The Guide to Business Relationships
“You can make more friends in two weeks by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
– Dale Carnegie
Admission: I use to be terrified of meeting new people.
I would start sweating. I would not know what to say. I often resorted to alcohol in my twenties to overcome these feelings of discomfort.
I know many of you feel the same way– studies show one in ten Americans suffer from social anxiety at some point in their lives.
Early in my career I recognized chance encounters pay future dividends; so much of my success has come from showing up, meeting new people, and being present.
Last week, I hosted a Ten Thousand community workout at V23 Athletics in Denver, Colorado. I was reminded of two things:
- How far I have come with regards to being comfortable around people I do not know.
- The importance of meeting new people in organic environments.
This article shares the frameworks I used to overcome my social anxiety and build better business relationships.
Prioritize the Process
Three principles that changed my outlook on business and life:
The Beginner’s Mindset
You have to be willing to be bad at something long enough to get good at it.
The same thing is true with regards to uncomfortable situations — the more time you spend in them, the more adapt you become to discomfort.
Pick 3 social activities you know will make you feel uncomfortable. These can be taking yourself out to dinner alone in a crowded restaurant or leading a group workout in the park, as examples.
Choose a date & time. Add them to your calendar for the next month.
Pay attention to the following:
- How do you feel before, during, and after the event?
- Were you nervous or excited?
- What was the scariest part about this activity?
- Did you meet anyone new that you want to stay in touch with?
- What parts of this experience did you enjoy the most? the least?
By becoming self-aware, we are able to recognize and then tame irrational fears.
Reps and Sets
In my twenties I read a book entitled Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, that changed my life. The title of this book gives you a pretty good idea of what its about. For 15 years I lived and breathed this idea. Every morning at 7:00 am I would start my day with a coffee meeting, Lunch was another meeting and another person, and for dinner I invited friends over to the restaurant I co-owned in Syracuse, NY.
In the beginning I would have butterflies in my stomach; I felt as if I was going on a first date three times a day! But over time I got more comfortable, not only with meeting new people but also with myself. I was able to develop confidence and begin relationships with incredible people that led to opportunities years down the road.
Remember the Name
There is no better sound in the world than the sound of your own name.
Names are essential to any new relationship because they connect directly to a person’s individuality. By using and remembering people’s names it shows that you care and helps to forge a deeper connection.
Unfortunately, I meet so many new people that I struggle to remember everyone’s names. This is an area I am still working to improve, but here is my recommendation:
- Make a point a repeat the person’s name right when you are introduced & again before your part.
- Build associations in your head: “eric exercises everyday”
- If you don’t remember, just ask. You make a bigger deal of it than they ever will.
Listen First. Speak Second.
Remember: whomever you are talking to is likely just as nervous as you.
When you’re jittery in a meeting or even on a date your natural bias is to start talking, often times about yourself.
This is a reflex meant to fill any awkward silence, but the best piece of advice I can give are the words of Stephen Covey “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood”.
When I repeat this to myself, I paraphrase it to say “seek first to listen, and only then to speak”.
I’ve recognized two trends from meeting with people:
- People love the sound of their own voice; oftentimes they sell themselves & all you need to do it listen.
- People engage more when you ask probing questions; this allows you to learn more about them and their problems
Relationships and business take time to develop; the more information you learn (and remember) the better off you are come your next meeting.
The After Action
Take pride in watching others win. My favorite part of the day is connecting two people who can provide value to each other.
I keep an organized list of all my contacts. I write down:
- companies they work with/for
- roles they perform
- phone numbers
- shipping addresses
This way when a brand or founder shares a problem they have run into, I can connect them with the expert in that area.
*Normally, it’s on a zone 2 ride or run, where the connection comes together in my mind. I’ll make a mental note and introduce them on a group text thread or email when I get home.
Eventually you will become indispensable to your partners and friends. The dopamine high feels pretty good too.
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
20 weighted box step-ups
20 weighted walking lunges
40 weighted sit-ups (single dumbbell)
♀ 25-lb DBs, 20-in box
♂ 35-lb DBs, 24-in box