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How to network: 5 tips for maximizing your meetings

Meridith Levinson | April 6, 2011
Take these five steps before, during and after a networking meeting to guarantee that you get what you need, says networking expert Ford Myers.

"It's not reasonable to walk into a networking meeting empty handed and just say, 'Do you know anyone I can talk to?' Having your background document and your list of targeted companies helps the other person help you," says Myers.

3. Take charge. "Since you set up the meeting, you have to run it the same way you'd run a meeting at the office," says Myers. That doesn't mean you have to act formal and business-like or that you have to put a presentation together. But you do have to kick it off, keep it on track and make sure you touch on everything that you need to address.

4. Stick to the schedule. If you ask for half hour of a person's time, don't exceed 30 minutes. Be respectful of the other person's availability.

5. Follow up. Don't neglect to thank your contact for his or her time after the meeting. Myers recommends using the thank-you e-mail as an opportunity to ask your contact for his or her feedback on the meeting you held.

When you land a job, make sure you share the good news with your contacts, says Myers, and tell them all that you couldn't have done it without their help.

"There's a right way to network and a wrong way to network," says Myers. "Our way is very structured, purposeful and productive. It yields great results."


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