4. Networking Meetings with Group B Onwards
Networking meetings with people from Group B onwards (or “outwards” on our diagram), will be a little different.
- You’ll be in contact because someone thought this person could be of some help
- The person doesn’t know you directly
- The person has no real investment in you or your success
That said – human nature is to help others when we are asked to. You just need to pitch it a little differently.
Try to meet with them face-to-face. Even a quick chat over a coffee can give you a huge amount of information and improve the chances that someone will remember you if they hear of any opportunities.
It would take several back and forth emails to cover what can be talked over in a half hour conversation – so although you might feel that an in-person meeting is encroaching on their time, it’s probably more efficient in the long run.
Before you meet them, make sure you’ve worked on your personal pitch – using a version of this is a great way to succinctly explain to a stranger who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.
As you set up meetings, be clear about what you hope to achieve from each one – it’ll likely be different every time, depending on who you’re meeting. Once you have your goal for the meeting, plan out questions you want to cover. There’s no harm in writing these down or making a note in your phone if you’re worried you’ll forget.
Try to use open questions to get the more useful responses. These are questions that can’t be answered yes or no. Questions that start with “why” or “how” are good for information gathering. So is framing a question “Can you tell me a bit more about…”.
Of course, once you get talking you might end up achieving a whole lot more than you set out to, but you should always come out with your original goal met.
In terms of goals for these connections, you can’t go expecting that they’ll set you up with an interview. Frame your questions more as information gathering, if they offer to be of direct help, great!