Meeting Someone New (Professionally)

Note: I’m not saying that this is the best way to do it, but it’s how I usually prepare for meetings and it seems to be working! Also I am not looking for jobs or anything from these people, only looking to meet and potentially gain some insight.

One of my main goals for my summer in San Francisco was so meet as many amazing people as possible. Luckily for me I have had the opportunity to do so.

Today I am meeting with a Venture Capitalist (VC). I thought I would write about the process of meeting someone new in the professional word. In today’s post I will not be talking about getting the initial meeting though- another day though!

When I plan the meeting I like to go to where they are, and do anything I can to make the meeting as convenient for them as possible.

Before I meet with someone I like to have done a little research on who they are and the company they are currently with. I do this because I value the time they are taking to meet with me and I want to come in with some background knowledge. (In the beginning of the meeting I find it helpful to tell them about myself, this allows them to be as helpful as possible .)

Right before I like to remind myself that the people I am meeting with did not start out in the positions they are currently in, and were once in similar positions to me. Basically I like to remind myself that these C level executives and other people with important roles are humans like me.

Next I try and think why am I going to this meeting, and I try to think about why they agreed to meet with me. This allows me to be able to think of a few questions that I would like to ask ahead of time, and also think of ways that I may be able to help them. I don’t like to have too many questions. Too many questions can get in the way of actively listening to their responses because you’re thinking about the next question you’re going to ask. Instead let the conversation organically flow. Plus if the meeting goes well you will have more opportunities to ask them these questions that you were not able to discuss at the initial meeting.

Within the week of the meeting I like to send an email thanking them for their time, and telling them something helpful I took away from the meeting. I also tell them that I would like to stay in contact (if that’s true).

Not every person you meet will inspire you, but you have to keep knocking on doors till you find the people that do.

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