This is a continuation from my webinar on Virtual Networking 101: Where to go, who to connect with, and what to say.
Not sure how to get started networking and you don't have time to watch the webinar? This guest spotlight post I did with The Writique on Instagram should bring you up to speed.
Reaching Out To Someone New Online
Me: Hi Emily,
I thought that was an excellent point you made earlier today on your LinkedIn post about resume writing for first-time job seekers. I looked at your profile and saw we graduated from the same school! Go Moccasins! I'm a Career Counselor just getting started with my business and I was wondering if you had any advice for someone starting out. - Ashley Cross
Emily: Sure. (and she tells me more)
Me: That's amazing. I'd love to learn more about your background and exchange some ideas. I'm also curious if there's some way we could partner on something in the future. Like maybe I could spotlight you & your business on my blog. Could we talk over Zoom or Skype later this week to brainstorm?
Emily: Sure. I'm available on...
Instead of arranging a one-on-one call, I could've just asked Emily if she could answer a couple questions for me and we could continue the conversation via Direct Message.
Breaking Down the Formula
I've followed and engaged/commented on some of Emily's posts, I feel okay with reaching out.
I started with a genuine compliment.
I summarized what they said that resonated with me and where I saw it.
In a concise way, I elaborated on what we have in common and why I'm reaching out.
I asked for something in a way that would require little effort on her part AND framed it in how I could provide value to her.
What Questions Do I Ask Them?
I've used something called an informational interview as a guideline for my one-on-one meetings with other professionals, especially if I'm interested about their career. The idea is to ask someone to open up about their experiences and history: what they liked, what they don't, what they wish they knew before starting in this field/role...
Here are some links to possible questions you could ask:
After you've built the rapport with them, you give them an easy call-to-action. They are more likely to help you because you listened and asked thoughtful questions.
"Can I connect with you on LinkedIn (or other social media)?"
"I'm really interested in learning more. Who would you recommend I talk to about ____ (i.e. getting started in this field, getting leads for my business)?"
At the End of The Day
When you have a heart-to-heart with someone and a genuine interest about their personal experiences, challenges, accomplishments, resources, and advice: you are building a relationship with that person. The more you make a conversation about them, and not yourself, the more likely they will want to return the favor and help you too.
If you keep engaging with them and stay visible, they might even think of you if something comes up later on down the road. THAT's what networking is about.
Want more personalized help on how to network as a pro? Contact me for a free consult at calend.ly/acrosscareers.