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Submitted by madamos on


I just finished reading this book. I found the general concepts to be good and reinforces the need to build a network. Some very close parallels to Mark's reccomendations for building a network.

What I didn't like about the book was how over the top some of his tips seemed to be. All of his examples on the value of networking were from his later days after he had build his huge network. Networking with top CEO's and the like is a great tale, but what is missing is how I can go from where I am now (mostly network contacts in my company) to a broader network. All that detail is missing. Also Keith has a great advantage of running a business or consulting, giving him an advantage in meeting a lot of people.

It would be great to have more practical advice for building a good network for people who don't have contact with customers (engineers, IT staff, Customer Support reps). It seems all the great advice on networking will work best if you are in consulting or sales.

Overall a good read that provides some useful tips and reinforces the importance of building your network.

jhack's picture

Have you listened to M&M's networking podcast? May 9, 2006.


madamos's picture
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I have listened to the podcast (several times in fact). Where I stumble most is continuing to provide value to the person in my network. For those inside my company, I talk to them on a regular basis about day to day life when I pass them in the hall, in the break room, waiting for the elevator...

But for the contacts outside the company I stumble on really making it into a relationship and providing value to the other person.


regas14's picture
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I'm right there with you Amos.

How many times can I call just to say hello?

How often can I call and talk about my contact's company performance and stock price movement?

How many notes can I send that basically tell the person how things are going for me and asking them for a little update on their life and work?

I feel like the busiest people in my network will find contacts like the above a nuisance. Rather than a friendly gesture or an open invitation to derive value from me in some way I'm afraid people in my network will see this as forced and insincere. So what do we do to actually add value?

Here are some of the things that I try to do regularly:

[b]Seek opportunities to offer congratulations[/b]
If I notice a positive report about the organization of one of my contacts or a cause that they are involved in I send a note of congratulations. I feel like congratulating someone will never offend them.

[b]Consider who among your contacts would be interested in what you're reading or listening to.[/b]
When I'm reading books, magazines, blogs and other things I try to think about who else in my network might like to read this. Additionally the development of my network is also helping to shape the kinds of things I read and the information I seek out such that the intersection of the two should increase with time.

[b]Refer potential employees to members of your network.[/b]
If you're like me, it seems very easy to build and maintain your network of people who are relatively less-experienced or younger. Those people can be great referrals to the right company. That's how I've landed in my current role and I know that my organization is glad to have found me, why wouldn't another organization be pleased to benefit from their network?

That's really all I've got. It's a real struggle for me to reach out to people unless there is an expected result from the communication (High D). I am usually focused on the task at hand and not on the relationship with people.

Others, please share some ideas for things that you've done as a good bridge of communication with members of your network.

WillDuke's picture
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I think Regas stole most my thunder. :)

Articles are probably the easiest. When you're reading something and you think, I'll bet Bob would like to see this then send it.

Congratulations on awards are awesome, but often hard to track. When you hit that 3-month mark you could do a little google work.

Mix it up, send them a joke. Send a recipe you liked. Tell them about a restaurant or wine that you enjoyed. Hit 'em up for a charitable donation. (Anyone want to adopt a duck? [url][/url])

How do you stay in touch with family members? The same techniques work. Just making the effort is what matters the most.

davefleet's picture

I do my best to learn little tidbits about my contacts' interests outside work, especially when they're things you have in common. Then, when I'm getting in touch with those contacts, I make sure to ask them about those topics.

For example, a couple of my outside contacts are big Arsenal (English football (sorry, soccer) team) fans, so I'll mention the latest happenings in that area when I touch base with them.

I find this to work for two reasons - first, they're interested and excited to respond, and secondly I'm not being disingenuous - I'm interested in those topics myself so I genuinely care about their thoughts.

corinag's picture

I don't know if you are familiar with Heidi Roizen. She is a Sillicon Valley venture capitalist who built the bulk of her career on her ability to build and maintain networks. Harvard Business Review actually has a case study on her, and that's how I learned about her existence, and her effective use of networks.

I think she is particularly salient to the issue of providing value to the network, continuously. It's rather hard to summarize how she does it, so reading about her may be a good idea.

Don't take this as a commercial pitch. I normally am not impressed by business cases, but this one really brought home the value and right approach to building networks even before I listened to Mark and Michael. The case is available for purchase at HBR, [url],

It's not a how to, however, just an example of how a real person achieved success by "never eating alone".

That being said, I gotta get out and get the Keith Ferrazzi book.

regas14's picture
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Here's an example I sent this morning to a contact from my MBA program. I sent similar messages to a few of my contacts.


I don't know if you have read the book Strategy Maps (I think I read it as one of the elective books in the MBA program) but I thought I would share this. I read the book and liked the theory and principles of how you represent and describe a strategy, but the process required to build strategy on a foundational and later tactical level is a bit more elusive. Although the author of this article (and co-author of the book Strategy Maps) says that this is not a strategy formulation tool, I think it helps one ask the appropriate questions.

I am working with this on a project level where the big-picture strategy is for my product and then I can develop the tactics for each of the strategic business units involved in supporting the over-arching strategy. There's a link to the short article and a PDF (4 pages meant to be laid out horizontally as a flow chart) attached.,1397,1375257,00.asp


Mark's picture
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In regards to GR's comment about how many times one can call just to say hello, I just counted.

For one of the people in my network, I have called 49 times over the last several years with no more on my mind than to say hello.

Relationship's still good, friendship's still strong. Haven't laid eyes on each other in years.

Unless you've done it a lot, don't assume you know it's wrong or that it won't work. Just because you THINK it will be awkward doesn't mean that it will be. And, even if it is awkward, but it works...what's this about: your comfort or the relationship?

In my experience, it works.

And you don't need fancy reasons to say hello. Just say hello. As the beginning of the movie Love Actually says, in Hugh Grant's voice-over, "when the planes hit the twin towers, all those messages left for people were messages of love, not of hate. I think if you look around, you'll see that love, actually, is...all around."


juliahhavener's picture
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I find I make a lot of calls, leave a number of voice mails, send a few emails, and get a lot of chatting. Sometimes it happens that I'm dealing with a problem the person on the other end can help with. It is almost never designed that way. Sometimes it happens that they have a problem I can help with. It is almost never designed that way.

And sometimes you wonder if it makes a difference - if they hear, if there's a reason you keep going forward with it. The answer is yes. I have an associate in my old location I think a great deal of. She travels extensively and works crazy hours. I leave her voicemail or an email just to check in. I usually get very short replies.

I found out exactly how far that goes this week when I spoke with one of her peers. This person knew who I was, what I did, where I was, about my family, my joys, my accomplishments...and I'd never met her. She knew because of that associate that I kept in touch with, regardless of her ability to keep in touch with me. I was very touched.