We all have to eat. And whether we admit it or not, we all need a break sometimes. So, why not invite a client or colleague to lunch? Aside from the obvious benefits of nourishment, here’s a few reasons why lunching is a great way to build relationships.
You get to relate on a social level. It’s a chance to discuss family, hobbies, interests, volunteering efforts, current events, etc. It’s a chance to “catch up”. It’s an opportunity to learn about opportunities.
But more than that, lunch is a great way to show your appreciative side. Taking a client or colleague to lunch says “thank you” in a sincere way. After all, it shows you don’t mind spending time with them.
It shows you’re a team player. If your team regularly meets for lunch, join them, at least occasionally. It’ll show you’re open and friendly. Plus, it’s an easy way to avoid the inevitable “He/she really doesn’t like us” your absence will spark.
However, if your team’s lunch table consists of gossip and/or other questionable topics (politics, religion and sex are a few), THIS DOES NOT APPLY. Your fitting into the lunch culture is not worth the dent to your professional image.
You may learn something valuable. I once found out a high-level executive liked my work, but wasn’t sure how to take my quietness in meetings. Moving forward I spoke up more and if I didn’t have something constructive to add I would say that as well. In just a few meetings I noticed the executive warmed up to me, fostering a great working relationship.
Towanda Long aka The Café Lady