You are the average of the people you spend time with, we’re reminded by entrepreneur Marc Winn on his blog The View From Inside Me. Positive people will energise you, while negativity will suck everything out of you. In fact, the success or failure of the people in your professional and social network can quickly become yours:
‘They determine how you think, how you act, and – ultimately – how successful you will be. They actually make you. The more time you spend with people who stretch you, the further you will get. So it makes sense to have the right people by your side. Be selective about who you spend time with.‘
It’s hard to change your nay-saying boss, your risk-averse partner or critical mother-in-law. However, you can decrease their influence by introducing new people into your circle. The more positive influences you have in your life, the less the negative ones will matter.
Think about people you already know a little and who are based in the same city or place as you. Who are you drawn to? Who would you really like to ask for advice or assistance about something? Who have you met and exchanged cards with in the last 6 months who you simply liked?
Write down 5 people you’d like to spend more time with. Then simply get in touch with an invitation to meet. An in-person meeting will fast-track your relationship in a way a phone call never can, and people are often delighted to be asked. Here are some great options to try.
Ask them over for dinner
A friend has built up a phenomenal network in her field simply by inviting people to her home. ‘No one ever turns down food’, she tells me. If you’re worried about cooking or getting stuck in the kitchen, hire a chef for the evening, and someone to serve and clear up everything afterwards. It will free up your time to spend time with your guests, while you can be certain you’ll get great food. You can choose the menu, or your chef can make recommendations and supply everything. A meal in someone’s home relaxes people and builds a bond that rarely happens in a restaurant or bar.
Throw a party
If the intimacy of a dinner party is too much, a more general party might be perfect. Be careful not to make it too large if there are people you want to have enough time with. Again, you can order everything in: planning, invitations, food, drinks, tables, decorations. If you’re not a natural extrovert, it may be worth roping in a family member, friend or even a professional welcomer with particularly good skills at making introductions, and making sure they’re briefed on who’s coming and who might like to meet who. Again, inviting people into your home can build a rapport hard to achieve in a less personal environment.
Arrange lunch, breakfast or coffee
Find a suitable place nearby for a coffee or lunch near the office of the person you’d like to invite, and simply suggest meeting there. Breakfast can be another good option: no big alcohol bills, and you can be back at your own desk in good time.
Invite them to a work event
If your company does corporate hospitality, consider who you’d like to come as well as your core entertainment list. A summer party or drinks event can open the door for you to build a connection with someone, and use the opportunity to invite them for a more personal meeting later.
Make them your networking guest
Many networking and professional organisations have occasions when you can invite a guest. Provided the event is appropriate, most people will be pleased to be invited. If it’s a paid event, consider buying the ticket for them – it’s likely to be a cost-effective way of getting quality time with someone you value. However, be careful about organisations that are likely to sell heavily to your guest. You don’t want them to feel as though they’ve been brought along just to provide a sales opportunity.
You probably won’t find you connect with everyone in the way you hoped, but by actively choosing the kind of people you spend time with, you can only benefit.
Too shy? Not enough time? We can research venues, liaise with PAs, make appointments, organise events from planning a menu to running an entire event, and even send out handwritten thank-you cards afterwards. Ask us to research topics for you to talk about, or book a personal styling session to find you the perfect outfit. Contact us now, or find out more about how we can give you time back for the important things.