Most of us know how hard it is to make Networking really work. But here is an article I found at bookmarklee.co.uk that sums things up nicely:
If we focus only on what we can get from a networking situation we are likely to be disappointed more often than not. On the other hand if we focus on how we can help those we meet two things happen.
Firstly the pressure is off and it’s easier to enjoy the event. Secondly we are perceived as more interesting – because we are more interested in the people we are with. This is a simple fact of life. As a result we are likely to get more value from the networking event.
Here are THREE questions to ask people you meet when you’re networking:
1. “What is your expertise?” You want to know more than the fact they are a solicitor or even an employment lawyer. How would they like you to remember them as compared with the other employment lawyers you meet?
2. “What sort of thing are you working on at the moment?” – This can also help make them more memorable as compared with other people you know in a similar line;
3. “What should I listen out for when I’m with other people so that I can say ‘aha – I should introduce them to you’?”
If you obtain answers to these questions, you will have identified how the person you asked can help you, or people you know, because you will know what they do.
By knowing what sort of thing they are working on you have an idea of what they are currently doing and at what level, and by asking how you can best identify potentially useful referral opportunities, you are providing some pro-active help, for which they will remember you.