Lunches Fuel Networking Opportunities

Fork_KnifeLike many people, I frequently eat my lunch at my desk. I at least try to use that time to catch up on online reading. However, I am guaranteed at least two lunches outside the office each month.

It’s a professional goal I established for myself many years ago – namely, to connect with colleagues at my workplace and with colleagues within my profession. Each month I schedule lunch with a colleague where I work. It’s a time to take a break and to get to know each other better. We also usually share work-related information. One colleague, for example, has helped me develop a better understanding of the budget process. Another colleague and I discuss leadership and team building. Mainly it allows for the connecting to happen that often doesn’t in the office because we’ll all too busy.

I also connect with peers. It’s a great way to learn what others are doing. We share frustrations, and I find it’s always good to know I’m not alone. Even better, we work to find solutions. We also share best practices and bounce ideas around. I always return from these lunches reinvigorated.

Turns out this a great tool. In his book Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi says that social settings are a great way to reach out to colleagues and future contacts. Ferrazzi is founder and CEO of the training and consulting firm Ferrazzi Greenlight and a contributor to Inc., the Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review.

Some months I’m able to get a few extra lunches onto my schedule. And sometimes I find breakfast to be the perfect time to reconnect because it’s usually a shorter time since we’re both ready to get to the office and because it’s the start of the day, we usually have lots of ideas.

How do you connect?

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2 thoughts on “Lunches Fuel Networking Opportunities

  1. Lisa says:

    Very good points made here Cynthia!

    As I am getting ready to embark on a self-employed venture after 5 months of unemployment, one of the things that I miss the most are the instant connections that I had at work!

    You take it a step further by suggesting colleagues in other departments along with peer colleagues! I am going to take up your challenge to schedule 2 lunches a month!

    Thank you!
    Lisa Beaudry

    • I’ve gone so far as to make a chart and track it. Seems extreme but it keeps me on track. Sometimes it’s easy almost too easy to cancel lunch plans and yet, you can gain so much from the conversation. Good luck and let me know you do.

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