Editor’s note to our readers: I’m sure you’re sensing a theme as this we roll into the summer. We’ve shifted from the “how-to” on obtaining your internship to “maximizing your experience.” Enjoy this article on creating networking opportunities while at work. Author: John Muscarello, Founder of Start Networking Today.
Want to know my secret? I brought in cookies and brownies for my co-workers. And guess what? Everyone loved them. Yet, until I’d actually done it, the fact had never occurred to me that having cookies, brownies, or even a candy dish on my desk could jumpstart conversation with my team.
Why does this work?
Having treats/sweets makes you a likable person! You’re the guy/girl who brought in treats. And what’s the number one trait you need to be a successful networker?
You must be likable.
I can’t tell you the number of fellow employees I’ve met–employees outside of my department and daily communication–simply by having a candy dish. (Yes, the once cookies and brownies has morphed into a candy dish.) Let’s be honest, though… Who doesn’t like a piece of candy when they are having a tough day? It’s almost cheating, really. They walk away with a handful of Skittles, and soon, there’s a crowd gathering.
And in case you needed any more convincing before I move forward…
- Authored by Jessica Hernandez, “How To Be The Type Of Employee Your Boss Wants To Promote” cited that ninety percent [yes…90!] of people who keep a candy bowl on their desks for people who visit their office or drop by are promoted.”
Bringing Cookies To Work Created Conversations
- Networking is all about creating conversations and building context and relationships with others. I often received 10+ emails per day from people thanking me for the cookies. They provided me an opportunity to talk with those co-workers whom I normally wouldn’t have had the chance to speak to.
- People were stopping me in the hallway and asking where the restaurant is located, which only served as a great segway into finding out if they lived in the area.
Build context. Foster relationships. Networking 101.
Being able to do these things effectively, seemingly effortlessly, and with a touch of creativity, starting the conversation and being a likable are essential when it comes to building your professional network. In order to serve as a catalyst to your own network building, I invite you to…
Take One Of These Steps Tomorrow
- Bring in cookies or munchkins to work. Simply put them in the staff kitchen and send an all-staff email with your surprise.
- Buy some candy and keep a full candy dish on your desk.
Do you have something you keep you on your desk that jump-starts the conversation? Perhaps, you have a candy dish of your own. What unique conversations have occurred because of your “candy dish?” Let me know in the comments below or hop on Twitter and tweet at me.