So, here’s the deal. I don’t play golf. (I used to – gave it up, to keep my sanity..). I don’t go to many sports events. (Used to. Not sure why I don’t anymore). And there have always been a lot of “business connections” made on golf courses and at sporting events. (Notice the word “connections“).
But, I like to eat.
And, here’s what I’ve found. Other people like to eat also.
A few years ago, a friend of mine said he liked to eat alone, in his office – quickly, so that he could get more work done.
I get that… sort of.
But, you see, getting to know people, interacting with people — this is getting work done.
And, interactions are kind of natural in a meal setting. You talk about “stuff,” you get to know one another… You learn something that just tumbles out in “regular conversation.” And then, later, you might “do business” with the person you ate with.
Or, maybe not… But, they will remember you, you will remember them, and you will spread the word about one another. Yes, you will – whether the word you spread is positive, or negative. So, it’s a pretty smart thing to do a “good job” at every meal conversation.
I’ve just read, yet again, that people with hard skills are sort of “easy” to find. Its those pesky soft skills that are not so easy to find..
From An Employee’s Personality Is More Important Than Skills According To A New Talent Study by Rae Ann Fera:
Turns out being flexible and personable are more important than tech wizardry…
It turns out that in the eyes of employers hard skills take a back seat to personal qualities such as creativity, drive, and open-mindedness when it comes to employability.
Of those surveyed, 78% cited “personality” as the most desirable quality in employees…
I especially like the word “personable.”
The book Never Eat Alone is a very good book. Filled with smart, useful suggestions about how to be a better relationship builder. But, the title sort of says it all – never eat alone! Sit down, share a meal, and interact with other human beings!
So, I’ve got a suggestion. Make sure you eat with some people regularly as part of your work life. Because it is part of your work life – and, it is part of life, anyway.
Eat with somebody. Mix these meal “appointments” with some “regular” meal companions, and some “new folks” to get to know. Just for the purpose of getting to know some folks; and for building your own “personableness.” And just for the purpose of building your interaction skills; your listening skills; your conversation skills; your “soft” skills.
Take a look at your calendar. When was the last time you had a “meal appointment?” When is the next one scheduled?
How many a week should be a minimum? You decide. But going day after day, maybe week after week eating alone is probably not a good strategy in this “we need better softs skills” era.
I’ve got a hunch you could use a few more of those meal appointments. I know I could.