It’s Friday! Only a few hours left before your two-day break from another week of work.
Even during summertime, when we are supposed to get away and enjoy a change in pace, it can feel like the rinse/repeat cycle of our work lives drones on. We transition from one email to the next, then on to the next project, then on to the next client.
This same predictable pattern also informs our networking. Most of us tend to view lunch as the best opportunity to get out of the office and have a social interaction with a client, prospect, or referral source. But consider that the forum for your networking can often inform the quality of the experience.
When I think back on my last networking lunch… I draw a blank. I honestly can’t remember who I met with or where we ate. There is just a blur of unremarkable conversations over Caesar salads and iced teas.
The networking experiences that stand out for me either took place over an exceptional meal or at an unusual locale. I once met a referral source at a museum. I discovered that he has a truly thoughtful take on modern art. I also discovered that we had several useful introductions for one another. Another time, I met a client at a wine store. He showed me some of his favorite bottles, then we visited the tasting room to discuss how we might do some business together.
I am not suggesting that an interesting activity is a guarantee to new business. However, I have found that when both parties can relax and create a unique, shared experience, they deepen their relationship more than they might in a generic setting. Some of you already do this when you marry your passion for, say, golfing, with the deals you strike on the green. But for those who find networking to be a chore, consider changing the venue to someplace you love so you can share more of yourself with the people you meet.
Authored by David Ackert