Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Audio interview: Best-selling author Keith Ferrazzi tells Dallasites how to be better at everything
Hint: It's not about going to more cocktail parties or handing out business cards.
I've spoken with Keith before –- in fact, it was only a few months ago that we chatted for nearly an hour while he bustled through the LA airport, shaking hands with people he happened to know on the way. Keith is famous for his ability to network and has counseled tons of top executives at some of the world's most successful companies.
But his tune was considerably different from when we last spoke, when he then touted hardcore business tactics to get ahead, build trust in others, and (if you do it right) rule your own kingdom. Today's Keith, though still snappily dressed and professional, was a softer version of his former self. He spoke with me about building “lifeline relationships” and confided in the audience that he still hasn't figured out the “relationships thing” in his personal life.
Quotable notes from Keith's speech
*In being relatable: “You've gotta give a damn about the people around you. How dare we not care?”
*In being off-the-cuff: “Be reckless in giving advice. If they don't take your advice, that's OK. But put it out there."
*In being genuine: “Why not take a staff meeting and turn it into a successful support group?”
He tells me, “No matter how broad your network is, your relationships with two or three individuals who 'have your back' are way more important.” In some parts of his speech, presented at Richland College, I thought he might tear up after talking about his Aunt Rose and showing photos of his Italian immigrant father –- a serious departure from his normal analogies, which generally related to billionaires and their billion-dollar enterprises.
He says it well: “I felt like I was drowning in a pool at a cocktail party, and no one noticed or cared.” Time to scrap the martini-in-one-hand, business-card-in-the-other and build some genuine relationships.
Listen to the audio interview to hear about what you, in Dallas, can do to be a better anything –- a mom, a business person, or anything else, for that matter.
Find a few people to confide in. Keith had the group turn to their neighbor and share a few intimate things: First, their huge goal in life. Then, their greatest weakness. Both are deeply important to us, yet we rarely communicate those things to the people we most love, Keith says.
After sharing those two things, one man in the audience named Ben admits this: “I'm sitting next to a perfect stranger, and I'm telling her stuff that sometimes I don't even tell my family,” he says.
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