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The Invitation Says You Count, Not the Going
When you finally understand that it is the invitation, not the going, that tells other that they count, everything about relationships begins to look differently.
Inviting others is a cornerstone of relational prowess. Creating events and experiences to invite others to is both fun and the first part of the equation. It doesn’t matter whether the invited party actually attends because it is the invitation itself that carries the most relational meaning. Invitations tell others that they matter to you. By their exclusivity, invitations confirm the invited party holds a special status with you.
Leaders with strong relationship skills learn to pass along invitations, as well. When tickets or other opportunities to attend events present themselves, leaders prefer to pass them along when they can, as opposed to saying, “No thanks.” There’s always someone else who would feel highly valued by receiving the invitation from you.
When it comes to invitations, leaders who are fabulous at developing relationships also live by a simple rule: The first people they always invite are those who likely can’t go. Why? Because they can’t go. They don’t take up a space. There is never a downside to telling someone that they count in your eyes. An invitation says exactly that.
This is not to suggest leaders should invite people who clearly cannot attend. That would be disingenuous. But missing the opportunity to extend an invitation to those unlikely to attend is foolhardy if those people are important to you. Waiting for them to decline before inviting others is rarely a hardship.
While you’re at it, invite those special people who might be honored to receive the invitation but will undoubtedly decline. High-status people, senior leaders, local personalities, politicians, and highly-acclaimed experts come to mind. You might be surprised to learn that those people are so flattered to be invited that they begin a new conversation with you just to say thanks. Some will even show up.
Inviting six people to an event with four tickets is a dangerous way to live. Inviting two people to the same event because you think everyone will likely decline suggests you don’t understand the power of an invitation. An invitation is a summons to gather self-esteem. The best leaders use them to create thick and meaningful connections to people.