Networking is a great way to meet new people and create bonds that can transcend聽your professional and personal lives. But聽shining like Sasha Fierce聽in a room full of聽strangers聽while reciting your聽elevator pitch can聽feel overwhelming. If group situations are not your thing, don鈥檛 rule networking out yet. Instead, try meeting with people one-on-one over a meal or drinks (yes, coffee and tea count!). These meetings聽allow for deeper and more focused conversations than the standard networking event.聽To get the scoop on how to have a聽succesful聽one-on-one networking meeting, we turned to career coach Ashley Stahl.

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THE EXPERT

Ashley helps clients overcome their fears and create authentic career paths that make it easier to answer the most popular of networking inquiries, 鈥淪o, tell me about yourself.鈥澛燬he鈥檚 also a fearless networker in her own right. One of Ashley鈥檚 most memorable networking experiences was meeting with the Head of Nuclear Weapons for the National Security Council in the White House during her time working in foreign policy. 鈥淪he was on a panel, and I fearlessly went up to her, with the intention of having a coffee. It was profound to learn about her work, and I felt empowered by what would be possible for me in the same arena,鈥 says Ashley. Like we said,聽she鈥檚 the perfect person to turn to for networking advice!

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Expert TIPS + ADVICE

1. Make it easy for your guest.聽When inviting someone to meet up, make it as convenient as possible for them, so the opportunity to meet with you feels like a no-brainer. 鈥淭he easier you make it for people to meet you, the better the results you鈥檒l get. I always let someone know I can see them at their convenience, at a location they choose,鈥 says Ashley.

2. Project a positive energy. In most situations, it is not about what you say, but how you say it. In written correspondences like email, tone and intent are聽key. 鈥淭he energy of the email is everything,鈥 says Ashley. 鈥淚f it doesn鈥檛 feel like a balanced experience for me, or if the person starts off our relationship by trying to 鈥榯ake鈥 through email, I have no desire to sit down with them and endure the rest of that. It鈥檚 important to find the point of synergy you have between you and the person you鈥檙e speaking with.鈥

3. Ask meaningful questions.聽Ashley believes getting to know the other person is key to hosting a conversation that digs deeper than just 鈥渟mall talk.鈥 鈥淚鈥檇 ask questions about who they are and how that inspired them to do what they鈥檙e doing in the world,鈥 she says. 鈥淵ou never want to get too personal, but it鈥檚 impactful to make a point to get to know the big 鈥淲HY鈥 and why the person is doing the work they are. People feel seen when you connect at that level.鈥

4. A simple 鈥渢hank you鈥 will take you far.聽After paying for the meal or drinks (Yes, that鈥檚 on you as the host to take care of, says Ashley), wrap up the conversation with a simple thank you. During this time, let the person know that you hope to be a resource for them in the future and encourage them to reach out to you if they ever need anything. Remember, while networking, you should 鈥済ive鈥 as freely as you 鈥渢ake.鈥 Ashley also suggests following-up via email. 鈥淚f they offered to help you in some way, using the thank you email as a reminder is a powerful channel to remind them how they specifically offered to support you,鈥 she says.

We want to hear from you! Tell us about your most memorable one-on-one networking experience in the comments below. And if you鈥檙e looking to聽positively boost your job hunting mindset, check out Ashley鈥檚 free career success kit at www.ashleystahl.com.