First congratulations! You succeeded to reach out to someone in order to ask for help and to learn more about their stories.
Asking for Help and Actively listening should be at the core of this meeting. You should learn as much as possible about this person, but also share relevant information about yourself for several reasons :
- You want to create a true connection ie knowing about their values, their stories, the choices they have made and why?
- You want the person to know you personally and show you are open-minded and worth spending time to help
Few tips before going in detail:
- Remind: If you did not hear back after 2 weeks send a nice reminder asking if your next meeting is still planned or if you should postpone it
- Casual Friday clothes: Depending of the context dress appropriately but generally not too chic but not too relaxed you want to give a good impression.
- Actively listening: Let the person take his time to answer before interrupt you are not doing an interview, you are not a journalist. Try to have open question and let the discussion to be natural (see the article about how to have a good conversation)
- Take notes: It shows your interest to what the person is telling to you and also will help to keep the main point and to send your thank you note
- Send a thank you mail: After each meeting always send a message saying that you are grateful for the time they took, enjoyed their company and that the topic of discussion X Y Z really helped you because of reason A B C and ask if you could catch up in t amount of time
- Plan your next meeting: Don’t forget to think about the next step and ask when the people will be available for a quick catch up per phone,skype or for a coffee
Before going to the meeting see below what you should prepare :
- Brief pitch about yourself : who you are, where you are coming from, what are your studies and first work or associative experience, what do you want to do if you know or the question you are asking to yourself, and one personal fun fact
- it enable the other person to understand who you are and how they relate to know and how they can help you
- Explain why you contacted them: this may be in relation to his sector of activity, his interest in a particular subject, your application for a position in his company, a school in common.
- Contextualize your contact request
- Specify what you expect from this meeting: simple contact, expand your network, ask for advice on a specific topic, have an opinion on an industry, looking for a mentor relationship, need sponsorship for a job, internship. ..
- Limit to the maximum the effort of the other person trying to understand who you are and what you expect from them
- Be able to explain The one project you are the most proud of, if you are an architect dont hesitate to bring for example a sample of the maquette you prefer
- By being passionate, you show your shared interest with your meeting about a specific subject
- Some questions you can ask :
What studies did you do?
Where did you work and what was your role?
What were the advantages / disadvantages of each of your positions?
What advice would you give me in the perspective of this specific challenge?
How do you think your industry evolved the last past 10 years, and how it will evolve?
Do you have any book, lecture to recommend?
- Actively listen to the Answer
- Propose your help, this is not because you are younger that you can not be useful, the person might have question about education for their children for example
- Extend your network: Ask to be put in relation with people who can help you, it might not work at the first meeting but usually people are keen to help