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Work-Life Blending

I thought this may be particularly interesting/of value since I see so few do this: work on a personal friendship with your business relationships! You can’t force these things and it does take work, yet it makes life so much richer. Here’s are just a few tips I practice:

 

1. Send business relationships gifts – often. I’m a product of the Persian culture where we show our respect, gratitude, and friendship through small gifts. They don’t have to be expensive; they always have to be thoughtful. So, I send gifts to clients after engagements. I often buy 10-20 copies of a book I like and share them with clients I know like the same topic. For the holidays, instead of hundreds of forgettable cards, I send a few memorable gifts. Bonus: send it to their home address. Even more impactful. 

 
2. Share your experiences. In our normal interactions, I ask about their weekends, summer or spring break family trips, and share what we’re doing as a family. You learn more about their likes, dislikes, and preferences. Sociologists call this being Ambient Aware – the more you learn about your relationships, the more proactively you can nurture them. Be cautious that these topics don’t ever become intrusive; some people are uncomfortable sharing these details particularly early in the relationship.

3. Invite them to personal gatherings. I often buy extra tickets to concerts, shows, charity events. Some business professionals do a lot of these – particularly sporting events. Unfortunately, they feel obligatory and robotic. I invite business relationships and their spouses to our home for a small group dinner. I’ve taken a speaking client who was in town to our Church on a Sunday (my keynote was that upcoming Tues and I knew faith was important to her). I also ride motorcycles with some 40+ business relationships!
 
4. Use different social media channels for different facets of your life. I’m on LinkedIn professionally. Yet, I often post on Instagram or Facebook, personal pictures of vacations, motorcycles, and family tributes. I follow my business relationships on those platforms and they follow me back. It’s a chance for us to see and comment on the whole you, not just the stiff work side.


5. Integrate your personal aspirations with your professional obligations.Curve Bender

 

One thing I’ve learned in 20 years of being a student of business relationships, is that the best ones are derived from a natural give and take. Too much, too fast and people become leary of your agenda. Too distant and they perceive you to be cold or indifferent. Be natural, be authentic, and be you. If you let your business relationships (colleagues, partners, customers, investors, media relationships, and yes, even competitors) into your personal life, you may experience much richer memories and relationships. 

 

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