Author: Dave Bookbinder Source: Huffpo
You’re getting out there… out in the market and out of your comfort zone. You’re doing the networking thing and getting some traction. Your activities have resulted in you having a breakfast meeting… tomorrow.
What’s your plan?
Collateral materials in order? Check. Researched the person you’re meeting with? Check. Directions to your meeting place? Check.
You’re ready to rock, and it’s show time.
Working in the valuation consulting field, I have the good fortune of meeting a lot of great people. Some of them have been or will be in transition. Some of them are in transition when I meet them. This affords me a fantastic opportunity to add value, give-back and help.
1. Be Interesting
It’s a very competitive landscape out there in all fields and at all levels. It’s not enough to just demonstrate that you have solid experience or even a transferrable skill set. Lots of other folks can say the same – and some have more of both than you do. So how can you compete with that?
Some of it is a matter of presentation. Lots of folks will default to talking in buzzwords and rely on their industry jargon, and that might be ok up to a point.
But when everyone is saying the same things like “I’m a detail-oriented _____ with a particular emphasis on _____ with XX years of experience,” the person on the opposite side of the table tends to hear “Blah, blah, blah…” It’s the same old, same old.
Yes, the bona fides matter. But there are more interesting ways to convey that you have them. For example, story telling is a great way to demonstrate that you’ve been there – done that, without sounding robotic or scripted. It’s actually interesting, and oftentimes very different; in a good way. If you aren’t demonstrating your experience by talking about the circumstances in which you’ve actually done it, you might want to spend some time working on that.
2. Be Interested
The meeting was arranged to talk about you, right? What you’re looking to do or who you’re looking to meet.
Before you go too far down that path, here’s a spoiler alert: It’s not about you.
Certainly not yet.
As I’ve said previously, people are basically decent and want to help. But nobody likes a taker.
So, with that in mind, please spend some time talking with the person across the table about what matters to them – what they’re working on and how you might be able to help them.
This doesn’t necessarily have to happen at the beginning of the conversation, so it might be “about you” early on. But it won’t be “about you” if this doesn’t happen at all.
So before you leave, make sure you talk about that other person. You don’t need to have an immediate ‘give’ to help them in that moment – the point is that you’ve asked the right questions (authentically) so that you know how to do so at some point.