The Benefits of Informal Get-Togethers

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I just spent a delightful morning with a colleague of mine (Ron, another speaker) who was in from out of town and gave me a call. And yes, I realize I just used the word “delightful,” when the more manly, chainsaw, Hemi word would be something like “awesome,” “radical,” or “killer,” but dammit, it was delightful.

Anyway, as I was leaving this killer get-together, I found myself wondering, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Granted, in this case it was Ron who called me, but I travel a lot, and I rarely reach out to other colleagues on the road. That’s to my detriment.

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I talk a lot about the importance of seeking out people who are not like you, people who have different backgrounds and experiences than you, people who see the world differently than you. And this is important! It’s how we broaden our horizons, and discover new ideas. But there are also huge benefits to getting together—informally, away from the workplace—with people who share your world. For example:

There are huge benefits to getting together informally, with people who share your world. Click To Tweet
  • You can build your business. At a certain point, and without a planned agenda, Ron’s and my conversation turned naturally to what was working in each of our speaking businesses. I got a couple of great ideas from Ron that I’m going to start implementing immediately, and I’d like to think that Ron got some good ideas as well. In addition, we each made a commitment to refer each other for future business.

Question: What insights could you gain from others who know your world? How could you help each other build your businesses?

What insights could you gain from others who know your world? Click To Tweet
  • You can share the “war stories” that outsiders wouldn’t understand. Ron and I also talked—and laughed—about the times when things went wrong. Like virtually every professional speaker, we each have had speaking engagements that made us think, “There’s got to be a better way to make a living than this!” People who aren’t in our business would never understand these stories. The value here is that of perspective and catharsis. By sharing—and laughing at—these stories, it diffuses their power, reminds us that they are the rare exceptions, and gives us insight into how we can prevent similar fiascos in the future.

Question: What are your “war stories”? What have you learned from them? What would you do differently given your current experience?

What are your “war stories”? What have you learned from them? Click To Tweet
  • You get to know each other on a closer level. Ron and I have been friends for years, but mostly through email and the chance meetings that happen at our annual convention. He lives in Virginia, I live in Seattle, so our paths rarely cross in person. Today we got to spend two hours together. Because of that, I feel like I know Ron at least twice as well as I did before. And because we already live in the same world—professional speaking—we could skip the “What do you do? Oh, that’s interesting! Tell me about that” part of the conversation.

Question: What benefits could you experience from building stronger, more personal bonds with your colleagues?

What benefits could you experience from building stronger, more personal bonds with your colleagues? Click To Tweet

So the next time you travel, either professionally or personally (Ron was here on vacation), take some time beforehand to identify one or two professional colleagues at your destination whom you can spend some time with. It doesn’t have to be an entire day. Get together for coffee, lunch, a glass of wine.

At the very least, you’ll share a few laughs. And who knows—it might change your business!

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About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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  • Ron Culberson says:

    Great blog…especially since I was in it! Everything you say is true and a good reminder of the importance of human connections. In the end, that’s what really matters.

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