As an introvert in business, the word networking is enough to make my stomach turn. Meeting new people and exerting myself socially can be exhausting, and I seriously value my time alone.
But this book made me see things differently.
Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone is the key to creating successful, meaningful relationships that benefit your future, even as an introvert. Whether you’re in business or just searching for a way to be more intentional with your connections, Never Eat Alone is a must-read for introverts everywhere
Are You an Introvert? Read This!
When I read a book, I have 3 major phases of the reading process. I’ll walk you through how I experienced each stage while reading Never Eat Alone:
The Reading Stage
In this stage, I choose how I’m going to read the book. I’ve read Never Eat Alone every year since 2014, so for this re-read I listened to it on Audible! I turned it on while cooking, cleaning, or commuting to work since I am pretty familiar with the stories and tips.
I loved listening to this book on Audible since I had read the physical copy already. I could zero in on the major tips I wanted to absorb, but could multitask a bit when I was more familiar with the content.
The Download Stage
This is the stage where I write down all the things that excited me from the book. I make notes of everything I want to remember and write down the passages I want to reflect on.
My biggest takeaway from Never Eat Alone is the fact that networking doesn’t have to be a nasty word. When we think of networking, it sounds sleazy. It sounds like we’re peddling business cards and desperately waiting to get noticed by the right person. But that’s not what networking really is.
To network, and to network well, is to know what it means to be generous.
If you can master the art of generosity in a way that allows people to give back to you in the future, you’ve really found the key to successful, beneficial connections. But focus on that delivery first. Focus on bringing value before you seek to receive it.
This is something that really resonated with me as an introvert. Bringing value that creates a connection doesn’t have to be an exchange of business cards and an awkward handshake. There are ways you can bring value to people by simply reaching out, in person or online, and letting them know you’re there to help.
One of the forms of connection he mentions in the book is throwing dinner parties. Whether you want to get to know some business colleagues or you’re intermingling some new groups of friends, try hosting a dinner party for yourself! I love the feeling of hosting friends in my home and being able to provide a space for those meaningful connections to be made.
The Execution Stage
The final stage of my reading process is when I choose a key piece of advice that really stuck with me from the book, and I make a plan for how I’m going to take action on it.
Because of Never Eat Alone, I’ve started building out a daily socialite plan. I make a point to reach out to certain people strategically every single day to let them know they’re on my mind or see if there’s anything I can help them with. I stay connected to my community through social media. I write thank-you notes and put them in the mail. Instead of trying to keep up with a mess of DMs and hoping I don’t forget anyone’s birthdays, I have an organized process for nurturing the relationships that matter.
Something Keith emphasizes, though, is the follow-up. It’s not enough to start the conversation one day and let it die the next. Keep up with your connections. Follow up occasionally. You don’t have to talk to someone every single day for them to know who you are, but you do have to be a familiar face.
If you’re a fellow introvert, or you’re just looking to get more out of the relationships in your life, give Never Eat Alone a try. Keith will transform your perspective on connections, both inside and outside of business.
QOTD: What does ‘networking’ really mean to you?