Building rapport in networking conversations and in interviews is critical to gaining trust that can lead to referrals, leads, and job offers.
Some job seekers, however, focus too much on building rapport and don’t effectively move conversations in directions that get the results they need. Rapport by itself will usually not lead to the new referrals, leads, and offers they seek.
Sometimes, when meeting someone for the first time, things just seem to click. You find that you have things in common, or similar interests, and a warm friendly conversation takes off. It’s not unusual in that situation, to feel like the meeting was productive.
However, if it didn’t produce the needed results, the only productive part was that you may have gained a new acquaintance. That’s a good thing, however, not the only thing you were after when you set the meeting.
Often, while a good conversation may be going on, time runs out and the contact has to leave, or the allotted time for an interview comes to an end. If the intended information didn’t get exchanged, an opportunity is lost.
Being conscious of the time available, the amount of time that has passed, and the course of the conversation is critical to being able to achieve the results you need.
While a great conversation may be interesting, it may be important to pause and say something like:
I’m really enjoying this conversation, however, I realize our time is running short and I’d really like to be sure we get to the reason we’re getting together...
Taking control of the situation and moving the conversation toward gaining referrals, making sure they understand your background in an interview, or gaining new leads, is important so that the meeting is as productive as you hoped.
When you’re in the conversation, build rapport, but keep the goal in mind!