Wednesday 17 February 2010

Effective networking - agenda

As you have asked for the meeting to be arranged, you must decide on the agenda and lead the discussion. Advance preparation is therefore essential, as it is for any kind of interview. Make sure you pay attention to dress and appearance. Broadly, these are the priorities:

• Start by establishing some rapport. If you are talking to a primary contact, remind them of the circumstances in which you became acquainted or have worked together. in the case of a referred contact, get him to talk about his/her own business activity and the issues he/she currently faces. Your homework can be very useful here.

• Outline your reason for coming. Summarise your own background and situation and outline your job search strategy. Your purpose for the meeting is to ask them for information and advice to assist with your job search. Make it clear you are not asking for a job now.

• Ask your contact to comment on your CV in relation to your job search, either during your meeting or by leaving/sending a copy. The more they know and understand about your background, the more they will be able to help, either in terms of additional contacts or the direction of your search. There is always the possibility that during your meeting your contact may begin to consider you for a position within their own company, one clue being that they start to take control and ask the questions.

• Ensure that you do not leave the meeting without trying to get the names of at least two more referred contacts. In this way, your network will continue to expand.

• Ask if they can suggest other organisations which may need your skills. Discuss their view about the market in relation to your career direction.

• Make sure you manage the time - keep the meeting short and on track. Do not go over the allocated time.

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