“Everyone has the capacity to be a connector,” says Keith Ferrazzi. In his book Never Eat Alone Ferrazzi talks about how to use the power of relationships to succeed. Far from the “crude, desperate glad-handling usually associated with ‘networking’,” Ferrazzi operates on another level – one that’s based on mutually beneficial relationships, and generosity. It comes down to the fact that success, particularly in a business sense, is about working with people.
Ferrazzi operates by three principles:
- Don’t keep score – tit for tat; it’s not just about you. Making connections can be mutually beneficial.
- ‘Ping’ constantly – reach out to people at every chance you get. It’s not just about using your contacts when it best suits you, or when you need something.
- Never eat alone – invisibility is a fate worse than failure.
A new app, ‘Never eat alone’, champions this approach, by allowing employees to meet each other over lunch. It helps break down silos between departments, and encourages connections and the generation of knowledge beyond just one patch of a business. Companies are using it to improve their overall culture, and to make things more interesting for their employees.
People are often talking about the health benefits of eating with other people, and this just takes it a logical step further, into the workplace. In the home environment, family dinners help build relationships, and kids do better in school. But sadly, in the US, it’s a dying habit. The majority of American families report eating a meal together less than five days a week. Instead, people are eating in their cars (one in five meals) and eating fast food (one in four eat it every day).
What they’re missing is time together. “The dinner table can act as a unifier, a place of community. Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and talk, one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work and take time out of their day,” says Cody C. Delistraty on The Atlantic. The same applies in the workplace. Sharing a meal provides an opportunity to make a connection, where creativity can thrive.