These are top tips for maximising all your connections, says Iain Lang

In Never Eat Alone, author Keith Ferrazzi argues that who we know is all important. But connections should not be merely instrumental, and we build genuine connections not by trying to benefit from them but by enabling other people to benefit from us.

Ferrazzi recommends using your existing network of connections as a way of reaching out to their networks - “Everyone from your family to your mailman is a portal” - and instructs us on how to do this without becoming “the networking jerk”: don’t schmooze, have something to offer, be transparent, treat those under you well (because some day they might be above you).

Ferrazzi’s hall of fame profiles provide examples of great connectors.

Some of what the author suggests is perhaps not transferable to a UK non-profit setting. He tells us that “golf, among all sports, remains the true hub of America’s business elite” but the days of consultant posts being parcelled out on the golf course are probably gone (if they ever existed).

Key to the attractiveness of the book is Ferrazzi’s passion for his subject and his drive to get out there and do it. All the same, if the thought of building and broadcasting “brand You” as a way of selling yourself and getting on in the world makes your teeth ache then you may struggle with this book. The chapter titles sum up the general approach: Follow up or fail; Be a conference commando; Be interesting.

Dr Iain Lang is a consultant in public health at NHS Devon and honorary senior lecturer in public health for NIHR PenCLAHRC.

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