Network Like a Concierge
Every year my family takes a vacation. We’ve been to a good number of places – Paris, the Baltic, St. John, and Hawaii to name a few – so we are no strangers to traveling as a group. Whenever we plan a new trip we work out a general plan of action: we make nightly dinner reservations and decide when we will hit what attractions. It works well because then everyone gets input as far as what we do and we end up seeing quite a variety of sights, but no matter how much we plan ahead I always feel like there is that one thing that we might be missing. Enter the concierge!
Our most recent family vacation was a week in Montreal. It was our first venture to a city (rather than a resort-type setting) with my 3 year old nephew, which definitely changed the dynamic of the trip. Usually our city adventures include hours and hours of walking, but that’s just not possible with such a little guy in tow. Somehow we must have missed that when we planned the trip, so we learned to rely heavily on our hotel’s excellent concierge.
In my mind, a good concierge is a networking expert. He goes to every local event, tries every restaurant, and meets as many people as he possibly can in order to enhance his guests’ stay. The concierge at our hotel, Le St. Sulpice, was no exception. He guided us to what I think were the best croissants in Montreal, recommended museum exhibits we had not considered, and helped us tweak our itinerary to make it more kid-friendly. Every suggestion he made he did without a second’s consideration because he knew everything about and seemingly everyone in the city!
I suspect you’re thinking that the proper type of networking for you is not just going around tasting food and experiencing your city’s cultural events; however, I think you might be incorrect in that assessment. Why not go to new restaurants frequently? It’s a wonderful excuse to call up a business contact and invite him or her to try it with you. Or if you’ve recently met someone at a networking event who seems to be really on top of your town’s goings on, shoot him an email to ask what he thinks you should see and do. That kind of non-business question is an easy way to forge a deeper level of communication – and maybe you’ll ultimately build a relationship of referrals. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet when you go anywhere. You could go to the trendiest new restaurant and have to wait at the bar…next to your dream client!
Long story short, keep an open mind, go out and experience your city, and network like a concierge.