Everyone writes about networking and suggests that you stay in touch.
You know the deal by now. You should be networking. You should be interacting with successful people in your field. You know that party. You just don’t know what to do.
This is why today I wanted to focus on how you can successfully network when you take a successful person out for lunch or coffee so that you don’t embarrass yourself. This is a culmination of what I’ve researched and experienced myself.
Let’s get started with the lunch or networking event…
Go somewhere easy.
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 the have the server interrupt you a dozen times.
Ask questions the whole time.
This is your turn to ask the questions, pick this person’s brain, and get as much feedback as you possibly can on the 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.
Don’t ask for their best tips or advice. That’s lame and they won’t know where to start. Don’t ask general questions because you’ll get vague responses that won’t help you much.
What are questions worth asking?
- What did you do right after high school? What did you 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? You can find out the other players involved in making the team work.
- What would you do if…? Then you present a specific scenario or hopefully one that you’re experiencing yourself.
Don’t talk about yourself.
Do you remember what 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 your 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.
That’s how you can have a decent networking lunch with a fairly successful person. I must admit that I’m still working at this. I’m not perfect and I have a long way to go. I am trying my best!
This article was mentioned in the Carnival of Personal Finance at Nerd Wallet.