What to expect in your first networking meeting at that new company

friendly networking

 

Your first networking meeting is a lot like a blind date. 

The first time you meet someone there are certain things you know you need to do. First, of course, is to ask about them, what they’re all about, and don’t hog the conversation talking about yourself. Secondly, you need to give them something which is of interest to them. Your attention is a big one. But you also might have information they’d be interested in, connections they might want to make, knowledge that they might need.

 

Networking is where you give something that doesn’t cost you very much in order to get something that you would like to have. The other person is doing exactly the same thing.

 

When this is the first time you’ve talk to somebody in a company you’re interested in, you want to show them that you are not out to get something from them that they can’t afford (or don’t want) to give you. So no begging for a job! What they can give you, if they like you, is their opinions and insider information. But you have to give them a reason to do that.

 

Think about what you would want if a new person invited you out to coffee because they told you that they were interested in your company. You’d want it to be worth your time. And you would expect them to pay for the coffee. You would expect them to have questions that you could answer easily that would not be too prying or ask for more than what you could easily tell them.

 

Some questions might be:

How do you like working for this company? What’s the best part of working here?

 

You know how company cultures vary from company to company or even department to department? What’s it like at XYZ company? Do they encourage you to socialize with people outside of work? Do you have things like knitting clubs and ham radio operator clubs, that sort of thing, inside the company?

 

You then might segue into: Is the company growing? Are they hiring or laying off? You might even want to ask: does the FDA like this company?

 

You also want to know more about the person: Married? Kids? Animals? Dogs? Cats? Sports? What do they like doing out the office? What kind of music do they like? Do stay away from the forbidden three: sex, religion, and politics!

 

You want to know how you might be able to help them! What are they interested in finding out from you? You can tell them you’re doing a lot of this kind of networking and ask if they would like to hear about the other companies. After all, you’re both in the same niche.

 

If this is not the first person at the first company that you’ve asked to do this kind of networking, you can say things like: Do you know so-and-so over at ABC company? I think the two of you might really have a lot in common.

 

The main thing here is to make a new friend. Some when you can help out in the future and who will be willing to help you out but make sure you don’t go in with too big an ask.

 

Do you want to talk more about this? Join me for open office hours on Friday at 8:30 AM Pacific time. Register here so I know who’s coming.

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