The successful book by Keith Ferrazzi titled "Never Eat Alone" is a runaway best-seller on the topic of business networking and building relationships (I only wish my book on the same topic had sold half as many copies...although it continues to sell well!). While I agree with everything Mr. Ferrazzi says, today I had a nice experience which de-bunks the "never" part of his title...... Sometimes you should eat alone!!!
I schedule business lunches most every day. If I am not eating with a client or a referral source, I am dining with co-workers or other friends. Since you have to eat anyway, this is a great way to make connections, cultivate business relationships or just stay in touch.
Today, however, I had a last minute cancellation for lunch. Since I was busy in the office, I gratefully accepted the extra time to catch up on emails and phone calls during the lunch hour. Usually with no lunch appointment I will grab a sandwich from the local deli and eat at my desk. But my canceled lunch was to be held at my favorite downtown Mexican cantina...and the thought of that great cuisine just kept calling to me. By 1:15 PM I was starving and I had to have the taco plate.
So I decided to go to the restaurant by myself, "table for one".
With the hectic lives that most business professionals live, I was reminded that on occasion you have to just stop and take a few minutes out of your routine and enjoy some alone time. Many people work ten (-plus-) hour days that include breakfast meetings, lunches, cocktails, dinners, etc.. It seems that every free minute away from the desk is spent with a scheduled activity.
Twenty-five years ago they were worried that technology was going to free up so much time that the average 40-hour per week American worker would only have a three day work week. HA HA !!! That didn't happen. It seems that technology has imprisoned the American worker into a 50 to 60-hour work week with no time to smell the roses.
But today I spent 30 minutes with nothing to do but enjoy some great Mexican food. I did not bring my laptop, customer files or a newspaper. I just sat alone and ate.
So no matter how dedicated you are to networking....SOMETIMES EAT ALONE!!!
Have A Great Day