I’ve always trusted my gut instinct. I believe when you meet someone there is either a connection or not. It’s the chemistry between you that is the foundation of trust; the building block for a relationship. We’re not talking sexual chemistry here – more that feeling you get that screams – I can work with this person. They get me. Carl Gustav Jung summed this up well: “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Chemistry has to be a mutual connection and for me, this is a fundamental building block for any successful business relationship. Here are my thoughts on why chemistry is important in business.
HOW DOES CHEMISTRY RELATE TO BUSINESS?
A study into the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs by the Innovation Hub found that start-ups want ‘personal chemistry and trust above all other considerations when weighing up potential investors.’ Scientific proof it seems that people want to do business with those they like, know and trust.
Recently, on the latest series of my Events That Made Me podcast, I spoke with the inexorable PA, Sarah Jane Heath. The former management assistant of Take That and latterly, personal PA to Howard Donald and Mark Owen. She described to me, how it was a chance meeting, fuelled by a mutual chemistry that led her to that role – one that would see her travel the world and experience so many amazing things. If she hadn’t felt such an instant connection with someone who worked for Mark Owen, who she described as her ‘instant best friend’, would her life have ever taken such an extraordinary pathway? Who knows? But she will certainly say that chemistry played its part.
Having recently celebrated Valentine’s Day and noting the importance we put on chemistry in our personal lives, I’m always left to wonder why people don’t follow the same rule in business. Perhaps because chemistry is immeasurable, inexplicable even. It’s difficult to align a feeling against a monetary goal or KPI. Yet for me, it’s everything!
Over the past thirty years I’ve worked with many different people. From huge organisations and to celebrities and private clients who prefer to stay that way. Some relationships thrived. Others fell by the wayside. The difference was chemistry.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE CHEMISTRY ISN’T THERE?
I have turned down what could have been extremely lucrative endeavours because the chemistry simply wasn’t there. If I can’t envisage working with a person for the long term, I simply don’t. For me, the litmus test for starting a new business relationship, should always be whether you feel you can work with the person or team that’s putting your event together. Ironically there’s no scientific formula for how to measure this. It’s all about the feeling. You don’t have to socialise with them. You don’t even have to like them personally (although it helps), but a mutually respectful professional relationship is essential.
Of the many things coronavirus has taken from our industry, one of the hardest things I’ve found to navigate is the lack of face-to-face interaction. As a businesswoman I have always relied heavily on gut instinct. When I embark on a new venture, chemistry plays a huge part in the people I want to take on the journey with me. Be they clients, partners, suppliers or staff. The chemistry has to be right. And that is why during the pandemic, I’ve found the lack of interaction difficult. Not just because I’m a sociable person but because chemistry is something very difficult to gauge via video call.
WHY IS CHEMISTRY IMPORTANT IN THE EVENTS INDUSTRY?
For event planners there is chemistry in every part of our working process, not just in people but in the places too. Anyone who has got married or planned a big event knows the importance of ‘the feeling’. That experience of walking into a venue and instantly knowing that this is the one. A virtual tour, no matter how sophisticated, simply doesn’t have the same impact for me. I like to touch, smell, feel and experience a venue on every level. It’s the best way for me to envisage how the event will take shape.
And what about the relationship between venue owner and event planner. Surely chemistry should play its part there too. In handing your venue over to somebody – there has to be an element of trust. Trust that there will be a mutual respect, that as an event planner you will treat the venue with the same care that you would your own home. The chemistry of this is crucial to building a long-term relationship that benefits both parties. The UK has so many amazing venues – I do have my favourites and that’s usually less to do with the bricks and mortar and more to do with the owner.
In terms of the suppliers I use, again chemistry plays a huge part. I’m lucky enough now to have a network of suppliers that would go above and beyond for me if needed, but when starting out and building those relationships I like to meet each and every one in person to see if we click.
FOLLOW THE CHEMISTRY
Now in my role as a consultant, there are even more reasons why chemistry is important in business. My clients are buying into me. Liz Taylor the person, Liz Taylor the ideas, Liz Taylor the brand. There would be no point in asking somebody to invest their confidence and time into me if the connection, understanding and respect weren’t there.
So, there are many reasons why chemistry is important in business but for me the overriding one is that business (and life) is about personal choice and happiness. If a relationship is lacking chemistry, eventually it will dwindle, so why give your energy to something that won’t reward your hard work. Far better to follow the personal connections that light you up, that spark your imagination and make want to leap out of bed in the morning ready to start another day. Follow the chemistry and you won’t go far wrong.
This article from Steve Tobak, “5 Ways Chemistry Leads to Business Success”, is worth considering. He raises the point that chemistry in business could be more about effect than cause: 5 Ways Chemistry Leads to Business Success – CBS News
Can you create chemistry in your team? Imagine if you had more insight into what makes people tick, how some interactions unlock potential while others hinder it. Suppose you had a way to gain people’s trust, influence them, motivate them, and get the very most out of your work relationships. Authors Kim Christfort and Suzanne Vickburg believe you can, in their book, “Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships”. Take a look: Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships: Amazon.co.uk: Christfort, Kim, Vickberg, Suzanne: 9781119501565: Books