I am frequently asked for advice about career moves, including opportunities and timing. For the most part, I am happy to provide it. Not only does it feel good to share knowledge, but often the conversations remind me of things I should be doing or considering. Sometimes, though, the individuals asking for advice fail to impress. Here’s how you can up your game –
Come prepared. Because you asked me for the meeting, I assume you know my background and what you want to ask me. Don’t begin the conversation by asking me to recite my career history or what I think about a particular job. I probably don’t have enough background on you to answer that question. Instead, arrive with a list of prepared – and specific – questions that will help you find the answers you seek.
Be on time. Again, you asked for the meeting. I expect that not only will you be on time, but that you might be a few minutes early and would have secured a table at which our conversation can take place. Most of these meetings I do willingly and freely so I do not want my time wasted as it is a precious resource.
Take notes. I once had a person meet with me and ask me for advice on a sticky situation. I willingly gave it to her. She wasn’t taking notes, but I figured she would leave and write up the highlights of the conversation. Wrong! Two days later she sent me an email asking if I could summarize my advice. (I did not.)
Ask how you can help. I am always impressed when at the end of our conversation, the person asks me how he might help me. I seldom have a specific request, but I almost always ask them to pay it forward. In other words, when someone approaches them for help, I ask that they make the time and help the person if they can. Another thing you can do is subscribe to my blog and tell others about it. You could also follow me on Twitter (@PriceCynthia).
Send a thank you. Yes, you will thank me when we finish our conversation (at least I hope so!) but sending a written thank you is even more appreciated. You could even do a shout out on Facebook or Twitter.
Most of us are more than willing to give of our time and share our experience, but we do expect there to be some commitment on your part.