If this is what your one-to-ones are like,
you’re doing it wrong.

It’s not a government form.

The purpose of these categories of information we’ve discussed over the last five posts is not to create a series of boxes for you to fill out about your networking partners. It certainly isn’t for you to create an actual form to hand them to fill out.

The goal here is to provide a guide to conversation. It’s for those who are uncomfortable when they find themselves chatting with someone with whom they’ve only spoken for five minutes in a crowded room. In fact, you can even use the same general categories for that first time you meet at the networking event (though you certainly won’t have the chance to go into any significant depth in such a venue).

You’ve probably heard of some other acronyms for this same process — GAINS, GIFTS, FORMS, etc. They all work to further the relationship process if you use them properly. Just like my mnemonic, INFER, the underlying goal is to find out as much about your new networking partner as possible so that you can find ways to help them,

Their success is a milepost on the path to your own dreams.

Don’t forget, too, that they can’t help you find your dreams unless you are willing to share them. This conversation thing has to be a two-way street. For any question you ask, be prepared to have the same question asked back to you. Be willing to meet them at least halfway. And don’t forget the most important question of all — the one that makes this whole networking thing work in the long run:

“How can I help you?”

Photo by tijmen van dobbenburgh