When Networking, Know How to Offer Your Help

| June 19, 2015

HBR940

Harvard Business Review

At the end of a networking meeting, it’s not uncommon to ask, “So how can I help you?”  This is a nice gesture, but if you’ve requested the meeting, you should already come with an idea for how you might be able to help.

Don’t make your colleague do the work. Before the meeting, think up a hypothesis for how you can be helpful to them. Throughout your conversation, test it with subtle questions. Then you can ask explicitly whether your idea would actually be useful. For instance, if you’re meeting an entrepreneur, they’re probably looking for new clients.

So if you know someone who could use their product or services, they’d probably appreciate an introduction. Even small gestures, such as sharing their social media posts or commenting on their blogs, are thoughtful forms of giving that are likely to be noticed.

Adapted from “The Right (and Wrong) Way to Network,” by Dorie Clark.

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