Congratulations on the offer!
Q: How should I approach coffee chats with SMs/Partners to network effectively and make a good impression?
Most of what you need is related to general communication tips. You can probably find the majority of what you may need in the old but always worthy “How to Win Friends & Influence People”.
In terms of specific tips for new joiners (not just for communication with partners) this is what I usually recommend:
- Take notes during meetings/discussions with your manager – this will help you to remember details and will show you care about them to the team.
- Always double-check. The first impression is very important when you join a new company: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you create a reputation of a reliable person. Double checks should be done on expectations for your job, your Excel analysis, your slides – basically everything.
- Define priorities before starting any set of tasks. The majority of the results usually come from a subset of activities – this is true also for your tasks in consulting. You have to identify which they are and prioritize them – the application of the so-called 80-20 rule or Pareto Principle. Alignment on priorities and expectations is particularly important with your manager at the beginning of the project.
- Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. You should build a good network within the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term. More difficult to do during COVID – but there may still be opportunities for virtual gatherings. Try to take advantage of as many as possible to build connections.
- Organize your private life activities. You want to organize your calendar to leave some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). This is not easy but can be managed if you organize well, and long-term will be critical to keep a balance between work and private life. Also, it is better to align with your manager/teammates from the beginning on your core needs, so that there are no surprises later on.
- Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
- Ask for help when you don't know what to do – better to let know you are in trouble with meeting a deadline than missing the deadline.
- Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.
All the best for a great start!