“Networking” is such a tricky word because there are such a wide variety of goals one that is “networking” can have. The best place to start in preparation for your goals is to understand what you want to get out of the experience. Before you start googling or anything of that sort, come up with a very simple and concise goal – there is a high chance the person you are talking to will just ask you, what do you want to get out of this conversation, be prepared to answer 🙂
Anyways, once you have a simple goal, you probably want to start some basic preparation for the call. Some people spend more time than others in researching and trying to understand the person they are talking to…you probably want to experiment over a few different people to find out how much information you really need to have a good conversation.
At the minimum, you want to know their name and what they do. Google them. Read their linkedin. Go on their personal website and explore some of their projects. And see what mutual friends you have on linkedin.
That should be enough! If you want to get deeper, and depending on the person that they are, see if they have published anything or been on a podcast. You will want to avoid asking questions they have already answered.
You do not want to be a stalker, so avoid bringing up weirdly personal information on the call.
But you also do not want to be a fool asking silly obvious questions.
Good luck 🙂