Monday, April 6, 2009

The Food Connection

What we do most naturally socially, is dining. If you would like to network naturally, one good place is to start with Singapore's national past-time.... Food! Singaporeans bond most naturally over food. Singaporeans are known to travel the distance for their favourite chicken rice, char kway teow and bak kut teh (even in the face of today's rising oil prices). The pages of The Straits Times Life! section every Sunday dedicated to glorious food and people in the food scene as well as the thousands of food blogs is testimount to our passion for food.

5 steps to Natural Networking through Food:

1. Be a Food Maven

Life is about experiences. If you naturally enjoy food, become the expert on the food scene in Singapore. Aim to try out one new place each week, and invite your friends. I love to do research through food blogs to uncover food havens, especially new restaurant openings. Be the person who creates dining experiences for others and that ups your attraction factor. This is a great opportunity to connect naturally with networks such as your alumni, interesting acquaintances, business associates.

2. Befriend the Chef

Tickle your natural networking instincts by befriending the chef, the hostess, the owner of the restaurant. Be genuinely interested. Often, they will regale you with interesting stories about their journey into food haven. Don't forget, they tend to be great connectors, meeting with different people everyday.

3. Start at the Buffet Table

When you are at a business cocktail, and you feel nervous when you first enter and don't see any friendly faces, the best place to start is the buffet table. Food is a great conversation starter. I find it easiest to speak to the person next to me, helping himself to the gorgeous looking open-faced smoked salmon sandwich, with the line "The spread looks pretty good, doesn't it?", before a question of how he is connected with the event.

4. Lets do Lunch

Lets face it. We spend most of our waking hours at work, and nothing smooths your path to the big league in your company, then healthy relationships with your colleaguesthat matter. I suggest you break away from your regular lunch clique at least once a week to lunch with potential mentors, executives in other departments, your clients, or anyone who is interesting.

5. Take up a Class

A great way to meet new and diverse people is to take up a culinary class. For example, At sunrice organises asian-themed classes. Go one step further: Select a restaurant you love and arrange for the chef to present a culinary class. Then advertise this to your contacts directly or through FaceBook or another social networking portal. A variation of the food theme is drink. There are a plethora of wine appreciation classes available. Or try out stout or vodkha appreciation classes to meet people who are more adventurous. Enjoy your food networking journey!

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