Setting the agenda for a one-on-one meeting begins when we make the appointment. The purpose can be as simple as “to get to know more about each other.” The person who initiated the meeting should restate this purpose at the outset of the meeting to set a direction and destination. This clarity makes it easy for the initiator to begin the learning process by asking some questions.
One-on-one networking meetings are generally 30-60 minutes in length. The concept of these meetings is to learn about each other's background, skills, competence, and interests. Networkers who succeed at one-on-one meetings have a real passion to hear other people's stories. Each of the suggested questions below has many potential follow-up questions. Where we go really depends on how they respond. Good listening skills are essential to getting the most out of these exchanges. As we prepare our agenda for any specific one-on-one meeting there are three general areas of discussion that should be included.
- Current World - This is where we develop a significant understanding of what this person is doing today. Asking the right questions will allow you to figure out how to make the best connections for them and to them.
- What do they do?
- What is their role and responsibility?
- What are the strengths of their product or service?
- Who do they serve (demographics)?
- Besides existing customers, where do their best leads come from?
- What are their biggest priorities?
- How are they rewarded?
- Background - These questions give us a better view of the person and their experiences. Your goal here is to get a real sense of the depth and breadth of this individual’s experience. Connections and our desire to facilitate them are often driven by our regard for the person.
- How did they get here?
- What has been their career path?
- Where are they from?
- What types of projects have they worked on?
- What did they used to do and where?
- What do they do when they're not working?
- What are their hobbies and passions?
- Where do they live?
- Where did they grow up? If different from home, what brought them here?
- Goals - Knowing where someone is going with build your opportunity to help them make valuable connections.
- Is there a specific goal that you have for this year?
- What do imagine will happen when you are able to reach that goal?
- Have you ever thought about starting a (another) business? If so, what would it be?
- Are there additional opportunities here for you at XYZ Company?
- Are there some goals that you’d personally like to accomplish in the next 5-years or so?
Of course, each meeting should have a different set of questions that are aimed to help you really get to know the person across from you. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to make valuable connections thereby establishing strong goodwill with this person and in your community.