01/04/2011 07:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Master Networker: Marty Edelstein's Dinners for Success Knowledge

For years I've been privileged to be included at Marty Edelston's monthly extravagant dinner parties at the Four Seasons. I've interviewed him at length to learn how a marketer is made and how he keeps his energetic business growing. He told me that he learned from others who hosted stimulating lunches and dinners the fine and critical art of gathering interesting people together to make a feast even more delicious than any entrée even though he has a gourmet palate for food and folk art. He loves a party but even more he loves ideas and needs them to fuel his Boardroom's pithy monthly Bottom Line newsletters -- Personal, Health, Business, Retirement -- that you might have read at your doctor's office and then subscribed to on your own.

Marty has invited people he is curious about for their knowledge, opinions, forecasts, and research along with his need to feed his sources for years. That's a fine motivator for bringing about a dozen people together over dinner and dessert. He hosts these events for years, sitting at the head of the table, in his own style -- interviewing each guest in turn. Not quite a salon with unpredictable conversation, he and his co-hosts, daughter Marjory and Brian Kurtz, ask pointed questions of each guest -- analysts and brokers, policy and career makers, medical and social researchers -- about their breakthroughs.

It's a great model for you to follow: find and surround yourself with remarkable people. You can invite them at a restaurant or to your own dinner table over chili. Start with some friends and add new people each time -- people you've wanted to meet and exchange ideas with. Ask each guest to recommend others to build your own network in the process. Aim high. Don't settle in your comfort zone. Don't wing it either. Prepare yourself before by discovering their background and experiences so you can introduce them well and ask good questions that will reveal their lives. Be in charge of the conversations in case it veers off so that you stimulate the very best. Play host, take initiative, and start off a great year of building deep connections.

Make your luck happen!

Dr. Adele is the author of Skills for Success and Launch Your Career in College. Visit her website,