Networking Tips

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Mastering Meal Meetings with your Network

By: Eden Creamer-Hurdle
  • Category

    Networking Tips

  • Author

    Eden Creamer-Hurdle

  • Post Date

How many meals do you eat in a day? How many of those meals do you use to better your business?

By traditional standards, you eat 1,095 meals in a year. If you use even a tenth of those meals to establish and grow relationships to better your business, you’d have the opportunity for over 100 meals with business connections.

Are you successfully utilizing the opportunities you have to grow your business? For most, the answer is no. Perhaps you have one meeting over a meal in a month, and maybe 50 percent of the time those meetings are impactful. You learn something new about your connection’s business, or you secure investment for a new project. Those meetings leave you feeling optimistic and recharged.

When you leave those that don’t leave as positive of an impact, more often than not you say, “Well, that’s OK – my meeting last week with Bob went great, so that makes up for this not going as well.”

This mindset is crippling.

Meals are invaluable opportunities to connect with others, to impress, to grow and to learn about their businesses. These opportunities stand alone, and one missed cannot be justified by another gained.

As you plan a meal with a member of your contact, be sure to plan to eat somewhere that is in line with any dietary restrictions they may have. Planning to meet a vegan at a barbeque restaurant may not help your relationship flourish.

At the meal, you should use this opportunity outside of a work-related setting to get to know your contact on a more personal level, including their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, and their passions – their why they do what they do.

If you leave the meal and you do not feel like you know the other person a little bit better than you did before, the meal was not successful. Building relationships, one of BNI’s Core Values, is an important part of growing your business. People want to do business with someone they know, like and trust, and putting in the time to cultivate relationships is key.