Sep 22 2011

LetsLunch Networking Tip #2: Bird in hand worth two in the bush

Now more than ever, you should be working to expand your professional network by attending meetups, pitch events, and scheduling LetsLunches; but what about the network you already have in place?  Maintaining a robust network is as equally important as building one but most people leave the new relationship as a simple invitation to connect on Linkedin.  You should never overlook the network you have in place as a source of new opportunities but avoid being that “friend” who only calls when they need something.  Here are some tips on ensuring your network is always operating at full capacity.

  1. Be visible and relevant.  Frequently update your social profiles, tweet on a relevant topic, blog, and even consider producing a quarterly personal newsletter.  Being consistently visible to your network increases the likelihood of your contacts offering suggestions or providing opportunities.  Be careful not to over share as some people will lose interest or miss your important updates which could do more harm than good.
  2. Target individuals.  Make a habit of contacting and following up with a specific number of contacts per week.  Being visible is great but being personal is invaluable.  Having direct contact by phone or email lets you connect directly with the individual and makes them feel more obliged to help you.
  3. Give, Give, Give.  Michael Roderick, a NYC LetsLuncher, blogs on business strategies which includes his G.A.T.E. strategy where the G stands for Give.  Always look to suggest connections, potential partnerships, or new job opportunities that will benefit your contacts.  How often do you come across jobs that you aren’t qualified for but you know someone who’d be perfect?  Not only does this help your contact but it also shows your potential employer that you have the company’s best interest in mind.  These gestures will build rapport with your contacts and will make asking favors easier in the future.

Frequent contact is a key to maintaining a strong network which is ultimately the difference between success and obscurity.  Feel free to share your thoughts on maintaining your network by leaving comments below.

Sep 21 2011

Have what it takes to be a LetsLunch VIP?

You may have noticed our list of VIPs on the homepage and wondered to yourself, how can I meet one of them or how do I become one?  Honestly, it takes years of Jedi training on multiple distant planets to become a true VIP.  For those of you who can’t commit that much time, the fastest way is to share your Linkedin profile or resume with LetsLunch.  The perfect candidates to join our crew of LetsLunch VIPs are VCs, CEOs, journalists, or those who posses regional influence.  Becoming a VIP is straightforward but what does it really entail?

Our VIPs are expected to provide one hour per month to lunch with one of our premier users.  The lunch will be a unique opportunity for the LetsLunch user to network with someone who can help them find capital, gain publicity for their product, or find a partner to build their company.  VIPs have the ability to specify the type of users they meet based on their interests (cloud computing, Web 2.0, complex derivatives), employment (marketer, banker, entrepreneur), or anyone with a solid reputation score.  Most VIPs are passionate about being mentors to the next class of entrepreneurs which is why we hope you’re ready to bring your networking A-game.  We always tell our users to focus on building the relationship first rather than making the sale; this way both parties can get the most out of this unique meeting.What makes these Lunchers premier?  Each month we select them based on their reputation score.  Their score is a product of their Luncher feedback and social reputation (number of followers, experience, skills, etc).  We also require them to have a minimum of 4 lunches per month and perfect attendance to be considered.  Therefore the Lunchers are selected based on merit rather than who’s willing to pay for the experience.  This ensures the lunch will be valuable for both the VIP as well as the Luncher.

Think you have what it takes to become a LetsLunch VIP?  Email so we can determine if you’re worthy.

Sep 20 2011

Feature Focus: Upcoming Lunches

Feel like you haven’t been getting matched with the right people? Notice someone in the testimonials that you have to meet?  Checkout their “Future Available Lunch Dates” and “Lunch Radius” to see if a meeting is in the cards.  If not, add their dates to your availability schedule and make sure your radius overlaps with theirs.
Finally, add the person to your “Wish List” and we’ll take things over from here.
These steps will increase your chances of getting that perfect lunch.  It might take a few lunches before things work out so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t with the person for your next lunch.  You should also keep working on your reputation but more on that later.

Sep 15 2011

LetsLunch Tip: Be Prepared

Put the phone away
Time is money.  It’s also finite.  Meetings, blogs, tweets and full inboxes devour every precious second of the day but there’s always time for a meal.  Why not spend that time meeting someone who can help you connect with a new partner, find that next deal, or even offer your next job?  Efficiently allocating time is a critical aspect of productivity in the workplace and it should also be critical to your next LetsLunch.  Here are some tips for getting the most from your lunch hour:
  • Consider reviewing the restaurants menu in advance so you know what to order before you get there.  This will increase the time for telling your story or pitching an idea rather than selecting the right Maki Roll.
  • Review your match’s Linkedin profile and be especially familiar with their company.  If your partner doesn’t have to spend 15-20 minutes explaining their business model, they can spend it understanding how they can help you.
  • Put the iphone away.  We all know we’re incredible multi-taskers, despite what studies say, but spend your hour focused on the conversation and drawing connections to your network.  You’ll get more out of the meeting and make a better impression with your match.

Hopefully these tips will help you maximize the value of your next LetsLunch.

Feel free to share your time saving advice in the comments.

Sep 13 2011

We’re All About the Features

Those of you that Like us on Facebook have been well informed of our latest features. If you don’t like us yet…why not? We’ve been very busy over the summer perfecting the Letslunch user experience by adding features and tweaking the scheduling process. We didn’t want to let that hard work go unrecognized so here’s a post to keep our blog community in the know.

The first suite of changes were designed to let users find each other easily on the site and to move towards a Letslunch world that’s a little less random. Users can now see each others Lunch Radius, Upcoming Open Lunches, and add others to their Wish List. These changes will help users get lunches with people they find interesting and lead to a decentralized matching process. It will also help ensure you get more relevant lunches but don’t rule out our algorithm’s ability to introduce you to great people.

The second batch improved the scheduling process by allowing users to reschedule a lunch rather than canceling and to change their lunch venue. Speaking of venues, we’ve increased the list of restaurant suggestions to help you find the right place.

We’ve also addressed how you communicate and share contact information with your Lunch Match. Your email and phone number can now be automatically exchanged through our scheduling emails. Pump the breaks Anonymous…we also added new privacy features which allow you to control if this information is shared. See the screenshots below to learn how to keep your contact information private and to find out about our other great privacy features.

Access your privacy settings from your LetsLunch profile page:

Select the “Privacy Tab”:

Adjust your settings to control who can see your name, phone number, email, social accounts, upcoming lunches, and more:

Don’t forget, you can always anonymously text your lunch mate if you’d prefer that method of communication.