RECON Meetings – The Core Activity Of Networkers

RECON Meetings – The Core Activity Of Networkers

Recon meetings are not just a chance to escape from the job for an hour and have a quite coffee with a fellow member. They are probably one of the most important activities you will conduct as an active networker.

Recon is short for reconnaissance, fact finding, information discovery. The purpose of a recon meeting is to learn and understand the motivation and referral needs of your fellow member.

To make the best use of the time, and so that you can process and store the information effectively, it is best to have a structured approach to your recon meetings. This will mean you make best use of the time and get the core information you need to know. There is still time for a little socialisation, but a structured approach ensures you get the information you need in order to be able to identify referrals.

A recon meeting should last no more than 60 minutes. It is not all work, you need to have the social chit chat and family background information, but mostly it is about the information fact finding.

Another thing to remember is that if you are visiting someone else you are there to listen and learn, not to speak. By that I mean that you are there to learn about them, they can learn about you when they return the recon meeting and come to your work place. But for this meeting, it is an interview where the bulk of information should only pass one way.

Your brain can only either give or receive information. It is very inefficient to try to do both. Mainly, as you are never truly listening, you are working out in your head what to say next, so you are not actively listening to the other person.

How do you structure the meeting?
I have developed a series of questions that I use in a recon meeting to guide the conversation and cover the key areas of what I need to know

I have broken down each of the letters of RECON to give triggers that you can use to ask a structured set of questions of the other member. These areas cover the information you need to gather to give you a more in-depth idea of not only the business, but also the member.

R – Reason – What is your reason, your passion, your drive to be in business?
E – Experience – What have you learned to get to this point?
C – Customers – What are your typical customers like?
O – Off beat – away from your business what do you like to do?
N – Next – What is next for your business or personally

Additionally, listed below are a series of questions that help to move things forward (if you can’t think what to ask).

When you sit down to talk about your business you need to be prepared. Take the above question structure with you when you go so you can me effective with both parties valuable time. There is nothing worse than having an interesting social chat with someone and coming away with very little information about their business, aims or goals.

I would go so far as to say that if someone turns up to have a recon meeting with you, and they don’t have a a sheet, they are not taking the recon seriously. I keep a stack of RECON sheets in my office for when people come to visit me and have ‘forgotten’ to bring one. It could be that they have not read this and are unaware of the structure. We will let them off on this occasion.

Don’t just fill the sheet in and forget about them. You should keep them in a file and do two things with them. Firstly, every three months you should spend half an hour rereading your notes about the members of your group and secondly, you should take it to the second dance you have with the person later in the year and use it as a guide to see how things have developed for them. It is interesting sometimes to remind them what they said their goals were and to see if it came to fruition.

Recons give you a greater depth of knowledge and will activate your Networking Sense, heightening your ability to find referrals for all. You should allocate two hours a week to recon meetings, and ensure you stick to the routine. This might sound like a lot, but consider that if you have 30 members in your group and do one home and one away recon with each of them it will take 30 weeks.

You need to be conducting a recon meeting with each member at least once a year. Think about how much your business changes in a year. You need to keep up to date with the movement of your group member's businesses.

Conducting Recons is probably the most effective networking tool you can use, on equal footing with attendance at your weekly meetings.

Module Actions
Print out some blank Recon Record sheets
Arrange 3 Recon Meetings with members of your group to happen in the next two weeks.