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?