Be Prepared, Part II
Way back in the winter of 2013, when we were all complaining
about how cold it was, I wrote a post about the importance of being
prepared. Given the abundance of information now available online,
I suggested that
there is no excuse for showing up at a networking meeting
without doing at least some research beforehand. If you get some
clues about someone's interests, background, concerns, needs or
point-of-view, conversation is more likely to flow over coffee or
lunch. You are more likely to find common ground and you are more
likely to connect. Google, website bios, LinkedIn and other social
media tools can all provide you with good information that can help
the conversation flow.
Winging it may be tempting ("I'm smart and I have good social
skills. Why do I need to prepare?"). But even the smartest and most
socially gifted professional can learn a lot by taking 10 minutes
to do a little homework before heading off to meet a potential
client or referral source.
Snow seems like a distant memory as we suffer through one of the
hottest summers on record in the Northeast. But as we approach the
fall, I thought it was worth revisiting the topic as August is a
good time to create some networking momentum (contact people now
and if vacation schedules prevent you from getting together, then
at least you'll be able to get on their dance card in early
September -- although you may be surprised that people who are
around may not be as busy).
I'm revisiting this subject because I think it is an important
one. But in writing my last post, I neglected to include an
important piece of advice about gathering intel on your prospects.
If the person you are going to meet was introduced by a mutual
contact, spend a few minutes talking to that contact and learn what
you can about the individual. Sometimes a brief telephone
conversation can provide as much (if not more) information about an
individual than what you could find on-line. The fact that John
Smith vacations on the Cape, likes biking, has children that are
the same age as your children or is looking to be introduced to
investors, may be very helpful in opening up a conversation with
John. But this may not be information that could have been learned
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published August 1, 2013
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