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Leveraging Lunch

November 22, 2016 8:27 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


Hello. Thank you for taking the time to stop and read this post. It is the first in a new series that I hope you will find professionally beneficial, personally inspiring, and impactful enough to share with others.

Let’s start by talking about the most important time of the workday; which happens to be lunch. Yes, it is. I don’t say that just because I consider myself to be a foodie (politically correct code for I really like to eat). Lunch is an opportunity for you to network with others and to learn more about the company you are working for.

Every day you have 30 minutes to an hour to get to know someone with whom you work. Here are a few suggestions to help you leverage lunch:

  1. Invite your supervisor to lunch.
  2. Go to lunch with a colleague or group of colleagues.
  3. Go to lunch with someone from another department.
  4. If appropriate for the culture, ask the highest ranking person in the company if you can take them to lunch. (Yes, you should offer to pay).

Lunch Networking tips.

  1. Networking should be mutually beneficial. If you want to be remembered, talk to people about what you can do for them as well as what they can do for you.
  2. Be willing to pay. As the new person, or one who may be making the least others may offer to pay for you. Be humble enough to accept the gesture when appropriate, but also be mindful enough to make the offer.
  3. Ask intriguing questions (nothing to personal and nothing confrontational) about the person. Show genuine interest in who they are and allow them to share about themselves.
  4. It simply may not be in your budget to pay for lunch for someone every week or even for you to pay for yourself to eat out often during lunch. If necessary, having lunch with someone may just be asking if you can eat together during lunch. You bring your sandwiches and they bring theirs, but you share a table and conversation.

Everyone needs a little personal time, and for some that is lunch. There are also times when you may need to connect to the world outside of your workplace. You may even be reading this on a lunch break. Take time for yourself when you need it. Respect the desire of others to do the same, but don’t make excuses or assumptions that can cause you to miss the benefits of having lunch with others. Who will you invite to lunch next?

Author: Demeterius Smith, M.Ed. is the Program Coordinator of Experiential Education at the USC Career Center in Columbia, SC


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