Between the Magazines and the Candy Bars: Networking at the Grocery Store

Between the Magazines and the Candy Bars: Networking at the Grocery Store

In a recent conversation with Laura Atchison, author of the Bestselling book: What Would a Wise Woman Do? Questions to Ask Along the Way,  we talked about some out-of-the-ordinary places to network.  Laura mentioned one of her favorites, is while waiting in line to check out at the grocery store.

You really can network anywhere there are two or more people, even at a funeral according to Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, the worlds largest international business networking organization.

So how do you begin that conversation while standing alongside the magazines and candy bars?

Laura says she asks people what they do when they aren’t in line and thus starts a conversation about their interests, work or otherwise.  It’s important to consider that people often get their shopping done on the way home from work, or on their day off, so how someone is dressed may or may not reflect their occupation.  Laura noted she has had some fascinating conversations.

I take a different approach.  I love to connect on the food in their cart. If I see an item I haven’t tried yet I will ask them about it. Or if it is a food I have tried and really liked, I will tell them that as well.  I might even ask what they are cooking.   As long as time is not a factor, I don’t mind getting in line behind someone with a full cart, or cute kids, or wearing something interesting that I would compliment them on.

You never know where a conversation will lead. Recently, a woman buying ice cream told me that she was trying to cool down because her A/C was on the fritz. Within moments I had connected her to a reliable A/C repairman in my networking group that I trusted.

Sometimes the conversation is about occupation. Sometimes it’s about helping others. Either way, it’s about connecting with others in a positive, meaningful way.

Well, I’m off to do some networking. But first I need a few ingredients for dinner. Look for me in the checkout lane.

By the way, Laura and I, along with many other presenters will be speaking in January on the Reinvention Cruise, designed to help you discover your purpose and passion.  You can check out the details here.  Special pricing ends September 1.

Cruises are a great place to network too!

 photo/Flickr