Tips for Conducting a Successful Networking Lunch

23 Sep

Having a networking lunch with a professional you hardly know requires some extra care to make sure the relationship gets started on the right foot.  BNI has posted some worthwhile tips you ought to consider.

They recommend choosing a restaurant closer to the person you’re inviting than yourself.  This probably is even a better idea when the person you’ve invited could potentially become a very important client or contact. Down4Lunch isn’t set up for you to select a restaurant close to the OTHER person.  Rather, we display restaurants closest to YOU. Both options should be available. We’ll be working to fix that, because it’s a great idea.

Another great idea BNI shares: Don’t talk or pitch too much.  Take your lead from your lunch partner’s behavior.  And another: Call ahead to request special arrangements, like a quiet table, if the lunch is particularly important.

One thing we’d disagree with is advice not to use a coupon. Using a coupon at lunch is okay.  If you’ve selected a Down4Lunch featured restaurant that offers one, print it out and bring it with you.  It’s one of the advantages of your free, Down4Lunch membership.  Coupons (e.g. Groupon) are more popular than ever and everyone understands the importance of cutting expenses.  In fact, a potential client may appreciate your concern with keeping costs low.

Networking Myths – Debunked!

24 May

Are you networking effectively? A recent blog appearing in Business Insider deflates FIVE misconceptions about networking, while giving great examples why building professional relationships is a must!

Among the issues raised are how networking is NOT annoying to those you speak with and how networking is NOT viewed as cheating.

Most importantly, the article points out that you DO NOT have to attend every networking event possible to gain a leg up in your job or client search. As the article mentions, “The best networking events are usually not called ‘networking events.’”

Instead of attending large events full of salespeople and desperate job-seekers, it is easy to network with someone with similar interests on a one-on-one basis. By scheduling a lunch through Down4Lunch you can easily connect with other people in your geographical area and in your field, all during your lunch break!

New Features to Help You Network

8 May

Down4Lunch is excited to announce new features to help you network.

See All of Your Matches…

The calendar dashboard now displays all Down4Lunch members matching a member’s lunch-partner preferences instead of only those members who’ve created a lunch. Members can view the profiles of these matches and invite them to lunch, or they can mark them as “favorites” and view and invite them to lunch later.  Members still can create an “open lunch” for any matching member to see and join on the “Schedule a Lunch” page.

Invite Anyone To Lunch…

Using the “Invite by Email” tab atop their calendar dashboard or on the “Schedule a Lunch” page, members now can invite anyone to lunch, even someone not yet a Down4Lunch member.  We send the lunch invitation via email, and the person being invited will have a chance to join Down4Lunch when accepting the invitation.

No More Minimum-User Thresholds...

We no longer require a minimum number of users in a city before a member can schedule a lunch.  Now, anyone anywhere can create a lunch by inviting a matching user or using the new “Invite by Email” feature to invite someone new to Down4Lunch.

Change Lunch Details…

On any lunch invitation, members now can suggest an alternative day, time, or place for lunch as many times as necessary until they agree to the details.

Matches By Email…

Down4Lunch sends periodic emails notifying members of available lunches.  Those emails now will include lunch-partner recommendations. From within those emails, members can invite recommended lunch partners to lunch or mark them as “favorites” to view and invite later.

We aim to continuously improve Down4Lunch.  Please continue to send us feedback and ideas. And help us spread the word about Down4Lunch.  Our new “Invite by Email” feature is a great way to do that, as is following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Sign up today at  Down4Lunch is a FREE service. Already a member? Log on to explore our new features and get Down4Lunch with someone new today.


Reasons to Network

5 Aug

An engineer shares some excellent reasons why networking is so important for professionals.  We won’t reiterate them here; read for yourself.

If colleagues network and I do not, my value is diminished.

Networking Over a Meal is Catching On

28 Jul

Fifty percent think it’s a great idea, while 33% percent aren’t yet convinced, according to an informal poll.

Networking — or, in this case, at least meeting new friends — over a meal is catching on.  A central Florida tax advisor reportedly has established an informal group of people who meet new friends over meals, and it’s a hit.

Down4Lunch is doing the same thing but with the goal of forging relationships leading not to new playpals, but to professional contacts who’ll go out of their way to help each other with job or sales leads, new client contacts, or even general career advice.

It may seem like half the world is on one online social network or another (or several), but individuals still are unsatisfied.  Caught in a monotony of irrelevant, tedious, “so what?” online jabbering, increasing numbers of people, it seems, seek more substance and purpose from their online pursuits.  That’s what seems to have motivated the Florida group’s creation, and it’s exactly what Down4Lunch aims to achieve for professionals everywhere, one city and user at a time.

…And We’re Live!

20 Jul

Pull out the trumpets, Down4Lunch is now live and open for registration. The website is on “beta” and we’re working hard to add new features and make it the exciting, uber-cool networking tool we want it to be.

The media has already taken notice: UrbanDaddy calls us a “career catapult.” The Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle quotes us explaning how we make networking more “efficient.”

Check us out and share with us your feedback. Get Down4Lunch, create new connections, and tell us all about them so we can tell others. Down4Lunch users can decide who to lunch with based, in part, on others’ positive experiences.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, add your comments below or shoot us an email at

Making Networking Easier for Women

28 Jun

At Down4Lunch, we’ve been calling our new service “insurance” against corporate layoffs. When your company lets you go, your personal network is all you have. Down4Lunch lets you develop and nurture that network. We don’t charge fees, so think of us as insurance without a premium. What could be better than that?

An article on, echoes the point. It says, “[T]he truth is that online networking can be the equivalent of career insurance, opening up your options and keeping you resilient in the face of job changes.” We like when people agree with us. also cites LinkedIn data indicating that women network less. LinkedIn says fewer women than men send invitations to link up on its website. For that, Down4Lunch may help, for it gives women an opportunity not just to connect online but in person as well, making networking seem more sincere and personable — the touchy, feely experience that more women than men seem to feel is necessary and crave.

Lunch Networking Rules of the Road

27 Jun

Two recent bloggers discussed proper behavior at networking lunches.

We couldn’t help but notice that, first, blogger Liz Ryan acknowledges that networkers “rely so heavily on favors from the people they meet along the way.” That’s one of the main purposes of Down4Lunch — to help you meet the people that can make your career and business prospects even stronger.

Ryan shares other tips, among them using a first meeting not to close a deal but to establish a rapport with the other person for followup meetings and requests later on.

Vivan Chen discusses lunch-time etiquette, useful reminders appropriate for more than just business lunches.

Encouraged by Interest in Online Professional Networking

26 Jun

Online blogs are reporting (such as here and here) about new applications on Facebook that faciliate “professional social networking.” They says that Facebook users want tools to help them exploit their social networks for professional purposes. This is great news.

But the best professional relationships still are personal, not virtual. Take it from Lori Smart who, posting a comment on one of the articles above, said that she and friends had blocked one of the apps after being annoyed by “people you have never worked with continually asking you to recommend them.”

Down4Lunch is the best of both worlds. We connect you online to potentially great professional contacts so that you can meet in person to forge lasting relationships leading to new career and business opportunities. Apps that discover professional connections among Facebook friends are helpful, but the best relationships still are made in person.

Career Coach Advises Networking

21 Jun

In a U.S. News & World Report article posted to Yahoo! News yesterday, career coach Miriam Salpeter says effective company and industry research and networking can be crucial to successful job-searching.

Rather than respond to job listings, Salpeter advises spending time identifying and reaching out to employees of companies where you’d like to work, “moving online relationships to in-person” to “learn all you can and share information about yourself.”

This is exactly the point of Down4Lunch, to help forge meaningful, lasting, and mutually-beneficial relationships among professionals that can lead to new business and career opportunities. We’re happy to see accomplished career counselors endorsing the purposes for which Down4Lunch was created.

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