Think back to your last commute to work. Who did you talk to? If you were singing with the radio, that doesn’t count. Most people don’t talk during their commute. If you commute by car then you can’t talk with anyone else unless you are on your cell phone. That also doesn’t count. I recently read an interesting account of a group of women who ride the train to work. They established a group of female riders who talk with each other during their commutes. They also meet occasionally for lunch as a group and built a website. This is a great group for business. Why? They get to connect with other people who can help them.
If you ride the train or bus, do you talk with other people? Probably not. If you’re a New Yorker, talking with other people might even sound a little weird. These women are in Dallas, Texas and while Dallas may be a friendlier town, talking with other like-minded commuters sounds like a great idea–especially in this economy.
The group started with one woman who just moved from California and wanted to meet people in Dallas. She met for lunch with a friend who also commutes. Another woman tagged along. Soon they were gathering emails of other train riders and they formed the group. The group is close to 50 people now. They feel free to talk with each other during their commute. They’ve exchanged contact information. They also occasionally meet for lunch.
What would you do if you suddenly needed a job? It’s not too far fetched in this economy. I don’t care if you’re the best Internet job hunter. I’ll predict that you’re most likely to get your next job through someone you know. That’s why groups like this are so valuable. If you need a job now, if you were a member of this commute group, you would be able to tap into the knowledge of close to 50 other people and what they know about job opportunities. That gives you a lot of personalized job prospecting information. If you get to know these people and they know you and your work, you would have close to 50 people being able to recommend you for a job. The job might even be one that hasn’t made the job boards yet.
This group is not limited just to business either. Members share requests with each other. Someone might want to know about cheap parking around the train stop. If someone has car trouble, she knows another rider to call for help. I think women in business should have as many business contacts as possible. The more people who you know and who know you make you a stronger business resource. That’s good for your business success.
I started by saying that my comments aren’t about increasing productivity. One definition of productivity is an economic definition. It is “The rate at which goods or services are produced especially output per unit of labor.” That’s what I was thinking. But, building relationships and making connections during a commute isn’t the economic definition of productivity. The other definition of productivity is “The quality of being productive.” If you need something–whether a job or some information–what could be more productive than having a large group of people as a resource? I guess this was about being productive after all.