JV Partnerships and the Long, Slow Lunch

Wait! Before you form that joint business venture, are you sure about the person you’re partnering with? Does he or she hold your same values? Is she easy to work with? Collaborating with others on products and programs can be a fantastic experience. It can also be a disaster – and sometimes a costly one.

We hear a lot today about the importance of forming mutually beneficial relationships with others to build your business, but we don’t hear much about exactly how to do that. Or sure, there is plenty said about attending networking events, conferences and seminars where you might meet people who are interested in JV partnerships, but that’s just the beginning. Finding out if you even want to build a relationship with someone is the next step, and that involves getting to know them better – a lot better.

That’s where the long, slow lunch comes in.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from living in Italy is the importance of the long, slow lunch. Too often we schedule a meeting over coffee or lunch, but it’s all a rush. In fact, even networking luncheons have become hurried affairs, with attendees spending most of the time on their phones or texting.

The long, slow lunch strategy begins with blocking time to get to know a potential joint venture business partner better. That sounds simple enough, but too often today we’re rushing through our time with one person to get to our next appointment.

But blocking out time is just the beginning. During a long, slow lunch it’s especially important to open up your observation skills and heighten your senses. When you consciously heighten your senses, you’ll become aware of things that might otherwise slip right past you.

How does this person interact with others? Is she kind or rude to the wait staff? Does she ask questions about you or does she just talk about herself? How are you feeling as she talks? Inspired? Nervous? Unsure?

Here’s an easy assignment to help you stay focused on using your senses when you’re getting to know someone (hopefully over a long, slow lunch) with whom you might collaborate.

The Observation List:

Write an observation list beforehand so that you’re ready to notice things. Here are just a few things you might add to your list:

Punctuality
Energy level
Attitude
Interactions with Others
Body Language
Topics of Conversation
Ability to Focus
Listening Skills
Interest Level

Heightening your awareness when you meet with a potential joint venture business partner – over a long, slow lunch – is a simple, effective way to be sure you’re both on the same page, so to speak. But there’s a second piece to this strategy that’s just as important.

I’ll be covering that part 2! Coming soon …

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