Say it with me now: Three weeks left in this election.

If you watched any football over the beautiful Louisville weekend, you probably had the thought: “Gee, this football is fine and everything, but what I’m really wanting to see are some more political ads!” What, you didn’t have that thought?

Sheesh … all the election coverage and political advertising is starting to feel like overkill, and we still have more to slog through. And then — it starts up again … about February-ish, it seems. It all gets pretty old.

Though I suppose the seeming perpetuity of our election cycles is a byproduct of the fact that we still have free speech here, and the freedom to spend our dollars the way we would like — and on messages that we want to be shared. And that is a very good thing.

Now … speaking of spending our dollars in the way we want, I had someone suggest this piece of advice to me early in my career, and it was good advice. Heck, it’s good advice for me NOW (and it was useful for me to put the article together, to clarify my mind on it all).

Simply put, I believe that this method is the BEST way to advance in a career, as a parent, or any other venture you’d like to pursue: ask someone who has gone ahead of you.

Best Louisville Tax Service Professional Explains Taking a Successful Person To Lunch
For those of you in the early stages in your career, this article might be worth more than many of the classes you took in college — if you follow my advice.

And, for those of you who are further along in your career … frankly, the advice still applies. I can’t tell you how many lunches (or coffees) I’ve been to with ill-prepared, meandering partners. And while some of the specifics of your questions might change, there simply isn’t a better way to build relationships with someone who is busy and successful. After all … they gotta eat!

Go somewhere easy — and YOU pay.
Nobody has time to meet you for a fancy dinner in the middle of a busy work day. A cup of coffee works because you pay in advance. You don’t want that awkward moment where you both wait for the bill to come, or to have the server interrupt you a dozen times.

And yes, you might be young and poor-ish. But if you’ve chosen your lunch partner properly, it’s simply good manners to ante up the $20-$30 (or less) to pay for their meal. This signals your valuing of their time, and it will build up good will.

Ask questions the entire time.
You convened the meal — so it is your turn to ask the questions, pick this person’s brain, and get as much feedback as you possibly can on your topic. I highly suggest that you come loaded with questions, ready to fire out.

Oh and there’s one thing about questions that you need to know…

Ask good questions.
Please don’t ask for their “best tips or advice”. That’s insufferably lame and they won’t know where to start. So make it a rule to not ask general questions, because you’ll simply get vague responses that won’t help you much.

So what are some good questions?
Well, that of course, does depend on your lunch mate, and your own goals for the time. But, for general-purpose networking, and learning the stories behind someone’s success, here are some good places to start:

  • What did you do right after high school? What did you do after college? [You want to see what a successful person has done right after completing their studies. This will usually surprise you.]
  • What does an average day look like in your life? I wonder if there’s time for video games?
  • Who else do you work with? [This way, you can find out the other players involved in making their team work.]
  • What would you do if…? Then you present a specific scenario — hopefully one that you’re experiencing yourself.

Don’t talk about yourself, unless asked directly.
Or, as The Rock used to say: “Know your role and shut your mouth.” This is your time to be all ears and become a sponge for information. Don’t give your input on every single comment.

Do some research.
Don’t walk in confused or clueless about what this person is all about. It’s important that you take some time to do your research and figure out exactly what this person has been working on. This will score you some bonus points. It pays to be interested. People want to know that their work is being taken seriously.

I do hope this will save you some embarrassment, and, even, open some doors for you that will take your career to the next level. Feel free to share this, of course!

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