Recently, I was speaking to Keith Ferrazzi, one of the biggest thought leaders in professional relationship-building and change management, about 2 Billion Under 20 and Millennials in general. As the author of the modern-day classic, New York Times bestseller Never Eat Alone (he released an expanded and updated version this week!) and former CMO of Deloitte consulting aand Starwood Hotels, Keith knows a thing or two about getting ahead by connecting with others. He was generous enough to share a few tips on the subject for Millennials and Coca-Cola Journey readers alike. Take a look:

1. Set Goals

“When you set goals, opportunities begin to jump out at you,” Keith said. Too many people from younger generations (and older) are trying to get ahead, but they aren’t aware of what specific things they’d like to achieve, or they aren’t writing these goals down and sharing them with other people. Without being clear on your goals, how are others supposed to know where they can help you, and how are you supposed to know what specific actions you need to take to get ahead? Keith compared it to a scenario where you find out that one of your friends works for a specific company. You may not have heard of the company before, but after your friend mentions it and brings it to reality, you may begin noticing the company name or industry all around you in things you read online or see offline. Did the company’s marketing suddenly get better? Of course not, but because your friend brought the company name to clarity, you were more aware of it. Your goals work the same way, and by setting goals, you open the door for yourself and others to create new opportunities.

2. Ask 'Who?'

As we conclude graduation season and head into summer, many recent high school and college graduates may be thinking of the internships, classes and clubs they will soon need to get ahead, but few people are thinking about “who” they need to connect with to can help them get ahead and achieve their goals. Knowing which people are decision-makers in the industry you are pursuing, job you're hunting, or passion you're chasing will help you build relationships with those people. And those relationships can greatly accelerate your learning and level of achievement. Keith keeps a list of aspirational contacts he’d like to meet to accomplish the goals he previously set to constantly remind himself who he’d like to connect with and how he can get in touch with them. He also keeps a list of the most influential people in his network relative to his success and goals so he can constantly ping them to say "hi" or share a small bit of information (an article, an invitation to an event, a valuable introduction). This helps him stay at top of mind with those people and continue to grow that relationship. Similarly, when Stacey and I set out to start 2 Billion Under 20, we asked ourselves “who” would be best to reach out to and unite in order to empower a generation of Millennials, and then we did just that.

3. Find an 'Accountability Buddy'

As I’m sure other members of the 2 Billion Under 20 community can agree with, I can certainly attest to the benefits of accountability after witnessing the power of a dedicated community that holds each another to high standards. But even finding just one committed "accountability buddy" can greatly help you get ahead. By connecting with someone who will push you constantly to reach your goals (whether they are school-related, personal like losing weight, or professional), having an accountability buddy is essential to preventing setbacks. As Keith shared this tip, he recounted a lesson he learned as a sophomore at Yale, when he was running for city council. He had a habit of name-dropping because of an insecurity he had, and it got so bad that the school newspaper published a political cartoon pointing out the flaw. To stop himself from incessantly bragging and name-dropping, Keith enlisted his roommate as an accountability buddy to stop him from such behavior... and quickly broke the habit. Get ahead by finding someone to hold you accountable in your goals and actions.

Never Eat Alone

4. Never Eat Alone

If you really want to build a world-class network that can help you get ahead, make relationship-building a top priority in your everyday life. This is the premise of Keith’s books, Never Eat Alone, Who’s Got Your Back?, and Never Eat Alone: Expanded and Updated, which is out this week. Use meals as an opportunity to bond with others, free time as an excuse to ping friends and acquaintances to check in, and relationship-building as a vehicle for getting ahead in your life and career. For a Millennial generation that relies increasingly on technology to live and work, it becomes even more important to build solid relationships and work at maintaining them if you want to separate yourself from the pack. Fortunately, with those same technological advances, it’s even easier to build relationships, as Keith points out in the expanded and updated version of his book.

By implementing some of Keith's simple lessons, you can continue to get ahead and build better personal and professional relationships in your life. You’ll find that work and life become way more fulfilling and fun when you continuously surround yourself with good people!

Jared Kleinert is the 18-year-old co-founder and co-author of 2 Billion Under 20, a community of Millennials redefining success, breaking down barriers, and changing the world. Find out more about their upcoming, eye-opening book at