This is a continuation of my blog from last week —
First and foremost, ask yourself — “what is the purpose of my meeting with this individual?”
And —“what would be a good outcome?”
Here are examples of what you might seek:
• To establish a mentor/mentee relationship
• To establish a friendship/relationship in which to foster ideas
• To offer assistance to this person on a project or ad hoc basis
Even if this person is not amenable to fulfilling any of your desired outcomes, you will still be ahead of the game because you had the courage to ask for, and have the meeting. So, nothing lost, and much gained, in terms of experience meeting the next decision maker.
Your homework prior to the meeting is critical. Choose one, or two topics that this person has recently written, or spoken about, and read further on this topic. You should gather enough knowledge to be able to have an intelligent conversation. That might mean speaking to colleagues or searching online forums to glean the latest insights.
Also, you need to prepare a brief introduction of yourself and your background. This is not an interview, but you do want to make the best first impression possible. Appearance, poise and preparation will all pay off in this situation.
Draft several sentences for your backgrounder, making it upbeat, conversational and informative. Practice it with a colleague and make sure it sounds effortless. Talk about your future career goals.
Since your meeting might be very brief (15 minutes?), focus your questions about the topic you researched and/or any questions about his/her road to success. People love to talk about themselves.
Finally, as a summary:
>> Know your topic and the person you are meeting
>> Prepare your bio
>> Prepare questions
>> Ask for a card and send a written thank you note
>> Ask if you can stay in touch
Use the courage and persistence it took to get this meeting to propel you to your next positive career advancement action!