How many of you have heard of The King and I?
In The King and I, Anna sang about “Getting to Know You.” I encourage you to look at the lyrics for this song closely, as getting to know you is what we do when we network.
As Sandra Bullock’s character so aptly said in the movie, Miss Congeniality, we are all “the job.” But we are also so much more than just the job!
Getting to know you is an art and so very much more than just a business card.
Here are 5 questions you can use when networking whether you meet someone at a meeting like ours or at a social event, non-profit gala, wedding, funeral, in line at Starbucks or on line for the ladies’ or mens’ room:
1) Don’t just ask what do you do… ask what do you do AND WHY do you do it? Their “why” will tell you a lot about what motivates them to do this job instead of any other one. It’s also their “hook” as to why people might want to work with them as opposed to someone else in their same profession, industry and field.
2) Ask them when you’re not doing what you do, what do you like doing? This is not a pick-up line. It’s a great way to figure out some common interests that might make for a great meetup so you could either network together at a non-profit event, baseball game, tea in Central Park or some other more interesting venue than just a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
3) Ask them to tell you a story about one of their favorite clients. This will give you insight into not only the types of people they work with but also how they work with them and what they can do for them. This will also give you a chance to think about who you might refer to them BEFORE you meet.
4) Ask them not just for their card or contact information… ask them what their best form of communication is. That way you can follow up to schedule a meeting using their preferred method.
5) Decide who will own the follow up to set up the meeting. Otherwise, it may never happen and you won’t get to know them after all. Don’t just end up with a business card.
One more thing to think about: How much time do you really have to network? You may want to meet with one person more quickly than another. Use these questions to determine whether you want to meet with someone and how fast you want to do it.
Next week, we’ll talk about how to make the most of your meeting time with them so you can get to know them even more and they can get to know you better.
This week check out the book Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business to get more support with meeting and getting to know others.