This makes me an ideal candidate for going out for lunch. I find Doing Lunch is a great opportunity to take a break from my office and feel the vibe of the outside world. It’s also an important way to network.
However, there is a down side to taking this kind of break in my day. If I don’t make the most of it, it can be a big, fat waste of time.
The reality is this: Doing Lunch is a commitment of time, money and energy. These are three resources that are vital to your personal productivity.
Here are 5 ways you can ensure your lunch break doesn’t eat into your productivity:
1. Have lunch on purpose
What’s your goal for Doing Lunch? Is it to build a relationship with someone? Maybe it’s to find out about their business challenges. Whatever the reason, know it in advance. It will keep the conversation focused and on track. (Tip: Don’t use the hour to give a sales pitch, otherwise next time you’ll be eating alone.)
2. Location, location, location
Choose a restaurant that is close in proximity to where your lunch date is located. You want to make it easy and effortless for them to get to the restaurant. You may even ask them if they have a favourite lunch spot and meet there.
3. This lunch has 60 minutes
Show respect for your lunch date’s time by keeping it to an hour. Here are some ways to help you do that:
- Make a reservation. Nothing is worse than wasting time standing in line or waiting for a table.
- Arrive early. That way you can get settled and check out the menu ahead of time. You can also talk to your waiter/waitress and inform them that you only have an hour. You’d be amazed at how this speeds up your service.
- Order your drinks and meal at the same time. This can save you precious minutes. It also means you won’t be interrupted again to order your meal.
4. Follow up
Send a thank you note by email or snail mail. Mention next steps or reference a helpful article that may address a business challenge they are experiencing. Now that you’ve connected, it’s up to you to maintain and grow the relationship.
5. Get back to work
Often we return from lunch so relaxed that it’s difficult to get back into work mode. This is where some pre-planning can get you over the hump. Before you leave for lunch, make sure you have your afternoon tasks planned and scheduled so you can just slip right back into your groove.
Do you build your network by Doing Lunch? Where is your favourite spot to meet and why? Share your comments below and continue the conversation.