Ex Post Facto no. 16: Humans, Furniture, and How to Cultivate Influence
We’re back for another Ex Post Facto, the email with 3 things you’ll wish you’d known earlier—just in time for the weekend. Thanks for joining! –Shane
There are a few things I really don’t miss from The Before Times. Public sneezes. Going through TSA and getting on a plane just to go to a 1-hour meeting. And also networking.
That word still gives me a mildly slimy feeling. How about you?
Too often, what it takes to get what we want in our careers is knowing someone. I hate that fact, but I show up to the cocktail hour at the conference anyway. Because meeting people is important.
But this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about a new book by a friend of mine that has completely shifted the way I think about the idea of networking and replaced it with a much more interesting, useful, and I’d dare say reassuring idea—one that I think is much better suited to our modern soon-to-be-post-pandemic world.
The idea is that instead of networking our way into the path of people we “need,” we ought to focus on a more helpful and more effective goal: cultivating influence.
That’s the premise of the book You’re Invited: The Art & Science of Cultivating Influence by Jon Levy, and it’s such a powerful one that I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s EX POST FACTO to it.
So without further ado, here are three influence-related things you’ll be glad to know in time for the weekend:
One EXcellent bit of wisdom
The fundamental element that defines the quality of our lives is the people we surround ourselves with, and the conversations we have with them.
I love this quote in juxtaposition with my crappy attitude about networking. What if when we met strangers—whether at a work setting or not, virtual or in-person—our primary goal was to have a great conversation? Even if nothing comes of the relationship, a great conversation is fun.
And I suspect (well, in Jon’s book he lays out some psychology proving this) that giving others the gift of a great conversation is a lot more effective for building relationships anyway. (That’s the core premise of good content marketing, as my co-author Joe Lazauskas will tell you in his newsletter The Storytelling Edge, which just hit 100,000 subscribers and you should definitely check out!)
But think about it. What do you do with the people you love spending time with? I’ve been to a lot of different places in my life with friends. And somehow, no matter where we are and how gorgeous the scenery, we always end up sitting around a table talking. How great is that?
One POST you won’t want to miss:
One FACT Of great interest:
Did you know that people over-value IKEA furniture, not because of the price or the design—but because of the effort it takes to get it set up? Shopping at IKEA is a mission in itself, and assembling your own furniture itself is such a project that by the time your couch is installed you’re likely to value it more than it’s worth. Because you put effort into it.
Social scientists call this the IKEA effect. It’s why even if your kid is primarily a pain, you still love them—because you’ve put so much work into them. (You can learn more about this effect and how it comes into play at work in Chapter 4 of You’re Invited.)
As someone who’s a bit of a pain, I’m personally grateful for the IKEA effect. Cheers to the science that keeps us pulling together.
Have a great weekend everyone!
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