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How often during the work-week do you find yourself with an hour to kill? Well, there’s always more work to do, but these things do happen.

Instead of catching up on old emails, consider impulse networking. This type of networking is fast and casual. You may just meet up for a quick coffee and get to know another person’s role in your own company, or share knowledge with those in your role at another company.

How you go about impulse networking can vary. Consider the epitome of impulse networking: the water cooler conversation.

Here are some tips to help you impulsively network:

Tip #1: Block out some time.

If you know that your end of day Fridays get slow, consider actually scheduling time to go out for coffee with a rotation of people who are interesting to you. A recurring calendar invite that blocks the time can do the trick, and you’ll thank yourself for saving that time to detach from the job a little.

Tip #2: Brush off that address book.

You’d be amazed how quickly people change jobs or roles. Consider dusting off your digital Rolodex and emailing several people you haven’t heard from in a while. Chances are at least one of them will be down to meet up – and you’ll strengthen the weak ties that bind you.

Tip #3: Use a scheduler to cut down on back and forths.

There are so many types of calendaring tools out there. Our team likes Assistant.to – but you can find one that fits your needs and cut down on the back and forth that can accompany trying to meet up with someone on a different schedule

Tip #4: Use Tools to Network Smarter, not Harder

Consider using one of these three options to network smarter:

  1. Weave – a mobile app for meeting professionals nearby
  2. Concierge – “networking on autopilot” for busy professionals in San Francisco
  3. Evernote – to take syncable notes across all your devices when you choose to meet. They are even searchable!

Overall, the takeaway should be that you sometimes need to set aside time to “impulsively network.” You’d be amazed at the types of people you can connect with, and who knows – it could lead to more than just an hour spent having coffee.