Why International Lawyers Should Never Eat Alone

Master networker and connector Keith Ferrazzi has written an idea-laden book called Never Eat Alone:  And Other Secrets of Success, One Relationship at a Time.  To paraphrase Ferrazzi’s definition, networking is really just connecting: sharing knowledge and resources, time and energy, friends and associates, and empathy and compassion in a continual effort to provide value to others [emphasis added], while coincidentally increasing value to self.

Ferrazzi makes all of this relationship building sound very simple–albeit a bit overwhelming unless you have boundless energy.  (Even a big extravert like me was a tad daunted.) However, the book shares many good ideas about making meaningful connections with people in a short amount of time, and staying in touch thereafter.

Which gets me to the title of this post:  why international lawyers should never eat alone.  As Ferrazzi explains time and time again, meaningful connections can be made in short amounts of time, but these connections must be maintained, not forgotten. Further, every opportunity for in person contact is invaluable and should be used fully.  Because international lawyers are often geographically distant from their clients (and potential clients), the international lawyer should make every second in the presence of a client count. 

So, when abroad, never eat alone.  (According to Ferrazzi, never exercise alone, either.)  This may be a lawyer’s rare opportunity for powerful face to face contact with a usually distant client.  It will be easier for an international attorney to stay connected to a client across the miles once close bonds have been forged in person. And, as we know, many other cultures make a close relationships a prerequisites to doing business together.

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