What to talk about when networking

Topics for networking

Business, success and career progression has always been all about who you know. To that end its key to network and meet as many people as often as you can:

Networking is an important aspect of every career. It is through connections with other people in our industry or in the job that we aspire towards that we actually progress towards our goals. Networking helps us to improve, obtain guidance, learn, grow aspiration and flourish.

Networking can be tough though. In most networking situations you will be meeting with people that you may not know very well or at all. This can result in forced and difficult conversation. The following are some ideas of topic areas and general networking tips:

Networking coffee

Coffee - always pay for the coffee/ meal/ drink. You should always insist on paying. It shows respect and that you value their time. It communicates a good message and sets the right tone from the outset.

Show interest - you're meeting this successful person because you want to learn from them. Show an interest in what they do and how they got there. Listen carefully as you may receive a nugget of information not easily obtained elsewhere.

Aspirations - share your aspirations. Flatter your networkee by explaining that you want to reach their level and you want to understand more about how they did it. Ask them to share their aspirations as it will provide clues and an indication as to what your next step(s) may be.

Focus on them - whilst you are in the meeting for your own reasons make sure that you focus the attention and conversation topic on them. People love to talk about themselves rather than hear about your problems!

Building connections

Connections - at the end of your meeting always make sure that you ask for new connections. Sometimes it's hard to meet people within an industry if you're on the outside of it. By asking for more connections as to who they think you should speak to you will grow your network and find out more about the industry and from a different perspective. The added bonus is that you'll likely receive an endorsement from your networkee.

Thankyou - not only should you thank your networkee for meeting you as you are leaving and in person, but you should always send a follow up email or text thanking them for their time.

Follow up - most people think that networking is a one-off coffee. They are wrong. To provide long term and wholesome relationships then you need to be in contact on a regular basis (3 - 6 months). It isn't enough to turn up out of the blue every 2 years to ask for a favour every time you want to change jobs.

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