Today was our annual Christmas cookie baking day with my mom. Every year, usually on the second Sunday of December, my mom hops in her little yellow Mini-Cooper and drives up from Perrysburg. We spend the whole day baking batches upon batches of cookies. We managed nine different kinds this year. We hit a lot of the traditional ones for our family — cut-outs, thumbprints, and almond crescents — and we tried a new one or two.

We chatted and Grandma got to play with Kaylie and teach her how to cut out the sugar cookies. My wife, Lisa, whipped up a delicious lunch of open-face egg salad sandwiches and tomato soup. Mom told us about how my grandma and Aunt Mary would bake 144 dozen cookies at Christmas when my mom was a little girl. Oh, we had the occasional incident of dropped cookies or spilled milk, but we all laughed about it and just had a great time together.

“OK, Greg”, I can almost hear you thinking, “Sounds like you had a great time, but what does this have to do with networking?”

Well, we would have had fun with my mom whether we were baking cookies, going for a walk, seeing a movie, or catching lunch together. It’s all good and it all contributes to strengthening our relationship. The same thing holds true for networking. So many people worry that they can’t go out for coffee all the time or don’t have many opportunities in their schedule to join someone for lunch.

You know what? It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what you do. It only matters that you do something. Can’t make coffee? Here are a few other ideas:

  • Breakfast
  • A morning networking event
  • A quick telephone call
  • Take a short walk together
  • Lunch
  • Send an email
  • High tea
  • After work drinks
  • Dinner
  • Share a movie, concert or sporting event
Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure with a little creativity, you can think of many more. Just remember, the activity is not the important part of the activity. You taking the time to spend with the other person is.
That’s how we make friends.

Photo credit: Konrad Mostert