Immediately following his opening remarks on the value of building deep and powerful relationships, Keith turned it around and asked the audience to spend five minutes introducing ourselves to someone we don't know sitting around us.
This was a fascinating excercise that introduced me to a very cool person I would have otherwise sat next to for the entire talk and never ended up knowing and highlighted the point: how many potential relationships do we miss out on for lack of our own initiative to introduce ourselves to the people we are surrounded by?
Keith then asked: how many people in our lives would we like to know better, but feel intimidated by ... for whatever reason we find them somehow unapproachable? And on the other side ... how often are WE that 'unapproachable' person to someone else?
Taking a risk means reaching out and sharing something personal and intimate - and chancing rejection. But there is a far greater risk in cocooning oneself into the familiar and routine - depriving ourselves of the rich web of connections that lie one or two degrees of seperation from our immediate circle of friends and family.
After his talk, Keith invited us along with Stanford's Out 4 Biz group for dinner in Palo Alto where we had a blast sharing stories and listened as people discussed their post-MBA plans.
I am at this point about 85% recovered from the illness that was kicking my ass earlier and must prepare for lunch with kenshi so I leave you with pictures from the event:
Keith, waiting to speak ...
Rainbow Chen, introducing Keith Ferrazzi
"Have you met the last person you'd ever want to know?
The Restaurant at the end of University
Great food, great company ...
PS: Keith's new book, Never Eat Alone is out in print, and crystalizes many of the principles of building powerful and lasting business relationships discussed in my original journal entry.