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The Help Me Help You Dinner - Rand's Blog

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Smart networking idea.

I've never seen someone write this down before:

Step 2: Browse the list for individuals that fill two qualities A) you’re fairly sure you can help them in some way and B) you think they could be helpful to you today or in the future.

Step 3: Send out an email to the group via BCC that looks something like this:

Subject: The Help Me Help You Dinner

Hey gang – I’m putting together dinner for a dozen of us in and I’d really love to have you come join. There’s no obligation, no sales pitch, no requirement beyond asking that we have a great meal together, talk about what’s working and not in our professional lives and at one point in the night, go around the table to each individual and do these three things:

#1) Share something you need help with#2) Offer advice and assistance if you can help someone else at the dinner#3) Share one way you can help others

The meal is my treat, and we’ll try to do it at on . The group will be mostly other , some of whom you’ll probably know. If you have someone you think I should definitely invite, let me know, and please do RSVP so I can get a head count.

Hope all is going well with you and hope to see you there!


The dinner is not actually about getting 11 other people’s help. It’s about helping 11 other people and, in return, seeing amazing serendipity develop.

I wish there was a good tool for making small email lists:

Step 5 (optional): If the group has an amazing dynamic and at the end of the night, no one wants to leave, propose the creation of an email list where folks can email occasionally for things they need help with and things they can offer. These email lists can become incredible resources, particularly as everyone from the group’s careers grow and take new, interesting trajectories.

Google groups? Yahoo groups? LinkedIn groups?

Rand's P.S. is Adam Grant-worthy: "The dinner might cost ~$500, which is pricey, but in my experience, very few expenditures of this kind will have a greater ROI long term."

Read the whole article:

A variation I created a decade ago is when the same group meets and goes around the circle, each person making 1 request & one offer, with others taking notes. Stage two: group focuses on one person at a time, going around the circle with each person saying they have something for the request or need the offer make.... then the group has an informal dinner where people arrange times to get their needs met by persons who said they could help, and those who had near-term needs discussed them on the spot with the person(s) who could offer help. From their notes of the meeting they could also offer resources and other help between meetings: The Lean Loose Mutual Support Group Method. I have been a part of two such groups for eight years, one of my peers (current or past journalists) and the other of people of diverse background... It has been priceless for mutual help and friendship

Kare, thanks for the tip! So does each group have regular meetings?

Serendipity—saw Kare's post on G+ today right after our monthly Vermont Consultants and Trainers Network meeting that's been running with this idea for 16 years now. I facilitate a conference version that works for 20+ people (ran it for 250 people in Dallas last fall) called The Solution Room. People love it.More information here <> and here <>

Oh I wish I could participate and hope there are future ones .... Adam Grant would be so delighted by this

Thank you for the tip, Adrian. You never know who might find this here. We get new visitors all the time.

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