While I feel that some kinds of “networking” are a major waste of time, at least for me,
it’s quite different when we’re very intentional about making the conversation worth
its time investment for both participants.
Minimastermind networking is about having a kind of initial networking
conversation which is designed to create worthwhile value to both participants,
regardless of whether it turns out that it makes sense for us to actively remain
in contact, and that with a quite limited time commitment of 12-15min for the
Minimastermind networking conversation.
A key point here is understanding that it’s quite improbable for a relatively
random initial business networking conversation to just happen be a matchup where one
of us is in the market for buying what the other is offering to sell, or where it makes
sense to develop an in-depth relationship where business referrals can be expected.
Therefore, while in every single initial business networking conversation I will ask
a question or two that will allow me to recognize that kind of relatively rare kind of
situation, that cannot be what we’re shooting for when setting up an initial networking
So here is what I propose:
We schedule a conversation (in this time, a video conversation via the Internet) that will
have a duration of between 12 and 15 minutes.
Unless you ask me to “go first”, the first five minutes will be about you, and about your offer,
and primarily about a business challenge that you’re facing. Maybe I will have an idea or
insight that is helpful to you, or my asking you questions triggers you to express an insight
that you already knew unconsciously.
Then we switch roles for the next five minutes.
Finally one minute each is set aside for debriefing, i.e. reaffirming what has been of value
in the conversation.
So it’s a bit like a mastermind, but much smaller (in fact, two people is of course the
absolutely minimal group size where a conversation can happen) and shorter in duration
(with the time commitment so low that there is no need for in-depth pre-qualification).
Taken together, the above adds up to 12 minutes.
I'll set a timer to allow us to avoid going over time unreasonably in any of the phases
(a bit is ok, that’s what the extra 3 minutes are for that make up the difference between
12 and 15 minutes).
In this way we’ll have a conversation that has a very good chance of being of great value
to both of us. And the time structure avoids the risk of unpleasantness around situations
where any part of the conversation exceeds its useful duration.
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