Connect with Class

Have you ever gotten an email like this? ‘Hi Phil, Tony Grosso suggested I contact you. I’d like to meet with you to network and discuss my job search. Let me know some good times to get together. Regards … Chuck Upton.’

While harmless enough, concise and clear, Chuck could have been much more effective, efficient and engaging.  He could have indicated:

  1. How he knows Tony. How well he’s connected to him might influence my willingness to invest my time with him. Just met Tony at a networking event, not so much. Dropping names can be helpful if done right. As is, not a very warm lead.
  2. Who he is. Details on his background, his story and job search might also influence how much time I might want to spend. If I can relate to where he’s been and where he wants to go, I might get passed the negative realization that talking to a job seeker is usually a time suck.
  3. Why me. Why did Tony suggest he talk to me? What does he hope to learn? How can I help him? The more value I can offer him, the better. If I’m one of five names Tony gave him with no particular reason, not so much.
  4. What he wants to discuss. If he had listed three specific discussion points, it would have been easier for me to determine how focused he is and how much value I might be able to share. The better the questions, the better the reaction. ‘How do you determine what professional groups to get involved with?’ – concise, relevant, focused. ‘How did you get started?’ For most established experts or entrepreneurs, not so much. Way too historical and time consuming to be useful.
  5. What would work for me. He would have valued my time more by offering to begin the conversation by phone or by email if I’d prefer that to a face-to-face meeting. If he’s seeking specific information, holding out for a meeting might impact his efforts.

And if he really wanted to get my attention, he could have asked Tony to call me on his behalf. Assuming Tony had some skin in his game and also was someone on my ‘A List’, I’d be more inclined to help. Especially if I owed Tony a return professional courtesy for an earlier favor. Those factors would turn this into a very warm, if not a hot, lead.

So, if you’ve tried to network like Chuck before, commit to a better approach. Be more effective, efficient and engaging. Network with uncommon courtesy … with focus and finesse. When you embrace these simple best practices, your Networking 2.0 will propel you from shaky and shabby to shining and successful.