What is the desired outcome?

I was on the phone with an alum today and we were speaking about networking.  As we reviewed the basics about reaching out, staying in contact, avoiding asking for a job, and other good networking practices – he inquired what he should ask a potential contact during a meeting. I thought this was a very insightful question and one that most beginning networkers have.

The Answer:

It all depends upon your desired outcome for the initial meeting/call/interaction (and no, “a job” is not a reasonable desired outcome from an initial meeting).  Think about what you want from this person – information, advice, additional contacts, etc. – what would you identify as your desired goals for the meeting?  This should shape the questions you ask.

As I have mentioned before, ask open-ended questions that foster conversation and avoid Yes/No questions.  I find that the more direct and transparent I am with the networking contact as to the purpose of the meeting, the more productive the meeting.  I believe when you let your networking contact know how he/she can help you, the person is more willing to help as compared to when a networking contact is unsure of your needs.

So prior to reaching out to a contact, first think about the desired outcome.  Before laying the first stone, the builder needs to know what the finished product should look like.

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About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
This entry was posted in Communications, Job Search, LinkedIn, Networking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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