Author Keith Ferrazzi Discusses Networking as Homecoming’s Keynote Speaker


Homecoming Weekend 2013 officially began last Thursday with a barbeque on the Academic Quad, followed by CEO of Greenlight Ferrazzi and bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi’s Keynote Address in the Colgate Memorial Chapel at 7:00 p.m.

Ferrazzi’s talk “The Power of Building Relationships: Set Yourself up for Success” was presented by the

Presidents’ Club, the Robert A. Fox ’59 Leadership Institute, the Athletic Department, Colgate Women in Business, the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council and the Center for Career Services.

As a graduate with an economics degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Ferrazzi worked as the Chief Marketing Officer at Starwood Hotels and at Deloitte Consulting before

starting his own research institute

and consulting firm that provides market leaders with strategic consulting and training services. Ferrazzi has spent years building relationships and cultivating his personal network and is now sharing his knowledge of networking with current

college students.

In his talk, Ferrazzi expressed his love for “cracking the code of human behavior,” claiming that successful networking eventually boils down to who you connect with and how you develop that relationship. 

“There’s no reason why some people are inevitably more successful than others,” Ferrazzi said. “So here’s the million dollar question: Where’s your people plan?”

Ferrazzi included many humorous personal anecdotes from his college days to relate to the students in the audience. He also described the beginnings of his own “people plan” by sharing his experiences at his first job during his teenage years.

Ferrazzi first learned about the basics of strong networking, good communication skills,

preparedness, and dedication through his job at a country club golf course.

“You show up and work half an hour early at the golf course. And that’s how you win in life,”

Ferrazzi said.

This work experience was also incredibly important to Ferrazzi because it was the first time he was able to relinquish his prejudice towards the wealthy and actually develop a personal relationship with one of his clients.

In his speech, he urged students not to let prejudice hold them back from connecting with others.

Throughout the address, Ferrazzi consistently stressed the reciprocity of relationships and how networking is not a one-way street.

“You lead with generosity in building a relationship with someone …People want to help you. But you need to want to help them.”

“Mr. Ferrazzi’s lecture was intended to frame the concept of networking for students. Specifically, to depart from the negative connotation of networking being transactional and about “using people”, and to define it as developing a relationship over time with a person to empower you either personally or professionally,” Director of Operations and Strategic

Planning for Career Services Teresa Olsen said.

Ferrazzi also suggested that his audience consider the environment people create around themselves and question if it is an environment that invites people in and is thus conducive to developing relationships

with others.

“I also appreciated the emphasis Keith put on recognizing that everyone involved in a relationship has both a responsibility to the other person, but also something to give and gain. I find that many students feel as though they are entering into these conversations with only something to gain, but they are often surprised that they can actually add a great deal to the dialogue,” Olsen said.

Career Services and the Dean of the College offices are also organizing small discussion groups for students interested in Ferrazzi’s most recent book, “Who’s Got Your Back.” For more information about Keith Ferrazzi, visit and check out his other book, “Never

Eat Alone.”

Contact Kerry Houston at [email protected]