Just last (last) week, we talked about zoom fatigue and how to prioritize well-being. This week, we’re jumping right back into the thick of it with a #ToolTuesday to get your networking back on track.
Why Networking Matters
Large, in-person networking events have been put on hold, as have internal team interactions that foster meaningful connections. Even though some may miss happy hours, coffee breaks, and conferences, many others are relieved they are not forced to network. In this country, access and opportunity hinge on who you know — but let’s be honest — many people are uncomfortable with networking and its self-promotional, transactional nature, and not everyone has access to networking opportunities and social capital.
As a woman of color, I initially found it challenging to put myself out there in venues where most other participants were cis-gendered, able-bodied white males. Human nature leads us to want to stick to what is familiar to us and interact with people like us. Still, unless we seize these opportunities, we will continue working twice as hard to gain access to the spaces in which our privileged counterparts are handed the keys.
Networking is crucial to positioning yourself and your business for long-term growth and can help us break down barriers in our industries created by race and gender. While networking doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of creating more equity within our social systems, this tool creates the option for professionals of color, who struggled to be seen and heard pre-pandemic, to network in more comfortable and authentic ways.
No, it’s not a new dating site but rather a networking platform for professionals wanting to meet new people in their field or with similar interests. It uses AI technology and Machine Learning to guarantee the “perfect professional match” in the long term. You can set your interests and goals in your profile and connect with others on entrepreneurship, social impact, diversity and inclusion, travel, sustainability, and so much more!
Kind of like a credit score, you are assigned a network score. Your network score is determined by how easy it would be for you to be introduced to someone you’d like to meet or make introductions. I love a good competition, so check out my Network Score here.
By answering a few questions and connecting your Google account, the software does all the work for you. It provides professional matches that you can connect with online or in-person — like meeting a colleague for lunch!
I know what you’re thinking: another social media platform? Social media and technology offer greater convenience and connectivity, but, as with most things, they have their drawbacks and their dangers that lurk and impact our lives, in addition to their benefits. However, LunchClub is not like any other social media tool you’ve ever used, as it is not based on “likes” or reactions to posts or activities. Though matches are provided, you have the option to connect or not.
Once registered, you will receive some matches right away and more over time as you use the app. If you’re like me, it takes less time to sign up and register for LunchClub than it would take to decide on your lunch order.