Back in 2020, UpHabit reviewed Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone”, a modern classic on relationship management and networking. Published in 2005, it had quickly become a bestseller. Seventeen years down the road, the lessons Ferrazzi laid out have only become more valuable as the explosion of social media and digital networking have transformed the way we interact and collaborate.

In our initial blog, we highlighted some of the essential lessons that provided our readers with the building blocks to a successful network and community. Some of these included:

  • Being a connector is not about managing transactions, but about managing relationships
  • Real networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful
  • Connecting is a constant process of giving and receiving
  • Those who are best at reaching out to others don’t network, they make friends.

Following our exploration of Robin Dunbar’s 5-15-50-150 and how to leverage it to better manage your relationships, we take a deeper dive into “Never Eat Alone” and its lessons on user categorization.

Building by Pinging

As Ferrazzi highlights, “80% of building and maintaining relationships is just staying in touch.” This makes sense – we feel valued and important when someone takes the time and effort to reach out and check in. And as Ferrazzi explains, staying in touch doesn’t require daily calls or long emails. Instead, he recommends ‘pinging’: reaching out with a quick call, short email, or simple text. By increasing the frequency of these ‘pings’, you’re able to build stronger relationships, faster.

However, to keep up with all your relationships and pings, you have to be dedicated and “on your game 24/7, 365 days a year.” Organization, and as we discussed in our previous blog on social circles, understanding what we can manage effectively becomes critical. By setting up a system that works for you, you’ll build stronger connections while saving time.

Prioritize and Repeat

In his novel, Ferrazzi offers a four-step approach to doing just that. Unlike Dunbar’s 5-15-50-150, this strategy focuses on why we are connected to someone, and not how close we are to them. In fact, Ferrazzi focuses on actively building up new relationships to bring them closer to his inner circle. His system can be broken down into a couple of simple steps (hint: UpHabit can make it even easier 😉).

  1. Categorize by relationship type
    • Personal
    • Customers
    • Prospects
    • Important Business Associates
    • Aspirational Contacts
  2. Note how often you want to ‘ping’ each contact
    • 1 – new relationships you want to solidify
      • Monthly Pings
    • 2 – strong contacts that you want to touch base with occasionally
      • Quarterly Pings
    • 3 – fringe contacts that you are unable to devote plenty of time to
      • Yearly Ping
  3. Keep tagged lists for each category and reference them often
    • Create lists for each category (Personal, Customers, etc.) with ping frequency noted
    • Allows for easy reference when pinging

Back in 2005, Ferrazzi had limited availability of digital tools to help him. Since then, personal CRM’s, such as UpHabit, have emerged to simplify that process even more. Much like we broke down an effortless process to utilize Dunbar’s 5-15-50-150, UpHabit has also created a way to implement Ferrazzi’s system into your own workflow.

Step 1: Create your Categories

Ferrazzi focuses on two factors: type of relationship and ping frequency. Using a digital tool like Excel, you can take a master list of your address book and organize each individual by these two factors. Your close friends may receive both a “Personal” and “1”, while someone you met at an industry conference may get “Prospect” and “3”. UpHabit recommends using easily identifiable tags to organize by relationship type:

  • Personal
  • Customers
  • Prospects
  • Important Business Associates
  • Aspirational Contacts

and by ping frequency:

  1. – Monthly
  2. – Quarterly
  3. – Yearly

Step 2: Tag your contacts and set Reminders

With a well-organized master list of categorized contacts, you can now utilize the power of UpHabit to tag and manage them. UpHabit Tags will allow you to sort and search your contacts, fully leveraging the approach Ferrazzi outlined in “Never Eat Alone”. While doing so, you can also use UpHabit Reminders to help you manage pinging and stay accountable to each type of contact. So you can create 8 tags in UpHabit:

  • Personal
  • Customers
  • Prospects
  • Important Business Associates
  • Aspirational Contacts
  • “1 – Monthly”
  • “2 – Quarterly”
  • “3 – Yearly”

In UpHabit, we recommend setting the quick reminders under Settings → General Preferences as 1M, 3M, and 1Y, to make it as easy as possible for you.

Step 3: Follow up and Reflect

As Ferrazzi highlights throughout his bestseller, connecting is a constant process. We can’t simply add someone to our contact list and expect them to be a valuable part of our community. Leveraging the tags and reminders outlined above can ensure you continue to follow up and develop your relationships.

Yet, just going through the above steps, tagging and pinging, won’t help in the long run. Our social circles are fluid; our categories should be just as fluid. Individuals may start as Aspirational Contacts but end up as Personal contacts, while Important Business Associates may become Customers. Thus, reflecting on your connections at regular intervals is critical to maintaining a strong social circle. Not only will it help your emotional and mental wellbeing, but it will also make sure you are always dedicated to your relationships.

Much like Dunbar’s 5-15-50-150 and the various other contact management strategies we have highlighted, Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” and its lessons are another valuable tool for any networker, business professional, or Super Connector. They help us reflect upon our relationships and understand how to organize, manage, and stay committed to all of them. Combined with the easy-to-use features found on UpHabit, this strategy can simplify your busy lives and help you build better communities.

About UpHabit

UpHabit is an easy-to-use app that takes the heavy lifting out of reaching out, following up, and building an effective professional network. Build a stronger network with UpHabit, an app for Thoughtful Super Connectors! Download now on iOS, Android, and MacOS. Available as a web app too.

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