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Time to ‘lunch’ your career

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in Workplace Communication

In the past month, have you asked someone to lunch who has made an impact on your life and career? If you’re drawing a blank, pick up the phone, make a date and go out to lunch!

“Wait!” you say. “I don’t have time to go out!” “I can’t afford to go out!” “I’m not comfortable asking someone out!” If so, you’re missing out on the most powerful business skill: creating connections.

“Wait!” you say. “I’m connecting all the time with others—why lunch?” There’s no faster and better way to create and nurture a business relationship than through lunch.

Lunch is one of the few places left during business hours where people actually talk to each other without being interrupted. It reminds us to connect, ask questions, listen and learn.

Whom should you invite? Anyone you respect, admire or have curiosity toward is a good start. Don’t hesitate to think outside your department or office. Not sure what to say? Whether in person or on the phone, introduce yourself and add a sincere compliment. “I’ve always admired (your contribution to the company newsletter, your department’s ability to spot trends, your warmth and grace under pressure, etc.) and would enjoy sharing lunch with you in the near future. I’m happy to work within whatever time frame you have available.”

At the restaurant, say, “Your time is extremely valuable, and I thank you for the gift of joining me. I’ve been looking forward to learning more about (any area of interest that allows the individual to shine).” This approach is an excellent way to get the conversation started in a positive way. Come prepared to share some of your own interests so the conversation doesn’t become an interrogation.

If given the opportunity, privately let the server know that you will be picking up the tab. After all, you did the inviting. Toward the end of the meal, excuse yourself and pay the bill. This gesture leaves a lasting impression you are a giver versus a taker, which is key to developing strong business relationships.

Why not invite someone out today? You won’t be eating away precious time or money, but rather investing in your network. In today’s market, your network is your net worth.


Author: A former admin, Colette Carlson is a motivational speaker who specializes in assertive communication and is founder of  SpeakYourTruth.com.

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