Investing in People


As a business owner, you are constantly analyzing every aspect of your business. Constantly improving your business will only make it run more efficiently. Part of a well-built foundation is constructing and maintaining an active and responsive social network. No, I’m not talking about just online. I’m talking about engaging with people in real time and in real life.

Like so many of you out there in the cyber universe, part of my morning ritual is to catch up on the news and articles. Recently I read an interesting article about social etiquette and how our society has become more interested in their phones than connecting with each other. I’m sharing a few points from the article as well as some things that I do in my own practice to improve and cultivate my relationships.

Learning How to Communicate with All Types of People

Even though our society has become exceedingly casual, there are still circumstances where it may be necessary to be more formal. Learning how to communicate professionally (both verbally and written) opens you up to greater opportunities that can lead you to where you want to be. Realizing the importance of this was a game changer for me when I was first starting out as a music supervisor.

One of my very first clients (a documentary filmmaker) actually helped me come to this realization early on when a situation arose from my response to an email she sent connecting me with her client. I had addressed them both in too casual of a manner and my client was concerned that her client would be offended. Granted, I was in my early 20s at the time and still in college not knowing what it meant to be professional. But, with the incredible responsibility that I was given on the project, it was clear that I needed to be more mindful. I am eternally grateful that she took the time to educate me instead of writing me off. I of course acknowledged her concerns and used a more professional tone in my correspondences moving forward. I also took a professional writing course to improve my writing skills.

Hand-written “Thank You” Notes

A part of building a long-lasting relationship is showing that other person that you are choosing to invest in them. There’s something about a hand-written note that just exudes “I care about you”. No one who has received a hand-written note has ever regretted it. Not only will you wow your client, vendor, employee, or potential partner, but you will be at the forefront of their mind should they need services like the ones that you provide. Not only that, but in this digital age it appears that people have lost a sense of thoughtfulness and presence. But, as we as a society have adopted a bit of a self-absorbed attitude, we can train ourselves to be more present and cognizant of showing people that we care about them.

Putting the Phone Down

We, as a society, have become way too attached to our phones. Texting while driving, on the phone during a meal with someone, and walking down the street staring at our screens instead of acknowledging each other have all become too commonplace these days. This goes back to my earlier point of thoughtfulness and presence. People want to know that you’re interested in them. It’s hard to pay attention to a conversation if one is always on their phone. Simple things like turning your phone off during a meeting or a meal or stepping outside when you need to make a phone call communicates the notion that you value the other person’s time along with handling whatever pressing matter is causing you to be on your phone.

No matter what field you are in, it’s more than likely you are dealing with people. Learning how to effectively communicate with others is a necessity in business and in life. Truly investing in others brings lifelong success.