How to prepare for a one-to-one conversation

Written by
Lauryn Mwale
Last Updated
July 23, 2021 15:11

Okay, so you reached out to someone you admire on LinkedIn or at an event, asked for a meeting and they said yes. Great! What do you do now? 

It can be really intimidating to speak to someone you admire one-on-one. You want to make a good impression. You may even be hoping that this conversation turns into a mentor-mentee relationship. Mentors can have a massive impact on your future trajectory but there is a lot of value in having one great conversation which leaves you with actionable next steps. Either way, this short article has three tips to help you kill that first meeting. 

  1. Get the details right

You need to be absolutely clear about the logistics of the meeting. If it’s happening in person, confirm the meeting place, figure out how much time you’ll need to get there and plan to arrive at least ten minutes early. If it’s happening online, confirm the web conferencing details, make sure you have a quiet, clean environment with strong internet connectivity to take the call in and be ready ten minutes beforehand. A day or two beforehand, send a quick message or email to confirm the meeting. This is also a good opportunity to share your questions in advance but we’ll go into that in the next point. 

  1. Prepare 

Do your homework and take it seriously. Look at the profile of the person you will be sitting down with. What is their expertise in? How does it link to your goals? Be very clear on exactly what you want to learn from them and build a mini agenda to ensure that both parties gain value from the meeting. The agenda allows you to be sure that all of your most pressing questions are covered and it helps them to prepare as well because it guides their thinking and how they can frame their responses. Having questions ready doesn’t mean that you can’t ask different questions as the conversation happens but it is imperative that you prepare. It reflects well on you and is a great help when you get nervous. Time is a finite and valuable resource so you don’t want someone leaving your meeting and thinking that you wasted their time. 

  1. Follow up

Many people neglect the follow up when it is a great opportunity to continue making a good impression. A day or two after the meeting be sure to send a short thank you message. Thank them for their time and insights and mention that you are glad to now be a part of their network. Be sure to add them on an appropriate social media platform and stay in touch. Relationships develop when we invest in them. 

I hope this helps. People love to talk about themselves and they love to help upcoming talent so be sure to reach out and have these types of conversations. You never know what might happen.

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Lauryn is the founder of Project Ignite Her.

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