In this fascinating article from the NY Times, scientists report findings that indicate something potentially interesting for business people. Folks who spend more time each day meaningfully talking with others are happier than people who engage mostly in small talk and chit-chat.
When was the last time you went to a business networking event and enjoyed it? Did you feel a certain sense of dread over attending or paralysis over coming up with acceptable small talk topics? How long did you stay before you felt like it was safe to seek the nearest exit?
We’ve all been foisted into business networking situations that are intolerable. Could it be that their essential construct – getting together in a room full of strangers to engage in small talk – is fundamentally flawed? While the findings from this article suggest that more meaningful conversations on a personal level contribute directly to happiness, could fewer, yet more meaningful, business conversations yield the same result – a happy business?
We’re intrigued by the notion of a happy business. In the spirit of seeking deeper meaning, we’re going to try the tips below at our next networking outing to see whether or not they lead to a “happy business” result.
- Actively seek out two or three people who are interested in a one-on-one conversation of 15 – 20 minutes in length.
- Converse about topics beyond basic business items. How did the person opposite me end up where they are? What do they like to do in their spare time? Where’s the one big place they want to visit? Any appropriate item that yields more personal, deeper interaction will be on the table.
- Set a time at the event to see these people again – over lunch, dinner or coffee. Heck, if the person likes to play golf, organize a time to play.
- Contact them shortly after the event and express how nice it was to spend time with them, and bring up some tidbit from the conversation. Likely, it will be easier to remember something because of the time and depth invested in the interaction.
Wouldn’t networking events be more fun if we actually took something meaningful away from them? Here’s to your business happiness!