A single networking dinner can set you up for success in many ways. Imagine what a bunch of them could do, if they only occurred more often.
These dinners are where frank discussions happen. They are gatherings where professional relationships and friendships are born. Relationships grow and tighten immensely in these settings.
And those relationships are some of the most valuable things to your career. These are the people you can rely on for quick answers, honest feedback, and crucial insights.
I can tell you that in my professional life, those relationships have helped me tremendously. They are where I have received some of the best counsel for an incredibly variety of challenges and opportunities.
You have probably had similar experiences.
That’s why, when you have an opportunity to participate in something like that, you likely jump at it. Other go-getters do too.
Sometimes these dinners come together serendipitously. Maybe there is already some sort of event with a built in dinner. The people you happen to sit with might be interesting in many different ways.
Sometimes the chemistry works like magic, sometimes it doesn’t.
The odds are better sometimes when the group self-organizes, like during some sort of event or conference. This increases your odds of good chemistry because the people who gather a bit more deliberately are more actively seeking to network and grow as professionals.
When that sort of thing comes together it can be magical. You can get to know people and form relationships that last a long time.
If you don’t miss out.
Ad hoc gatherings like this are often built around chance. They can be tricky to cull together and you can easily miss out entirely simply by not being at the right place at the right time when the last-minute plan is forming.
But, what if….
What if you organized a networking dinner?
You could put a dinner together yourself. You could invite people that are most interesting or inspiring to you. Even better, you could enlist another colleague or two to help organize so that you all can reach into new networks.
Many people would jump at the chance to join in your dinner. And they will certainly appreciate your leadership.
You end up winning twice. First, you get to go to an event that will be great for networking and professional development. Second, you will be seen and appreciated as a leader because you took the initiative to set it up.
And the best thing is…
The distance between you not having enough of these dinners to go to and you being a leader who makes these sort of things happen is incredibly small.
All you need to do is write a few emails, make a reservation at a restaurant, and maybe say a few introductory words at the gathering. The rest will happen on its own.
Your guests will get to meet new people and build new relationships. All the stuff we talked about above. And they will thank you for it.
You don’t have to host this at your house. You don’t have to pay for anyone’s dinner. You don’t have to pick a fancy restaurant.
All you need to do is take a little initiative and everyone wins.
Your professional network is one of your biggest assets. Why not keep building and strengthening it while enjoying a nice evening out?