Good networking is like good coffee*: flavourful, complex and definitely not bitter. How can you make sure you are getting the good stuff and not just Nescafe? Here are four tips to help you along your way.
- What do you need to explore? What is the issue and outcome sought?
- Who would be good to talk to? Who are you going to talk to?
- What are you going to talk about?
- Why are you even doing this? Why is it important to you? Why is it of interest to your coffee buddy? (Check our Simon Sinek’s Start with Why for some tips on this.)
- One-on-one is best, particularly if you have an ‘ask’.
- Be personal – build trust – share something of yourself.
- Tell a story – not just facts and figures.
- Don’t be afraid of the silence – it’s thinking time.
- Be clear from the start that there IS an ask.
- Problem/solution/action: ‘So the problem is X, and I think a solution might be Y, so what I’m asking you to do is Z’
- Be specific in the ask.
- Be clear that you are not fussed if they don’t say yes – and then don’t be if you get a knockback.
- Summarise what you’ve talked about.
- Say thank you!
- If you have promised to do something, do it (or at least explain why you haven’t).
- Follow up
Want more? Watch my recent webinar with the Centre for Workplace Leadership at Melbourne University.
What are you tips for what makes a good networking coffee catch up? Get in touch and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
*The irony here is that I don’t actually drink coffee, so I hope I have managed to describe a good one!