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Networking Meeting – What’s Interesting and What’s Relevant

Search, like work, there are always a few key points of execution that make all the difference to your success.  To boost your productivity, let me share a simple set of rules I developed after finding my job search execution falter.

When it came to networking meetings, I was a freaking machine pounding out 20-30 meetings a week and feeling pretty good.  After an exceptional period of craziness of making connections and being connected, I took stock of my search.  No doubt I built an impressive list of networking luminaries, yet I was surprised that I had not spent more time with people who could hire me or in interviews.

One of my favorite phrases summed up my situation: All hat, no cattle.

I realized that getting connected and taking networking meetings was the easy part.  Putting these meetings to work was what was really mattered.  It was time to change tactics.  I yanked out a piece of paper I made two columns and labeled one “Interesting” and the other “Relevant”.   Then I wrote down activities/actions into each column.

Interesting versus Relevant_0.JPG


After assessing what I wrote down it was clear my activities had me in the left column.  Lesson learned, time to move to the right column.  There was some effort, so let me walk you through points and reference the tools I used.

Making connections: This is most important act you can do to build a relationship, by showing you truly came to network by offering useful and thoughtful connections.  Thankfully, I had done consistently, since I was clued into the importance of the more connections you make, the more you will receive.  I used the “80% Rule of Networking” guide and “Networking Meeting Checklist” to help me prep for each meeting.   

My role/companies:  Of course you will share these items, but what is important is that it is crystal clear to your networking contact.  My biggest mistake here is too much information and lacking a simple follow-up tool.  I used a simple one-page “Marketing Plan” to keep me on track and to follow-up.

Identify firms: This is the networking payoff when your networking contact lets you know of firms where there is potential employment.  A “Targeted Company List” is a great tool to spark ideas or insights from a contact.  In walking through the list, I usually got one or two companies that had an immediate or near-term need – it’s like striking gold!

People who could hire me: My version of a Targeted Company list is more than companies, but also the names of people I want to meet.  You want your networking contact using their brain power to think of insights, not of names.  Also, your contact may know the person from outside of work and may not associate their name with a company.   If your networking contact knows the company or person, be sure you ask for the right type of help – see “Roadmap to the Hiring Manager”.

Don’t forget that the preparations before and actions following are where you get results.  A contact may offer to make connections, but it will not happen until you follow-up after the meeting or completed your own introductions. Here are three tips to help you with prep and follow-up.

One: Schedule time on your calendar to prep for a meeting.  I cannot emphasize how important this is.

Two: Spread out your follow-up across your week.  Try to avoid waiting until Friday to send all your follow-up notes, by then you are usually tired and less effective.  Also, by waiting several days your networking contact may not recall why they thought making the connection was important – so strike while the iron is hot.  Make your follow-up as urgent as your desire to get a job.

Three: Record all of your prep and follow-up.  As your networking continues, trust me that things tend to run together you cannot remember everything – no matter how good your memory!  You may need to follow-up more than once to get the connection you need.

Good luck today.

Mark Richards



David Levine
Title: President
Company: DM Levine Consulting LLC
(President, DM Levine Consulting LLC) |

Great points made. Thanks