Thank god it’s Friday! Another week of work accomplished and a weekend to enjoy with your friends. You probably planned an entire weekend trip or scheduled a couple of activities to do this weekend, and some of them may include drinking.
So my title may sound a bit counterintuitive. You’re probably wondering, “How can you make nightlife productive? We’re spending a lot of money for them to take away our time.” Millions of people go out every single weekend, it is a cultural thing and people need to loosen up from the brutal workweek. Did you catch what I said in that sentence? Millions of people. This means there is a large concentration of people that are out to socialize. Most of these people are typically drinking, which means that they loosen up, and are more welcome to talk to anyone! This is a real benefit for anything in your life.
You could be:
- Networking (making connections for a job switch, etc.)
- Marketing your new company
- Finding people to do activities with you
- Finding things to do in a new city
- Or something as simple as getting to know you current friends better
The list goes on and on, those are some basics. I’m just trying to hammer the point that people are out there, and whether they know it or not, they have some purpose.
There are a couple of issues though. Some people say things and never follow through with them, people forget (drinking tends to make that happen), and people tend to stick to the same people they’ve known forever.
Get out of your comfort zone, ask your current friends new questions, or go meet new people. Always ask open-ended questions rather than closed questions. It is all about depth and quality of the conversations.
Okay, now I’m going to tell you a little productivity tip that significantly helped me make better connections with people and keep them. Notetaking. “Notetaking? That is so obvious–wait… what do you actually mean?”
This is something I started doing while I was in college. Each weekend there would be a party that I would go to, and I met so many interesting people that are studying different subjects and I would ask them all kinds of questions to learn more about their subject matter, what jobs they’ve had, and what their long term plans are. I would dive really deep and get into at least 30-minute conversations and rotate through a good amount of people. The problem? I already have so many things on my mind, and this adds to it. I couldn’t retain all of the information from my conversations, and often, I would forget to follow up with that person about a specific takeaway I had during the conversation. I needed to find a way to fix this. My solution was notetaking.
After every single conversation I had, I pulled out my iPhone and opened up the Notes application. (P.S. I was sure to never touch my cell phone during the conversation, it’s rude and you will usually have notifications that will distract you and force you to refocus into your conversation). I started by writing that person’s name and created a little brief with the takeaways I had from their conversation. I also created some action steps of ideas and things that crossed my mind during that conversation so I could follow up later with that person to ask their opinion.
My results that I had seen after simply writing down notes was unbelievable. I began to stay in contact with a lot more people, network a lot better, and improve my life during that process. It was so useful to me that I know write notes after conversations with anyone.
During conversations, we are absorbing so much information so quickly; the average human speaks at 110-150 words per minute, and there isn’t any way to slow them down unlike reading. So why do we not take notes during conversations? We do it when a speaker comes in, we do it at work, and we do it in the classroom. We learn some of our most meaningful information through general conversations, why not figure out a better way to remember it and connect our ideas to our lives. All in all, I urge you to take this small step, and you will see significant results in your connection with others.