Mixing business with pleasure can be a tricky task. It requires delicate balance and tactful strategy. There are those who say, “Don’t do it.” Then, there are those who have built large corporations and successful businesses as a result of doing it. Regardless on which side of the debate you stand, the ability to mix business with pleasure is a required business skill. There are always going to be people that must be dealt with on both sides of the playing field. Here are some tips to help you successfully integrate business and pleasure.
Keep business and pleasure balanced.
Put simply, perform your professional functions while in your work environment and keep the playtime activities for another location. It is probably not a good idea to “tie one on” at the office. Likewise, it is probably not a good idea to go to the bar and attempt to get your administrative work done there.
In order to successfully mix business with pleasure, you must know the boundaries between what is feasible and what is just not possible. Only certain aspects of business can be mixed with pleasure.
Act accordingly in whatever setting you find yourself.
No matter where you are, the opportunity for business can arise. It is for this reason that you find people of the same business type congregated in the same locations. It is a common mistake to drink too much and act foolishly when out on the town. A reputation developed in your spare time can catch up with you in your professional endeavors, having devastating effects on your business.
It also doesn’t help your cause to push ideas and sales pitches into the face of every person that you meet, especially if the people at your location are trying to relax. Simply having regular conversation can lead to great business deals. (That is, as long as you are tactful and considerate.)
Find the right place to socialize.
If it is your turn to entertain coworkers and clients, make sure to find out what they like and what type of places they frequent. Without this information, you are playing “Russian roulette” with your business relationships. When you entertain coworkers and business prospects in environments that suit their taste, you are inviting success into your business dealings and improving your working friendships.
Whatever you do, never try to be something or someone that you’re not. People can see right through these types of charades. When you find yourself in a situation that seems dull, try to go along with it as much as possible. There is no need to exaggerate anything or showboat. Just be yourself and roll with the evening, striving to be as pleased and pleasant as possible.
Do not take people’s words at face value.
During times of social interaction, people will say things they do not really mean and agree to items that are of no real purpose to them. Come Monday they will tell you they have no recollection of having said anything. It is important to understand that agreements reached and stances taken outside of work in a social arena do not have the full force of an agreement made in the professional environment. Someone may tell you “yes” in a leisure setting, only to find themselves slammed with a new project back at work. You need to keep this in mind when making agreements in a leisurely atmosphere. Though it is all right to lay the groundwork for new business deals, try to iron out the fine print back at the office.
Many people are successful in business simply because they know how to make deals and interact professionally outside of working hours. They have learned to be serious when necessary and to play hard whenever the time comes. No matter what business you are in, you cannot afford to be a recluse. It is important to keep up appearances.
(Image courtesy of Ken30684 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)
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