The Help Me Help You Dinner (STOLEN*)

Eat. Help. Make Friends.

An amazing way to network and make friends
* This is a re-posting of an article that was lost once the domain on which it was hosted expired and was taken over by what seems to be a spammer. The article was written by Niclas Fritz and Daniel G. Siegel, based on the original idea by Rand Fishkin.
It’s valuable, and would otherwise be lost forever, so here you go:

UPDATE: On Oct 11, 2016 Daniel Siegel sent a note via Twitter that his “Help Me Help You” page is back up, right here.

The Help Me Help You Dinner is an amazing way to get help and fresh, out of the box opinions, from a trusted network. The only requirement beyond having a great meal with a small group of people is to:

  • Share something you need help with
  • Offer advice and assistance if you can help someone else at the dinner
  • Share one way you can help others

How to organize a dinner

Step 1 Find 10–12 people in your geographic region who are first or second degree connections on LinkedIn, Xing or your personal network. Look for individuals that fulfill two qualities: You’re fairly sure you can help them in some way and you think they could be helpful to you today or in the future.

Step 2 Find an easy to reach restaurant that suits your budget and has a reasonably quiet section. Specify a time and date, rather than trying to sort out other people’s schedules. Usually Tuesdays or Wednesdays around 8pm work best.

Step 3 Send out a personal invitation to the dinner about 2–3 weeks in advance that looks similar to this:

Hey name,
we’re putting together a dinner for a dozen of us focusing on dinner topic and we’d really love to have you come join. There’s no obligation, no sales pitch, no requirement beyond asking that we have a great meal together, talk about what’s working and not in our professional lives and at one point during the night, go around the table to each individually and do these three things:
Share something you need help with
Offer advice and assistance if you can help someone else at the dinner
Share one way you can help others
The meal is our treat, and we’ll do it on date and time, at
dinner location
The group will be mostly other dinner topic professionals, some of whom you’ll probably know. If you have someone you think we should definitely invite, let us know! Please do RSVP till date so we can get a head count.
Hope all is going well with you and hope to see you there!
Sincerely, your names

Step 4 Work way harder on helping everyone with their problems than getting help with yours. The dinner is not about getting other people’s help. It’s about helping other people and, in return, seeing amazing serendipity develop. The future favors positive karma and that is what matters tonight.

Step 5 The day after, send an email with everybody’s contact details to all participants of the dinner. Optionally propose the creation of a mailing list where participants can reach out for things they need help with and things they can offer.

What other people say

Mohamed Ayman, Co-Founder Teamin.com

“ Loved it! Different perspectives, one goal: To help each other!

Mike Reiner, Managing Director Startup Wise Guys

“ Great initiative! I met some really interesting people, the pizzas were delicious though way too big and atmosphere was fun!

Philipp J. Pamer, Writer and Director Remulus Film

“ Meeting for dinner with strangers? Starting with very traditional table talks I became thrilled to get in contact with a fistful of young entrepreneurs — each one an expert on his field. No better way to network, then in a comfy atmosphere with some food and drinks.

Vision

Even after several dinners, it is hard to explain the unique atmosphere which develops when amazing people full of great ideas come together and have inspiring conversations. We hope to inspire you and to provide you with a tool to reach and help people that could help you with your career, company and your life.

If you are interested to host your own dinner (and need help) or want to sponsor a dinner feel free to contact Niclas Fritz and Daniel G. Siegel. Please also write us if you want to share your own experiences, thoughts and improvements!

We also want to give a special thanks to Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz and Inbound.org, who inspired us to do the first dinners with his blog post.

Mark Gavagan, who re-posted (salvaged?) this article, is @mgav on Twitter.