The Book in Three Sentences

Hosting dinners with like-minded people is one of the most powerful way to build fantastic relationships in business and in life. You should think carefully about who you invite to these meals and look for uncommon commonalities that make it more likely the guests will resonate with one another. Be the gatekeeper of your network and assume responsibility for the people you surround yourself with in life.

Mastermind Dinners summary

This is my book summary of Mastermind Dinners by Jayson Gaignard. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts. This summary also includes key lessons and important passages from the book.

  • Jayson spent $600-$800 per dinner in the beginning. Seems like he usually had about 8 people at each dinner.
  • “You need to surround yourself with people who are batteries, not black holes.”
  • “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” Many things in life, and especially relationship-building and success, are not fixed pie situations.
  • “Would you be friends with yourself?” That is, what makes you interesting?
  • Three types of dinners: 1) Reconnecting old ties. 2) Connecting people who should know each other. 3) Connecting with people who I’ve meant to connect with for a long time.
  • Be very conscious of the synergy of the group.
  • Develop a “go to” restaurant on a regular basis.
  • One good strategy: hold dinners around an event (like WDS) because 1) you catch people on the road, which means they are probably free that night and 2) like-minded people often hang out at the same events.
  • Another option: throw an event for speakers (if you’re speaking at an event yourself)
  • There should be at least one commonality around all guests (entrepreneurs, artists, etc.)
  • Don’t select people at opposite extremes of that commonality (i.e. Don’t have someone running a $100M startup and someone just starting their first venture.)
  • Don’t select people who are competitors. You want the whole room to feel collaborative.
  • Jayson prefers dinners of 4-6 people. In a group of 5, you may want to sit at the end and play more of a facilitator role. If you have 6 people, you may want a roundtable setup. And you’ll definitely want to play a facilitator role because one or two people may tend to dominate the conversation.
  • In a group of 8 or more, you’ll need a private dining room. The downside of this is that there are multiple conversations going on and people may feel lost and left out of conversations going on at the other side of the table.
  • Avoid trying to reach other people cold. Get warm intros. It will massively improve the success rate of invitations. Always check FB and LinkedIn for common connections. (Also, ask your network for help with intros.)
  • “Friends! I’m traveling to San Diego for the week. Who should I connect with while I’m in town?” (This is a great way to get intros.)
  • You can try two strategies for getting people to say yes to these dinners: First, “work your way up the food chain” by getting smaller players to say yes first and then going slowly up the food chain to bigger names. Second, you can try to land one big name to start and then use that credibility to pull everyone else in.
  • Before you do any kind of outreach to a big name, question your motives. Why this person? Are there other people who could help you reach the same outcome? “It would be much easier to reach a silver medalist than Michael Phelps.”
  • Always ask yourself, “What is in it for this person?” Why would they want to attend this dinner?
  • Put a lot of effort into personalizing your approach. People respond to effort.
  • Subject lines in invitation emails are really important. Some examples: 1) “Hey Tim, I’m in town…” 2) “Adam told me to reach out to you…” 3) “Jon, I’m doing a dinner with a group of entrepreneurs…”
  • Using the person’s name in the email title is great.
  • “The shorter the response a prospect needs to give, the better.”
  • Start with a small ask. Your only goal is to get a discussion going. “Hey Steve, I’m hosting a dinner with a group of entrepreneurs, are you interested?”
  • YESWARE for Gmail. It confirms that an email has been opened.
  • How to handle an someone turning down your invite: “Under what circumstances would you say, “Yes.”?
  • How to choose the perfect restaurant. Get a restaurant that is vegetarian and paleo friendly.
  • If you develop a great working relationship with a particular restaurant, you can get a kickback, a private room, or a discount.
  • Do your research again before the dinner. The more you know about the people you are dealing with, the better you can serve their needs and ask relevant questions.
  • Dan Martell’s idea: he sits in the middle of the table so that he can act as “conversation cop” and pull people in as needed. He also tries to place the most interesting or extroverted person in the middle of the group, so conversation doesn’t skew to one side.
  • The day of the dinner: arrive 30-60 minutes in advance. Especially important to select the best table if you haven’t been able to book the table in advance.
  • You can order whatever you want. If we’re ordering wine, always order by the glass.
  • State an end time in advance. “The dinner is done by 9:30, but everyone is allowed to stay longer if they want.”
  • The more open and vulnerable you are during your intro, the more others will follow suit.
  • His favorite opener: Thorns, Roses, and Buds. “Something that is going well, something that has the potential to turn into something good, and something that is going poorly.”
  • Conversation starters:
  • Take a picture of the group!
  • Introduce the group via email afterward. Also, include a resource list in the follow up email based on what people bring up in conversation at the dinner.
  • If people follow up with you after the dinner and say, “How can I repay you?” Or, “How can I give value back?” Then, take them up on the offer and ask for an introduction to one additional amazing person that would love to be at a future dinner.
  • Be the gatekeeper of your network: If you’re asked to do introductions, then always get “double opt-in” from both people. There should be a strong and compelling outcome to each intro. Ask people, “What is your desired outcome from this connection?”

Buy the Book: Mastermind Dinners

Mastermind Dinners by Jayson Gaignard

Buy the book: Print Ebook

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