Eat your way to a Better Network

Eat your way to a Better Network
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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Networking schmetworking. We are constantly told that to develop our career, we need to get out there and network.

But how? Where do you start? How exactly do you get out there to meet people and discover new things?

Here is the answer: lunch.pbj

I learned this technique from my colleague, Linda Clark yesterday. She said she makes it her practice to never eat alone. It does not matter how busy she is, she makes her way to our lunch room and chats with whoever is there.

Even if it’s only a few minutes, she is able to connect, share and learn.

This is a great way to start your networking adventure. You can start gradually. Resolve to eat with people twice next week. You can plan ahead and actually make a date with someone that you don’t see often or just drop in to see who’s around.

Lunch is terrific because there are lots of potential conversation topics. You can do the usual “how’s your day going?” but I prefer using food as my opening salvo as in “Gosh that looks good. Did you make it?” That opens the door to all kinds of non-work conversations.

See, that’s real networking. Creating opportunities to learn about what other people do and how they do it. That, in turn, lets you talk about what you do and how you do it so well.

All kinds of new and common threads start connecting you to people. Suddenly, your network is fresh and dynamic and brimming with new opportunities.

And to think, it all started with lunch.

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