Step-by-Step Networking Guide

Here’s a concise guide on how to approach and converse with someone new.

1) Budget Wisely: 

If you plan to invite people for lunch or coffee, set a realistic budget. This can be challenging when you’re young or starting out. To manage costs, limit the number of outings and consider meeting in less expensive settings, like the office pantry, a courtyard, or virtually.

2) Identify who you want to invite.

Consider inviting a colleague or senior executive you’ve been wanting to know better, or someone on LinkedIn whose job intrigues you. Before reaching out, clarify what you hope to gain from the interaction. What do you want to learn from them? How can they enhance your personal or professional growth?

3) Craft a personal message.

Keep the message brief and direct. Here’s a template you can use:

Hi [name],

I’m [your name], a [your professional title or experience]. Thanks for accepting my LinkedIn invite.

I’m reaching out because [mention one or two reasons why you find this person interesting]. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to expand my network, aiming to meet 100 new connections this year.

Would you be available for an hour-long lunch in [place or city] this week/month? If not, would a video chat work for you?

Thank you!

4)Researching the Person Before Your Meeting

Before the meeting, learn about the person by researching their current job, past experiences, and hobbies. Note two or three interesting points and prepare a list of questions covering both professional and personal topics, such as their recent vacation or weekend activities. This will help you engage in a well-rounded conversation during the meeting.

5) Arrive punctually for the meeting!

 Begin by introducing yourself, explaining what prompted the meeting, and outlining your objectives for the discussion. Adapt your energy to match that of your guest and ask the questions you’ve prepared, while remaining flexible to the natural flow of conversation. Encourage your guest to pose questions as well, fostering an atmosphere of mutual engagement. Remember, the aim is not merely to conduct an interview, but to authentically connect and understand the other person.

6) Following the meeting, express gratitude with a thank-you message 

Maintain ongoing communication beyond the initial encounter by engaging with their online content, sharing relevant articles or videos, and acknowledging significant events in their life. With their consent, consider sharing a brief post or anecdote about your interaction on LinkedIn to foster trust and encourage future collaboration with other potential guests.

The emphasis has shifted from a numerical target to the qualitative aspect of stepping beyond comfort zones and consistently reaching out to unfamiliar individuals.

 Are you ready to get started?

This article has been referenced for HBR. To read the complete article click here

About High Potential Career Planning:

An initiative of ACH, High Potential Career Planning (HPCP) is established with a mission to mentor professionals in their search for a career development and growth. We provide personalized mentorship programs, which can help individuals have a fulfilling career

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