You’re at a dinner party, event with your family, at a networking event or just having a beer at the corner bar and someone you’re talking to asks you any one of these questions:

“So, what do you want to do?”

“What are you looking for?”

“How can I help you?”

These are exactly the questions you want to hear from someone who might be able to lend insight, take a personal interest in you, or introduce you to someone (or be that person) who hires you or offers you the opportunity of a lifetime. But are you ready with an answer to their question?

Whether you’re in an active job search or open to a good opportunity when it presents itself, it’s helpful to be ready to make the most of an opportunity. Do you maintain an elevator pitch? Have you prepared a statement about why you left your last role? Do you have a networking brief prepared? Do you have a business card you use for networking and/or job search purposes? Can you articulate what you’re looking for?

It’s the act of preparing these things that is the key to what makes them effective – the preparation and practice that goes into their creation in the first place. They require self reflection and often, the willingness to seek feedback from others.

If you make it easier for someone to help you, the more likely that person will be to follow through on providing support. If you give some direction, offers can become more than just a nice gesture. Be ever ready with responses such as:

“Yes, thank you…”

“Introduce me to so and so.”

“Meet me for coffee so I can learn more about what you do.”

“Pass my resume on within your organization or better, to someone specifically.”

With a little bit of reflection and preparation, you can be at the ready when help and opportunities come your way.