How do you use your lunch time?
Lunch time can be used as now only an hour to eat (and take a break) but it can also usefully be used for running errands, catching up on work, doing exercise or learning something new. It can also be used for networking.
The Networking Lunch (whether as a group or as a one to one can be a useful, easy and time-saving way to follow up with your connections.
- use the networking lunch to catch up with internal contacts;
- use the networking lunch to catch up with local contacts including multipliers, clients and potential clients (and one who is on your Networking Strategy Watch List).
- use the networking lunch to catch up with out of town contacts when you are travelling (or when they are dropping in locally).
This week I finally had a rescheduled lunch with a multiplier. We met at a networking event last month. She had no business card, so I gave her mine. I was not sure whether there would be any follow up. However, about a week later I got an email. Our offices are nearby so she had suggested lunch and we fixed a date. After a couple of reschedules – we finally had the lunch.
The venue choice was easy. Her office has one of my favourite venues opposite so I was keen to offer this up as a suggestion. Most networking lunches are about getting to know someone better. This was my goal, pure and simple as I had only met this contact once at a group event.
Getting to know someone can be learning more about what they do and who they work with, learning more about their personal lives and their hobbies and interests etc. The normal networking strategy applies here. Genuinely ask questions and listen.
Finally, the most important thing about having a networking lunch is having a clear idea of what the follow-up will be. I usually try to leave with some concrete plans. For example with this contact we had learned during the course of our lunch that we would both be attending the same event next month. So we now know to look out for each other at that and then after that there would be further follow-up.