Never Eat Alone: 5 Key lessons from the most famous book on networking

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Your network is your net worth.

Most people have heard the above quotes at some time in their career. If you went to college or university, they preached this stuff whenever they had a networking event going on. To move up the corporate ladder, you need to be connected to the right people. To scale your business it helps a lot to know the best sales people, investors, and those who can advise you. To find the right job and grow in your career, it helps to have the right mentor. In general, you can learn so much more in life just by getting to know more people and exchanging value with one another.

….. So how do you network? How do you get to know people whom you can learn from and exchange value?

Never Eat Alone is a New York Times best selling book about networking. Even beyond that, it’s about building long-lasting personal relationships in life where everybody gets value and everybody wins. It’s about establishing the right mindset and taking the real steps towards building a strong network that creates success. Here we’re going to look at 5 key lessons from the book.

Have a mission that you’re passionate about

People love passion. They’re drawn to it because it’s so incredibly exciting and exhilarating! When you do something you’re passionate about, work becomes play. You’ll love to work, produce, and add value to the world. But passion doesn’t just come out of thin air; it’s not this random light bulb that dings above our head. Passion comes from having a mission.

Have you ever listened to a presentation from Steve Jobs? He loved giving Apple products to the world. He got people excited and engaged. People loved him without having ever met him. Having a mission inspires people and when you inspire someone, they’ll get just as excited to be a part of your mission as you are.

Connect with people through the passions that drive your mission.

Human psychology is powerful

Human psychology is perhaps one of the most powerful and rewarding areas of knowledge that one can possess. Every decision and action that people take is driven by human psychology. It’s so so important to know how people’s brains and emotions work so that you can truly understand why they make certain choices or do certain things.

When looking to hire someone for a job or to partake in a business venture, people will hire whom they like first and who’s most qualified second. They go with someone whom they can trust. This is because although we try our best to make rational and logical decisions, humans are still naturally emotionally creatures. We’re still swayed by love and fear. Think about who your current friends are: they’re probably people you like because you have common interests and values.

So when you want to connect with someone new, put yourself in their shoes. What are their likes and dislikes? What passions drive them to do what they do? What do they want? By reaching out to people through their emotional drivers we establish deeper, more personal connections that build stronger relationships for everyone.

Always add value

Everyone wants to do well and to be successful. When you’re connecting with someone new, their first thought isn’t how they can help you, but how you can help them. When a potential employer is interviewing you, they’re not thinking “Hey I’d love to pay this person a full time salary so they can buy new shoes”; they’re thinking “If I hire this person, will they provide me with enough value to make a profit?”

They key to building strong relationships is to give give give. When you give people value they see that being connected with you is good for them and their success. And it’s not you doing all the work. Going back to human psychology, we naturally have a sense of fairness and reciprocation. When someone does us a favor, we feel obligated to be fair and do them a favor in return. By doing that everyone is giving each other value. Nobody is really losing anything because everyone is helping each other; when everyone gives, everyone wins. We as a network all grow successful together.

The takeaway here is to find out what the person you’re trying to connect with values and then try and give them that value in the best way you can.

Be there. Show up. Get involved.

Who do you notice has the biggest online following? Who knows the most people? Who is the networking guru? It’s the person that always puts in the effort and shows up.

Go to meetups, conferences, and events. You’ll meet a ton of new people and learn a lot. It really gets your name out there too.

Give a talk at one of those events! That’s a supercharged way to get noticed and get some feedback on what you had to say so you can learn.

Like and comment on people’s LinkedIn posts, if you liked them! People love hearing feedback and in general like to actually see that you listened to what they had to say. Going back again to human psychology, people like to feel important and naturally people feel connected to and like whomever makes them feel good like that.

Be that person that everyone wants to be connected to.

Share your passions through your personal brand

There are many “closet experts” in the world. People whom are really good and doing awesome things, but nobody knows about them! If you want to connect with people and give the best possible value, people need to first know who you are! Help people get to know you by building up your personal brand.

Show the world what you’re all about. Give the world value through your passions, skills, and personal brand. Maybe you’re awesome at coding? Great! post that code online and demonstrate to people that it works. Do you love to write? Prove it through blogging or publishing an e-book. If no one knows about you, they’ll never really know if you’re good, or if you can add any value.

You’ve got to build your personal brand and then broadcast it. People should know that you’re offering them value right away. Use Quora, blogs, LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, YouTube whatever. Just get your name out there so people can be aware of the value you have to offer. You can have all the skills in the world and if no one knows about it, it doesn’t matter!

You’ll also give yourself some amazing credibility this way too. Back to our human psychology, people will listen to what you have to say more if you have social proof i.e the credibility of the crowd. Why do people buy things from the best sellers list on Amazon? Well because other people bought it, so it must be at least pretty good if other people have bought it and given good reviews. If you have a big following online or have a large network, people will pay attention to you because they have the social proof from others that says hey, this person’s good. That’s powerful.

Tying things off

There you have it! 5 Key lessons from the #1 book on networking Never Eat Alone. I’d highly recommend you give it a read! It’ll help you build deep and rewarding personal relationships, all along your journey to career success. Check out this link to the book on Amazon.

Mmmmm muffins!

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 295,232+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.