Imagine you’re in a room packed with influential strangers from different backgrounds—CEOs, designers, Olympians, entertainers, and TV personalities, all squeezed together in a swanky New York City apartment.
This was my first exposure to Jon Levy and some of his “Influencers,” an invite-only gathering of industry leaders who just want to let loose.
A significant rule of Levy’s event is not speaking about your profession until after dinner. Instead, we share stories of adventure, perhaps. Levy has quite a few. In fact, he just wrote the book on adventures called, The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure.
You see, when he isn’t playing host, Levy’s a behavioral scientist who stands by the notion that, “the fundamental characteristics that define the quality of our lives are the people we surround ourselves with and the conversations we have with them.”
Digging deeper into the behavior of influencers, Levy has created strategies for brands and companies to use in influencer marketing and otherwise connecting with their customers, too. There’s certainly a lot we can learn from him, as I have in the few months I’ve known him.
Ask for Small Favors
One of the lessons I learned from Levy is that of the “Benjamin Franklin Effect.”
During an interview for my Web series, Levy asked me for $20. After I gave it to him, he explained that we actually like people more after we do things for them. So, in relationship-building, we should actually ask for small favors from our network as we build goodwill with them.
This could mean asking for an introduction to someone, or for a share of an article you just wrote. Over time, your rapport with someone could snowball into a bigger friendship.
Levy throws memorable events. As you’ll read in his book, some of his stories are also hard to erase from memory.
He’s ran with the bulls in Spain and almost killed himself in the process. He’s played drunk Jenga with celebrities you’ve seen on your favorite television shows. He’s escaped mobsters around the holidays and still partied to tell the tale.
In a world where everyone tells the same stories, has the same type of online businesses, and otherwise hears a lot of noise, it is important to be adventurous and share stories of your lifestyle findings. Boredom needs more enemies.
Connect Others Generously
Perhaps the biggest gift Levy has is in creating community and bringing other like-minded people together.
He’s created serious value for those in his life, and it comes back in spades when he does things like write a book. I personally have met a half dozen influential people at his events who have become friends or have shared my work with their friends.
This is easily reproducible. Start your own dinner party series. Organize your friends for an adventure. Be the person that leads others rather than the one who waits for an invitation.
Adventures do not happen by chance, but rather by creation. The same is true for your business. It won’t grow by itself until you work to provide others with value.