Back in college and my early 20s (when I actually had a social life), I tended to go out to parties and bars more often than I thought I “should.” My gut often told me that I should probably be studying, reading, exercising, sleeping, networking or otherwise engaging in productive activities that were more likely to directly advance my career. But I went out anyway. Those informal outings with my drinking buddies felt like a fun (and deserved) distraction from work rather than a process of self-development in and of itself.
In retrospect, I now realize how formative those years of partying really were for my career. I learned a ton of social lessons that have tremendously helped me later in life.
Of course, you do not actually have to drink alcohol or go to bars to develop these business socialization skills, but the fast-paced social environment involved in nightlife does provide a great setting for that type of personal development. This is an important lesson for passionate entrepreneurs who become such workaholics that they forget the importance of socialization.
1. Be patient yet persistent.
We’ve all experienced that frustrating moment when the bartender seems to be ignoring us in favor of other customers. Veteran bar patrons handle this impression of rejection by maintaining a visible presence and by making multiple (polite) attempts to gain the bartender’s attention.
Just like in sales or fundraising, people tend to serve our needs better when we project an air of confidence and respectful persistence. Frequent bouts of rejection and recovery build character.