Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Taking heed of my own advice from last week, to think about people, I invited a business contact out to lunch. Nothing unusual in that you may think, but this time I decided to have a ‘no agenda’ agenda, instead of going into it with a firm business related outcome in mind.
It’s tempting to think of a business lunch as ‘productive time’ and therefore we need to have some structure to it perhaps, or something businessy to discuss, or have an issue we need to resolve. These are all well and good, but can ignore the fact that because people-buy-people there are times when we need to remove our commercial hat and just be ‘a people’.
Heading into my lunch I decided that I would keep my notepad in my pocket, not have six questions that needed answering and instead just aim to make a friend.
Making a friend first is a good way to do business. As we build a friendship our levels of trust increase and we tend to share more information. Which of course can lead us to reveal new options for working together.
And given that business is based on trust, who would you rather do business with – a friend or a stranger?
So, next time you go for a business meeting how about having a ‘no agenda’ agenda and trust the process of interaction to deliver something interesting?
My lunch was great, I found a friend and it was useful to be reminded that we don’t need to force the pace all the time.
…We can get a high-chair for Crow; he’s really quite well mannered in most restaurants.
One really simple way to get ourselves out and about and doing some useful networking is simply to do lunch. I mention this because recently I’ve had two lunches where I met business friends for a natter and with no set agenda.
Because we were relaxed we had friendly chats. And…and this is the key point here…in both cases I came away with new options for networking and for pursuing marketing activities.
It reminded me that often we don’t really know what our friends are doing and what other skills they have until we talk to them.
So, here’s my 4-step plan to get us started:
1. Pick a friend who is in similar situation to yourself, e.g. running their own business.
2. Invite them out to lunch, or to meet up for tea and cake.
3. Have a relaxed friendly chat and mention your frustrations.
4. Ask if they know of any solutions, or options for actions?
The key thing is that we need to be comfortable enough to reveal our frustrations. Doing this is a great way to move the conversation from gentle ‘pastiming’ into something more purposeful and ‘activity’ related.
Pastiming is a word from TA and it means a safe level of conversation where we risk little and get little in return. Activity, in a TA context, is when we move beyond platitudes and start to do some work. We risk more, by perhaps revealing concerns, but we get more in return.
So, if you’re wrestling with a problem, want to increase your networking activities, or are chewing the end of your pencil over an issue, then my suggestion is to stop. And to start doing lunch.
You never know how useful it might be and what new possibilities will open up for you.
Where could lunch take you?
This week it’s taking me out to dinner…for more networking with interesting people.
Tags: lunch, networking, tip
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