Right now, many people are seeking to improve their lives in a specific way. Some are searching for work after a long stint of unemployment. Others have taken up new ventures and are wondering how to fund those endeavors.
During career transitions, people often revert back to thinking of the past and fixating on things that didn’t work out well or were difficult to solve. Sometimes, it’s useful to reference the past in search of answers, but too much backtracking can stall or even block creative problem solving. When you’ve reached an impasse, stop and take a break. After you’ve taken a break, you can start thinking about leveraging your network in a fresh way to help you problem solve.
Looking for a creative way to tap into the network you already have? Take a look at one of my methods called Strategic Lunching:
- Invite three to five of your contacts to lunch. It could be people that are in regular contact, employed or not, a group that does not know each other or a mix!
- Ask people to lunch who you know are generous, reciprocal and overall, maintain a positive attitude on networking. Remember, this aspect is extremely important in the idea of Strategic Lunching because it will undoubtedly impact the tone of the lunch as well as the quality of giving and receiving.
- Select a date and time that is convenient for everyone.
- Tell each guest that they will have 15 minutes to discuss something they’re seeking help with.
- Inform your guests that, as the host, you’ll facilitate the time and general conversation.
- Don’t forget paper, pens & business cards!
At the lunch:
- Have each person write down a situation they’re currently seeking help with and the type of help they want, such as advice, listening only, referrals, brainstorming, etc. This creates a framework for others so they now how to help.
- Ask your colleagues to take notes for each other, allowing each person to focus on receiving – not note taking – when it’s their turn to express their needs.
- As the host, keep track of time and give 5 minute indicators to each person so they are not suddenly cut off.
- End the lunch with an acknowledgement of each attendant’s contribution.
- Keep your colleagues accountable by reminding them to follow up on any help they offered during the lunch.
If you already partake in Strategic Lunching, share your strategy with friends and other contacts in your network! If you haven’t yet gotten the chance to experience this wonderful session of reciprocity and true progress, give it a try! It certainly won’t be “lunch-as-usual”