Sharing my learnings from the book, You’re Invited by Jon Levy.
You’re Invited by Jon Levy
Behavioral scientist Jon Levy had no money, reputation or status, but was able to convince groups of Nobel Laureates, Olympians, celebrities, Fortune 500 executives, and even an occasional princess to not only give him advice, but cook him dinner, wash his dishes, sweep his floors, and then thank him for the experience. The goal of his gatherings, much like this book, was not networking, but to build meaningful and lasting relationships.
This private community became known as “The Influencers”, named for the member’s success and industry influence. Since its inception more than a decade ago, The Influencers has grown into the largest private group of its kind worldwide, with a thriving community both in person and through digital experiences.
In You’re Invited, Levy guides readers through the art and science of creating deep and meaningful connections with anyone, regardless of their stature or celebrity, and demonstrates how we develop influence, gain trust, and build community so that we can achieve what’s important to us.
- By the time he’d reached his late twenties, John Levy was struggling. His start-up had failed, and he was grappling with the turmoil of the financial crash of 2008. He knew he wanted to make a difference in the world, but he just didn’t know how. So he hosted a dinner party and invited 12 strangers to cook for him. From those humble beginnings, the Influencers Dinner was born – a network that now comprises thousands of people including Nobel laureates, Olympic champions, and award-winning musicians.
- Jean Nidetech, a woman desperate to lose weight, knew she should change her diet and exercise habits. But she didn’t know how to make herself commit. Jean’s breakthrough came when she realized that thousands of women around her were having the same problems – they just weren’t talking about it.
- Jean decided to break the silence. She invited a group of women to her home to discuss their experiences with weight loss and dieting. The women were thrilled to finally have the chance to talk openly and get support. That group became a little multimillion-dollar business called Weight Watchers. Why was it so successful? Because it tapped into our deep need for connection. Humans evolved in tribes; we’ve always needed each other for survival.
- Humans are wired to build trusting relationships with other people. But trusting other people can also make us vulnerable to getting hurt. So we’ve developed handy screening mechanisms and biases to make it easier to know who to trust – and who to avoid. So how do you build trust quickly?
- rely on trusted referrals. The new client then tends to trust them on the basis that their friends do. This is known as “the halo effect,” and it’s a powerful shortcut for building trust.
- place people in a situation where they’re required to be vulnerable with one another. When people reveal vulnerability and mutually receive help, they create what researcher Jeffrey Polzer calls “vulnerability loops,” which quickly boost trust within a community.
- people value the opportunity to give more than they value the opportunity to receive. because people care about things they put effort into.
- Encountering people who are different from you exposes you to new ideas and perspectives. And connecting with a wide range of people is especially important if you want to have broader influence in the world by creating, for example, a business or social movement.
- you can connect with anyone if you approach them with empathy and consideration. But you need to understand the unique social pressures that different groups of people face – and then develop tailor-made invitations that contribute to their lives.
- Global influencers, like Oprah, are so strapped for time that it’s fruitless to reach out to them directly. It’s much better to build relationships with people in their orbit – like friends or personal assistants – and then ask for an introduction from someone they trust.
- Industry leaders are more approachable, but they’re also extremely busy. You have to make sure that you offer them an opportunity to participate in an event with real value.
- Connecting with community influencers requires a slightly different approach. Red Bull wanted to reach out to artists and club-goers. Most companies would sponsor a trendy music festival, or pay a celebrity for endorsement. But Red Bull took another approach: it set up its own music academy.
- Communities are more than just groups of people. They’re people who feel a special sense of belonging to one another – and to a common cause.
- membership – There needs to be a clear demarcation between the people within a community and those who are outside. membership is created when people feel emotional safety within a community.
- influence – community members all have the chance to help determine what happens within the community – and to make a contribution. It’s a reciprocal interaction; they’re also able to receive contributions
- shared values – These shared desires are the fuel that maintains a community over time.
- emotional connection – they come together to share the experience. This could be online or offline, but it involves genuine interaction and building trust between members.
- We can use our understanding of human behavior to create events designed to help people connect, and to put them at ease.
- to build a long-lasting, trusting relationship with other people, you need to be competent, honest, and benevolent – you always need to have their best interests at heart. Always be transparent about your motivations for hosting an event, and make sure to be upfront if you’re collaborating with a brand or receiving sponsorship.
- When we’re creating communities, we need to design backward. We need to figure out what kind of community we want to create and what our key values are.
- When you’re creating your own events, start small. Identify something you care about, and then think of how you would like to contribute to a community of people. Whatever you’re designing, remember that the key is to issue an invitation – an invitation for people to connect and become part of something larger than themselves.