The Power of the Invitation

I’ve been rethinking invitations.

My invites are usually sent via text or email, and they are pure pragmatism: a where, a when, a “Looking forward!”

But a few loosely connected ideas have been reshaping my invite approach:

First, invitations are like the opening bars of a good song: they draw you in and set the tone for what kind of experience this will be - hipshaker, heartbreaker, moodmaker.

Second, I love how the poet Billy Collins says that he wants the first few lines of his poems to be hospitable.

Then this: I interviewed a famous interviewer who said that the conversation itself starts with the invitation.

Wrap all these pieces together and an invitation goes from a way to get someone to an experience to a powerful part of the experience itself.

At its most meaningful core, an invitation is a means of showing someone: You are wanted.

You don’t have to bring out the fife and drum corps to invite someone to coffee or send a singing telegram to schedule the next staff meeting, though you are certainly welcome to. A terrific invitation can still come via text or email. We need only be thoughtful enough that our invite can - in a world that is so often unwelcoming - say:

You are welcome here. Please come. It will be better for your presence.

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