One Phone Call Away – Meshel

One Phone Call Away – Secrets of a Master Networker
Jeffrey W. Meshel

Let me tell you more about what I did while I lived in Argentina. I was a missionary so I tried to find people who had interest in religion and try to convince others that it was a worthy subject. I spent everyday all day talking to as many people as possible, walking up to people in the street or going door to door, and meeting new people through charity events. This experience helped me to conquer the fear I had of just starting a conversation with someone, especially because I was doing it all in Spanish, which is not my native language. Not only did I learn not to be shy, but I also gained a great love for helping others.

Jeff Meshel emphasizes exactly those two things in his book on networking, One Phone Call Away. He has become a master networker, because he does it to help others. He tries to go out of his way to connect two people that can help one another, and the great thing is that it brings business in to his company as well.

One Phone Call Away gives great tips for novices on how to overcome shyness and how to control the perception others have of you. This part was very helpful to me as someone just starting to enter the business world. He also has tips for expert networkers about organizations they can join, and how they can expand their networks. I assume those tips are great also. They sounded good for CEOs and other executives.

I found myself with two opinions throughout this book. The first was very positive and appreciative of the advice to ask “How can I help others?” and not “What’s in it for me?” It shows that networking is not a selfish thing to, but rather a very productive business practice.

The second opinion stems from my own desire to not change my behavior because of money or my status position. Because Meshel networks with executives and other high status people, he finds it profitable to adopt habits of the rich and famous. One example he gives is paying twice as much for a yearly health club membership to be an “executive member”, which ended up giving him business opportunities with other executive members he met at the gym. This is probably simply a sound business practice. I just don’t like the thought of putting myself above the regular members of the gym.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Here’s the list of networking rules Meshel gives. It’s basically in order from novice to grand master black belt level networking.

As Meshel also mentioned, I would advise anyone to get a job as a retail or door-to-door salesman (or be a missionary like I was). It really gets the fear out of you, and makes you comfortable initiating a conversation.

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