LegalJob was asked about how to maximize the five minute networking interview.
Q: You advise when networking to request five minutes of someone’s time. How do I fit in everything I want to say in five minutes?
Answer: Reasonable question. Keep your talking to a minimum — you are there to learn from them and to obtain another name of someone you should contact next. Know your elevator speech cold and limit your time to less than a minute. Then, ask thoughtful questions about the person’s practice, how they got started, etc. Ask follow-up questions if appropriate and there is time. People love to talk about themselves so this should be the easy part.
Most important, make sure you know what you are looking for from that person before you meet with them. Many people forget this step and do not make the most of the meeting. People generally want to help but you have to help them help you.
Maybe it is a name of someone else they know who can be helpful. Perhaps it is something else that will reveal itself at the meeting. Whatever it is, make sure you ask before the meeting ends.