.