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Activities that build relationships

We all know that it’s easier to do business with someone we know, at any level, than with a cold contact.

Often, however, I struggle with finding and getting to know “new people” to expand my circle of relationships, which is critical to growing my personal and professional network, and hence, my business.

This morning, during my daily study time, I found a great list of “ice-breakers” in Keith Ferrazzi’s fantastic book, “Never Eat Alone”.

From the chapter, “Share Your Passions”…

Your passions and the events you build around them will create deeper levels of intimacy. Pay attention to matching the event to the particular relationship you’re trying to build. I’ve got an informal list of activities I use to keep in touch with my business and personal friends.

Here are some things I like to do:

1. Fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee. It’s quick, it’s out of the office, and it’s a great way to meet someone new.

2. Conferences. If I’m attending a conference in, say, Seattle, I’ll pull out a list of people in the area I know, or would like to know better, and see if they might like to drop in for a particularly interesting keynote speech or dinner.

3. Invite someone to share a workout or a hobby (golf, chess, stamp collection, a book club, etc.).

4. A quick early breakfast, lunch, drinks after work, or dinner together. There’s nothing like food to break the ice.

5. Invite someone to a special event. For me, a special event such as the theater, a book-signing party, or a concert is made even more special if I bring along a few people who I think might particularly enjoy the occasion.

6. Entertaining at home. I view dinner parties as home as sacred. I like to make these events as intimates as possible. To ensure they stay that way, I generally will invite only one or two people I don’t know that well. By dinner’s end, I want those people leaving my home feeling as if they’ve made a whole new set of friends, and that’s hard to do if it’s a dinner filled with strangers.

Of course, we all need to schedule the appropriate time with friends and family, as well, or just to read or relax.

So, how about you? What are some of your favorite activities that build relationships? Please tell us about them, below.

– Perry

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
By Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz

“Your network is your net worth. This book shows you how to add to your personal bottom line with better networking and bigger relationships. What a solid but easy read! Keith’s personality shines through like the great (and hip) teacher you never got in college or business school. Buy this book for yourself, and tomorrow go out and buy one for your kid brother!”

—Tim Sanders, author of Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

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