Where do successful people get their lunch?

career letter

Coincidental and initially purposeless encounters often result in new projects, jobs and recommendations. So not every encounter has to be under the keyword "use" or "purpose". Here the meeting at a lunch date, nothing else is hidden behind the "systematic lunch", great potential for the conversation partners.

Who is this text for? Who would like to know how, beyond online networks and clubs, you can also network and be open and curious about other people.

Mixture of random and strategic approaches

What's the best way to go about building a network? Most of the time, a mix of random and strategic approaches is just the thing. A nice idea for that is "Systematic lunch".

The idea is not new and not mine either: The American Keith Ferrazzi formulated it in his 2005 bestseller Never eat alone. Here he describes how he built a large network at meetings over dinner. For our networking, this means: It is not so important whether it is about lunch, a cocktail or a coffee - it is about a small, joint meeting, with peace and quiet to exchange.

The principle: you never eat lunch alone.

You go out to eat with a different person each time. While eating, you can have a casual chat with your conversation partner. You can do small talk, but you can also go into depth.

Some might say now: “It's totally artificial. I go out to lunch with my colleagues every lunchtime, so it gets really weird when I sit down with someone else.

It's very simple: If you normally go to the canteen with your colleagues, it makes sense to sit down with colleagues from another department. A hook helps, of course: It can be a joint sport or a project in which you work together.

Suddenly you are talking about completely different topics and get a completely different view of your company. Perhaps there are also other colleagues who will provide additional impetus.

Perhaps you will find out about a vacancy in internal management consulting that is looking for someone with an engineering background. You will often receive a lot of additional information in such conversations.
These meetings are of course not only suitable in the canteen, but also on other occasions.

If you have studied the humanities or social sciences, it can be worthwhile to make targeted contact with former students from your department. Take advantage of the opportunities that XING offers you for research and talk to alumni whether they have the time and are in the mood for lunch or coffee. You should take every opportunity to get in touch with the alumni.

In this way you can see which jobs are available for graduates in your field and, above all, which employers could be of interest to you. That opens up a lot more perspectives for you. You may also find out about projects or positions that have not yet been advertised and for which you can then apply at an early stage.

Tips not only for new jobs

Building a network across the company not only helps with tips for new jobs, but also with questions. For example, if you are new to your job or on a project, it helps to know who to talk to if you have any questions. That saves a lot of time and energy.

Sometimes a tradition develops on this: once one colleague invites, then the other again, so that overall there is a more informal exchange.

#neverlunchalone = too abstract? Just try it out!

First of all, the idea of ​​“systematic lunch” sounds very abstract at first. Of course, you are not “forced” to always have lunch with someone else for lunch.

5 tips for your #neverlunchalone:

  • Listen to yourself! If you are a very sociable person, it may suit you to engage with someone else every day. If you're one of those introverted people, once a week is enough - and maybe just with someone you already know.
  • Do you decide spontaneously: coffee or not? Lunch takes about an hour. If it's a nice chat, we'll have a cup of coffee. If not, you have to leave on time.
  • Set a goal. If you want to try #neverlunchalone, determine how often you would like to meet at least - and who your preferred interlocutors are. This brings commitment and systematicity to your network. By then, when you've gotten some practice, you can set a new goal, maybe twice a week or even every other day.
  • Be open and curious about people. Especially people who are not particularly sympathetic to you at first train your communication skills.
  • Look for different people. Especially someone who comes from a completely different area and has a completely different background can give you valuable impulses. And even if you have to explain something to someone exactly what you are doing, it trains your skills.
  • Think of the appointment as a nice work appointment.
  • Be interesting. What could be interesting for your counterpart? What could you talk about? It doesn't have to be professional. Travel or sports are also often stimulating topics of conversation.

Does that bring anything?

Yes, it brings something, even a lot. Not immediately, however, and not always. And sometimes a recommendation doesn't necessarily come from the same person you met, especially not when you expect it to. However, tips for contacts, procedures and important information, recommendations for employers or even specific jobs emerge fairly quickly.

You shouldn't forget one thing: You too are of course a source of information and can provide information to your interlocutors.

Otherwise: Bon appetit!

Book tips & links:

Ute blinds

My topic: Networking in digital times for entrepreneurs and companies. I also give lectures + advise entrepreneurs and companies. More at www.uteblindest.de, Bilanz.de, in the book: “Per Netzwerk zum Job” (Campus 2015) / Kölsch Hätz / # DMW-Aficionada / Rollwend-Bezwingerin.