This is the second article in a series outlining the new features released as part of LetsLunch 2.0. In the previous blog post we talked about introducing two people. Here we introduce the ‘Groups’ feature.
The ‘Groups’ function on LetsLunch.com allows users to create a group for people to join who have similar interests and networking goals. It skips the steps of composing request emails, checking calendars and locating lunch venues. Just create a group like the ‘Hacker News Group’ and set up a lunch event entering the time, date, location and a description letting the users know why they should have lunch with you and others. Up to 4 people can RSVP themselves to the group lunch event created by you. These groups are a great way to exchange ideas and check on lunches taking place near you. Just like the discussions on Hacker News are more serious and less provocative, similarly LetsLunch group lunches might be small, but the discussion doesn’t get drowned out by the presence of too many people. And as professionals of similar interests get together, the discussion won’t get diluted.
What are the benefits of ‘Groups’? Most networking events don’t provide the intimate, face-to-face interaction required to build trust with other business people. Networking events like meetup provide only the first step, i.e. exchange of business cards, after you have sifted through the many networkers with different goals and introduced yourself to someone you don’t know. It is then your job to follow up
and set up a meeting in person, which in itself requires phone calls and scheduling a convenient meeting time and place.
The Hacker News Group created on LetsLunch.com is meeting on Feb 21st 12 noon at the Grove Cafe, the first group lunch via LetsLunch.com for all you hacker news enthusiasts out there.
There are some people who don’t seem to realize that networking is really about building and maintaining relationships with other business people and not just having a Rolodex bulging with business cards. The key to developing business relationships is to have two way communication utilizing every tool and opportunity to create interaction, be it through your web site, email, newsletters, customer surveys, online message boards and blogs. However nothing quite beats meeting someone face to face. Communication in person is a much richer experience.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do you procrastinate over sending out follow up emails or just feel it’s a waste of time? Do you hesitate in introducing contacts to each other fearing that the relationship won’t be beneficial to you? Do you assume that your contacts will think you are using them for business?
It can be hard to break through the shell of fear and hesitation of being a super connector. But once you shatter it, the possibilities are endless; the experience can be rewarding and vastly expand your sphere of opportunity. And it doesn’t take much time to get the ball rolling.
James Altucher quite nicely describes how you can become a meta-connector in his article ‘The 9 skills needed to be a super connector’. Introducing two other people who are great connectors is an excellent way of increasing your own circle of connections. Introducing two people who can be mutually beneficial is another great way of super connecting. You might not get immediate results by introducing two people over lunch apart from a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but in the long run, having been the catalyst for something good, you increase your chances of a return favor.
Get going and apply the 9 skills needed to become a super connector. Professionals are always willing to engage with new and interesting people who can add value to their network. So shake off the fear, the assumptions and the hesitation and get connecting, super connecting!
At letslunch we are launching a feature called “Introduce two people for lunch” with just the name and email id’s of two people you want to meet – setup a lunch for them.
For Anne one of our user wanted to setup a lunch between two people she thought should know each other. She filled out the info and an email went out to both the people about the intro lunch.
So start intro’ing people and pay it forward!
LetsLunch.com is now a year old! We have come a long way in the past year, launching in Italy, New Zealand and India. To mark the occasion, we are releasing LetsLunch 2.0,with glossy profiles and new features to make networking over lunch more rewarding.
In the last few months we have incorporated recommendations from LetsLunch users and added some new features which we will explain in separate blogposts.