Starting last year, even before the “time of Covid,” my son made a special request. “Mama, if I promise to help, can we start eating dinner at home more often?” Casting aside my feelings of guilt for the four, five or six (ok, sometimes seven) nights of the week we would eat out, I reluctantly said, “yes.” You see, my days (like yours, I’m sure) are busy! The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was prepare a meal. Consulting with friends who I knew to be avid cooks – people, unlike me, who ensured their families dined at home more nights than not – I asked for advice. The one consistent tip: Plan ahead.
And, so, we did. Especially when stay-at-home guidance was put in force, on Saturdays, Ian and I began making two lists. The first, a list, Monday through Friday, of what our dinner would consist of including an entrée, a vegetable, and a starch. The second, our shopping list, generally organized by department for efficiency’s sake.
To my own amazement, it has worked wonders! My husband, son and I have all gotten involved in the planning, shopping, preparation, dining, and clean up. And, much to my shock and delight, my skills in the kitchen have improved multifold. It’s all decided in advance. Most nights, we cook. Some nights, we order takeout. We have discovered a great balance of tried-and-true dishes we know well, new recipes we are curious about, and other people’s cooking for those nights we need a little break. We all love it.
What does this have to do with Networking? Well, think of the advance planning you could be doing to connect with others. For starters, like preparing an old family favorite, make a list of those already in your relationship base who you would like to reconnect with – people who you already know and are familiar with. Then, like that new recipe that you’ve been itching to try, get adventuresome and make a list of people who you would like to meet for the first time. A business week’s-worth of “coffees” or “lunches” will do. Get ‘em scheduled. As you would cook one meal, plan one get-together per day (or per week). Your interactions can be virtual or in person.
All told, the effort you put into planning ahead will reduce your anxieties about networking and bolster the quality of your interactions. Your prowess will improve over time. It will be delicious!
Do you have an approach to “meal planning” (food and/or networking related) to share with the CLC Community? How about your favorite menu? Please take a moment to comment blog.coffeelunchcoffee.com.