Do you have a love-hate relationship with networking?
Does the misperception that networking is cheesy, sleazy, and awkward keep you from putting together a plan that might actually help your career and your business?
Perhaps you’ve networked effectively in the past, but have neglected the habit lately and just need a jump start?
If any one of these three questions describes you, then give Coffee Lunch Coffee a try.
For National Writer’s month in November of 2011, my friend, Alana Muller, began writing online daily about her experience networking during a past period of career transition. She talked about her practice of meeting three new people every day; for coffee, lunch, then coffee again. The approach she described was natural, humble, and practical. By the end of the November, she had attracted a following of hundreds. Many regular readers, myself included, urged her to continue the conversation. She continued blogging through 2012 and began writing a book.
One year later, Alana’s new book, Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide For Master Networking is now published. I want to let Seven Story Learning readers know about this book, because the ability to share your story (and prompt a story from others) is central to connecting with others. In addition to being an author, Alana is President of Kauffman FastTrac® and I should disclose that she is a personal friend and professional collaborator. In fact, there’s some Seven Story Learning content in this book! That being said, I do not have financial interest in the book – I’m sharing this because I think her ideas make sense.
Top 3 Things I Love about the Coffee Lunch Coffee Approach
- Community Approach
Alana points out that networking is not primarily about self-interest.
“The best networkers connect with others for long-term relationship building without knowledge of what, specifically, that relationship may ultimately bring to their lives. They do so in a completely selfless manner, without expectation of payback or remuneration. They are not networking to simply get ahead, or to change jobs, or to develop their sales pipeline. Rather, they are passionate about something, they want to connect and share their interests with others who are equally passionate. It is a virtuous cycle that can have major, long-term, life altering implications.”
As you can imagine, the variety of stories in the book immediately caught my attention. Real world stories bring the concepts and framework of the CLC book to life. Alana puts theory into practice, sharing personal stories and examples from guests showing how networking works at its best. The stories make this book memorable and enjoyable to read.
CLC also offers questions, guidelines, and planning sheets to develop a personal networking plan for who you are today, aligned with your goals and principles. The “Four Lists” worksheets, in particular, really help put intention into action. It’s all very practical. They’re available in the book, or free to subscribers here.
I hope you enjoy this helpful field guide as much as I have!