Regardless of your feelings towards networking, it is a crucial part of being successful in any business–corporate, comedy, or otherwise. And the key to great networks is individual relationships, often built through “One-on-Ones” or “join-ups.”
Building a Network
One of the smartest things I ever did when I was an intern at a Fortune 50 company in college was meet with as many people as possible while I was there. Not only did I meet with people in my group, but I also met with people from marketing, sales, people at different sites, and as many people from upper management as I could.
Through those join-ups, I met a number of interesting people, and I’m still connected to many of them today. Since my internship, I’ve continued to try to join-up with new people, both those related to my job and otherwise. While scheduling these meetings, many of which take place over lunch, is half the battle, not all lunch join-ups are created equal.
Just as a comedian has to connect with his audience, a successful one on one meeting starts with connecting with the other person. Here are some tips for having a more impactful lunch join-up:
5 Tips for Better One-on-One Meetings
1. Get out of the office.
One of the reasons I have join-ups during lunch is that it helps remove the “business” element of the interaction. While the person you meet up with may end helping you complete a business project, getting out of the office for your initial interactions grounds your relationship in your actual relationship, not in work.
2. Ask good questions.
While you don’t want the lunch to turn into an interview, be ready with some good questions to ask. You can certainly include some of the more mundane questions like “What’s your job description?” and “What do you do?” (two similar, but different, questions), but make sure you keep it interesting. Some of my favorites include:
- What’s one interesting thing that I wouldn’t know about you?
- What are you passionate about?
- How did you get to where you are now?
3. Talk about your passions.
Similar to asking the other person about what they’re passionate about, share with them what makes you tick. This is what makes your interactions interesting, and what will connect you on a more personal level to the other person. You can believe that everyone I join-up with eventually hears about my love for all things comedy.
4. Get recommendations.
Probably the single greatest question that I asked while an intern was “Do you have any recommendations on who else I should join-up with?” This question lead me to so many interesting people that I never would’ve met otherwise. Ask this one at the end and the other person can consider everything he’s just learned about you before giving a recommendation.
The most important step to the one-on-one actually occurs after the join-up. Follow-up on the conversation you had. If you mentioned an article that you thought would be of interest to the other person, make sure you send a link to the article for them to read. This would also be the appropriate time to say thank you = ).
It’s important to realize that the lunch join-up should just be the start of your relationship with this person. Connecting with them periodically is a must if you want to strengthen the relationship.