081: How Not to Be a Networking Barnacle
How Not to Be a Networking Barnacle
All this month, we’re talking about networking. So far, we’ve covered why networking is so important, talked about a better, more strategic way to network, and covered a variety of places to network and how to make the most of those networking opportunities.
Today, let’s talk about quid pro quo. How to give as much value as you get when you’re networking.
Most of us aren’t comfortable with just taking and not giving back, whether it is in networking or anything else. I call this being a networking barnacle.
The process I will be describing is specifically for one-on-one networking meetings with people you already know, or who are on the same level as you professionally.
Let’s say you have a 30-minute coffee date with a networking contact. Here are the steps to make this successful:
1. Make the first 20 minutes about them.
Ask questions, give input, or just be a listening ear. When you do this first, the other person will be more than willing to help you out when it’s your turn. I promise, even if you think you can't possibly provide value to the other person - you can.
2. When it’s your turn, have a specific ask.
Do your homework and know exactly what you want this person to do for you. Who do you want them to introduce you to? Use LinkedIn to find out who they are connected to that can move you a step along in your networking efforts.
3. Follow up.
Because you have made a specific ask, it is easy to follow up with an email to thank the other person, remind them of how you helped them and that they agreed to introduce you to a certain person (or whatever they agreed to).
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