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Lunch – The Most Important Meal of Your “Career”

Have you ever stopped to think how critically important a good productive lunch meeting can be?  There are many times you work straight through lunch while trying to meet that deadline for a high profile project; or you may be participating in a strategic planning session for the upcoming new fiscal year.  You’ve done it many times in your career.  So why not use your lunch to your “career” advantage and strategically plan the time around quality networking with co-workers, managers, colleagues, business partners, etc.

This could be your window of opportunity and a creative way to interact and network with co-workers and colleagues to find out what’s going on in the company, learn more about the company’s culture, future direction, and many important key tips to put you on the fact track for promotion and advancement.

By using this meaningful time to your advantage, following are just a few examples of critical information to help in your quest for success:

  1. Conversations with co-workers are a great way to build rapport as well as learn valuable skills and tips about the department, your boss, important upcoming events, and it also allows you the opportunity to instill a sense of teamwork with the individual. This is especially important if you are new to the company or the department.
  1. If you are experiencing difficulties with departmental processes, building a rapport over lunch will allow you the opportunity to ask for help in areas of weakness. It is your responsibility to perform to the best of your ability, and instead of running to the boss when you don’t understand a process of need help problem solving; discussing the problem over lunch with a trust co-worker is a very strategic move on your part.
  1. You can use this 60 to 75 minute period of time to brainstorm new ideas with colleagues and managers showing them your valuable attributes of creativity, dedication, commitment, and innovation. These are traits that are highly desired by all employers and therefore could put you in the driver’s seat for career advancement.
  1. Build upon your existing network. Whether you expand your network inside or outside the company, it is a “must” requirement for career advancement.  If you have your sights set on a particular promotion, then you are placing yourself ahead of the game by using this valuable time to meet, greet, and get to know the individual as a person.  Offer friendship, and truly listen and ask questions.  People love to know that you care about their personal lives.  And you may be pleasantly surprised to know you have a lot in common outside the workplace.
  1. Use this valuable time to solicit feedback from co-workers, colleagues, and managers. If your job requires a great deal of interaction with external customers, you can gain valuable feedback about now only your performance but also the performance and opinions about the company.  Soliciting feedback and sharing this information with your employers could result in repeat business, enhanced relationships, and many other critical benefits for the company and your career.
  1. Find out how well you are performing in your job. There are structures and processes within your department that may be unclear to you.  This is a good opportunity for you to gain valuable assistance to ensure you perform over and above your employer’s expectations.

This is a powerful way to create success in the workplace, your personal development, and your personal life.  Leverage your relationships to your advantage, and ensure you always make it a win-win situation for everyone involved.  Do not expect to come away with success for you and you alone.  The best relationships are ones where both individuals feel added value.   For 60 to 90 minutes a day, you can easily turn it into a catalyst to move you toward the career of your dreams.

Cathy Holloway-Hill

The author Cathy Holloway-Hill

Cathy Holloway Hill is Founder and CEO of C. Holloway Hill Enterprises, a personal and professional development company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Cathy has local, regional, and national clients who speak highly of her services and have recommended her to their counterparts. In addition to her entrepreneurial work, Cathy has 28 years of executive leadership experience with two Fortune 100 Corporations. After 28 years of Executive Leadership success, Cathy voluntarily left her career to pursue her passion and purpose of helping others to define and design their lives. Cathy has been featured in numerous regional and national publications including Black Enterprises, and Ebony Magazines. She is a member of the National Speakers Association. She was a Premier Coach for eWomenNetwork (over 2.5 million members), and is a Column Writer for Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick. Cathy was a 2012 recipient of the Indiana Torchbearer Award from Governor, Mitch Daniels, which is the highest award a woman can receive in the State of Indiana only awarded to women with a proven vision and commitment to the women of Indiana. Cathy has been selected on numerous occasions to be featured as a Luminary on the global Inspire Me Today website with over 6 million subscribers. She has also worked with Soledad O’Brien’s EmPOWERher Youth Organization as a Workshop Leader and Facilitator. Cathy has a BS in Computer Science, multiple Coaching Certifications (including a Certification on Diversity & Women’s Issues) is Certified in DiSC Assessment, and a Masters in Psychology. For the past 5 years Cathy has designed & facilitated Journey University for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. In this role, Cathy is the catalyst for self-esteem building creating a foundation for young women to design their lives. Initially, this was a pilot program, but Cathy’s work and commitment resulted in the program now having a long “waiting list”. Additionally, she has been recognized by Chevron for her outstanding curriculum design of an Employee Branding initiative that resulted in improved moral and enhanced team relationships for the Louisville location. Employee branding is a critical aspect of Corporate success, and Cathy has a unique special niche in this area. Employees are an Organization’s greatest asset, and tapping into the passions and unique attributes of each individual person is the key to overwhelming success and profits. Cathy hosts a TV Show entitled “Living By Design” which has a 12 million household viewership in Indiana and over 250,000 views on the You Tube channel Cathy’s mantra is: “Live, Love, Learn, and Leave a Legacy!”