How to Become Friends with VIPs, Celebrities, and Famous Entrepreneurs: Lessons from Keith Ferrazzi

There’s a lot of worthless advice out there on how to build a network:

  • “10 Ways to Build Your Network on LinkedIn”
  • “How to #win at Your Next Networking Event”
  • “How to Score a Meeting with Any Famous Entrepreneur You Want!”

Here’s the inside scoop most other entrepreneurs won’t tell you: 99% of these articles are written by people who aren’t successful!

This makes me sad, because building relationships with VIPs, celebrities, and entrepreneurs can lead to a lot of great things:

  1. Lifelong friendships
  2. More connections to more successful people — building your “success network”
  3. Mentorship worth thousands (or millions) of dollars to your career over time

Over the years I’ve learned creating and maintaining relationships is a 🔑 to business success.

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Recently, I was lucky enough to connect and create a business and personal relationship with Keith Ferrazzi.

Keith is a master network builder who wrote a New York Times bestselling book on maintaining valuable relationships called Never Eat Alone.

Simply put, Keith is an absolute BOSS at building authentic relationships.

3 tips to connect with your idols (including famous entrepreneurs)

Keith recently invited me up to his house in the Hollywood Hills for one of his notoriously famous dinner parties, which lived up to all the hype and expectations.

Before the party started, we recorded an episode of Noah Kagan Presents.

We talked about building relationships, and everything that goes into building successful relationships.

Some of the key takeaways from our talk include:

  • Creating amazing lessons from bad experiences
  • Hosting the perfect dinner party
  • How to connect with anyone you want — including your idols or favorite celebs
  • Making a great first impression with guests
  • Keith’s signature cocktail (and its secret ingredient)
  • And a whole bunch more epicness…

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Below are three highlights from our conversation:

There Are Very Few Bad Choices

“Shit, should I really do this?”

After 7 YEARS of planning, and 200+ different emails, I was getting cold feet.

Should I really drop $1.5 million on a domain name?

I know what it’s like to feel unsure about making a decision — or wonder if I’m totally screwing up a choice. Buying for $1.5 million was one of my most difficult decisions to date.

But after a certain point of thinking, you just have to make your decision. Most of the energy we spend worrying about how our decision will turn out is wasted.

There are very few bad choices in life, it’s how you react to them which matters. And sometimes, what initially seems like a bad choice can actually be a blessing.

For example: Years ago, Keith Ferrazzi was Chief Marketing at Starwood Hotels.

Even though he was one of the youngest CMOs in the Fortune 500 at the time, he decided to leave the successful Starwood brand to run a tech startup.

The tech startup turned out to be underfunded and struggling to connect with consumers.

Keith recalled this time as the lowest in his professional career. Did he make the wrong choice?

Sure, it was difficult at the time. But, looking back, the tech startup empowered Keith to build great relationships with Michael Milken and successful entrepreneurs.

In both good and bad times, the relationships you build are extremely valuable. Money will come and go, but authentic relationships can last a lifetime.

For me, my decision not to double down on my work at Facebook felt like a terrible choice when I got fired. But it led to me starting Sumo and building a lifestyle I love:

There are lots of roads to get you to where you want to go in life. Closing one door opens another, so a “bad” choice really is just an opportunity to explore something new.

How to Host the Perfect Dinner Party

Parties are an incredible way to meet new people and grow your network.

Contrary to what people think, you don’t need to throw a massive rager with hundreds of people — or be rich or successful — to host them.

Keith’s dinner parties are famous for building lifelong friendships, massively beneficial business relationships, and overall fun.

But Keith’s parties didn’t start out as a list of who’s who in Hollywood Hills…

Instead, Keith’s original dinner parties were hosted from his one bedroom apartment.

To help you throw a perfect dinner party regardless of where you host, here are Keith’s tips:

  • Greet people with kindness and openness: As soon as someone arrives, welcome them with a hug and offer a drink. It might sound basic, but it will make guests feel incredibly welcome
  • Set the tone: Let them know where they’re free to wander around, show them cool stuff in your place, and definitely give them the heads-up where the bathroom is. These small details make a huge difference so your guests feel comfortable
  • Facilitate interactions: Pre-planned question cards to create conversion, or purposefully putting certain people next to each other is a great way to create genuine, authentic interactions

Keith’s dinners start with 30 minutes of small talk, but really gets going when he kicks off a discussion he calls “Personal and Professional Check-ins.”

Personal and Professional Check-ins allow guests to open up and be vulnerable by sharing what’s going on in their lives at the moment.

Keith always starts to set the tone by sharing some struggles in his life. His vulnerability acts as an invitation for everyone else to share authentically — aka without the fake “I’m doing great!” defenses most people put up.

Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities and be authentic. If you can let your guard down, you’ll forge tighter, more rewarding relationships.

How to Connect with Anyone You Want

“If I want to meet someone, I just do it.”

Keith has reached a stage in his life where he’s comfortable reaching out and connecting with anyone — and he’s built an incredibly successful career by doing so.

It’s easy for Keith to do, but what about YOU? What if you’re just starting out? How can you connect with anyone?

Keith broke down the process into three super simple steps:

  1. Create a list: Put everyone you want to meet on a list. If possible, keep your list niche so everyone has a few commonalities (e.g. entrepreneurs, or marketers, or people who like to surf)
  2. Share your list whenever you can: Tell your friends what types of people you’re looking to invite to your dinner party. If they don’t fit the bill, maybe they can put you in touch with someone who can
  3. Create value for the people you want to meet: How can you connect with the people you want to meet? Maybe you can reach out to people you admire and offer them free business strategies. Maybe you can browse around on Meetup or LinkedIn

Exclusive strategies to connect with ANYONE you want

Think big when it comes to who you want to meet and don’t be afraid to reach out.

For example, when I wanted to connect with Jesse Itzler, I first thought about what value I could deliver him.

I realized the best thing I could offer was promoting his book to my 200,000 blog readers, so I mentioned this when I reached out:

Before I asked Jesse for anything, I showed the value I could bring to our relationship.

It worked. A few weeks later we were recording a podcast in his office, and he invited me to check out an Atlanta Hawks game from courtside seats.

Question: Who’s the #1 person you’d like to meet? Let me know in the comments.

What to know who I’d like to meet? Check out my “Dream 100” here.

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8 responses to “How to Become Friends with VIPs, Celebrities, and Famous Entrepreneurs: Lessons from Keith Ferrazzi”

January 12, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Keanu Reeves he’s a good person and he’s real and he cares about people ordinary people just like me

November 15, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Some follow up questions:
For people who don’t have large spaces, what’s the minimum number of people to invite to a dinner party while still making it beneficial for them to meet enough other people?

Is inviting a group of people to a dinner at a restaurant an option? If so, do I pay for everyone? (seems like “yes”)

Are significant others/spouses invited as well? If not, are these +1’s not allowed to join?

As the host, am I responsible for the direction of the conversation? Am I the MC for the night? I’d be interested in a breakdown of events for the evening (more detail than above).

Thank you for all the great work.

June 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Interesting man. Makes me want to check out the book. And write a research paper.

Brandy Lawson
June 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

That was awesome! Thanks for making it worth my time & attention to listen to the end. Love you too!

May 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Very helpful article. I want to meet Keith Ferrazzi!

May 11, 2017 at 11:20 am

Great and actionable.

Miguel Rafael
May 11, 2017 at 8:04 am

Am I the only one having trouble with these past 2 podcast on Android? When I download them it says it has 0:0 secs and i can’t fast forwad. Really strange .

Great episode btw. Never Alone is now on my to read list

Boris Rapoport
May 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

Very good episode!
I liked the part about greeting everyone with kindness and openness. We do that with our close friends and family. There is no reason not to do it with everyone, and show that you care about them.
I got the book on audible a few days prior, and it is now queued up next on my play list. Will post my feedback once I finish listening to it.
Currently listening to “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, which is awesome in it’s own right 🙂

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