In this episode we’re taking a lesson from something that happened to Liz and using it to help people be prepared for networking meetings, especially when networking with executives.
Liz posted on Linkedin about how her company is hiring, why it's great to work there, and told people to sign up for time with her if they were interested. Well, her calendar was FILLED….mostly with job seekers looking for pretty significant career changes.
When people met with Liz, a lot of them didn’t know how to maximize their time with her. We decided to put together a list of ways for people to use the opportunity to network with someone who can influence your career.
First, help the person you are talking with prepare. Make sure they have your resume or Linkedin profile and that they know the nature of the conversation. If you’re talking with them about a job or even about a specific role or team, let them know beforehand. Assume this person is busy, so help them prepare for the meeting by giving them any relevant information. Don’t waste face time giving the high level overview of who you are and what you want from the meeting - get that out of the way over email first. You can go deeper in the meeting if both of you arrive prepared.
Next, be prepared yourself. Research them a bit. Research their company, the latest news, what they do. Don’t waste time asking questions that can be found easily on the web. You’re networking - be prepared to impress by doing the research up front. This will also help you maximize your time together by not wasting time with Captain Obvious questions.
Third, if you’re getting to know them without a predetermined agenda, have your elevator pitch ready and be ready to say what you want from the meeting. You’re taking their time, make sure you get what you want out of it. Be concise and ready to clearly share your background and what you’re looking to get from this meeting.
Fourth, let them run the meeting and ask the questions. Saying hi and then verbal vomiting without stopping to let them get a word in edgewise is not the way to go here. Since you’ve prepared them by sending over your reason for being on their calendar and your profile, let them take the reins. They may see something in you and start inquiring for reasons you don’t know. Let them. Extra advice around letting a woman leader run the meeting if you are a man, because women have radars out for men who run over them in meetings….don’t let that be a point against you.
Lastly, be mindful of the time. Most managers and executives have packed days filled with meetings. That means: be on time and don’t go over. AND DON'T GHOST! Ghosting -- not showing up for the call without any communication or warning -- really interrupts the day and builds resentment, especially with busy people. If you can’t make it, send an email apologizing and reschedule as early as you are aware you can't make it. And be flexible - they might cancel on you. Busy people often have to cancel at the last minute; don’t take it personally.
Make sure your 15 minutes before the call is free so that you’re on time, and watch the clock so that you can close with a minute to spare. If they want more time with you, they’ll ask. ;)
We hope that these tips are helpful in preparing for your next networking opportunity. You’re lucky to get on someone’s calendar, make the most of the chance and don’t waste it sending someone your Linkedin link. Make a great impression; you never know when your paths will cross again.