Are you a master at addressing new people you meet, engaging them by asking the right questions? Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas, in their book, Power Questions emphasize that focused questions will help you build relationships and win more business.
It makes sense. Most people are flattered when you express an interest in them. When you ask open-ended questions of a new acquaintance or of a new client, you set the stage where you can actively listen letting the person opposite you do the talking. Listening is a powerful tool when you take the effort to absorb and synthesize what you are hearing.
Here are several useful tips from Power Questions they the authors refer to as the Socratic Approach:
Instead of “telling”, ask.
Instead of “being the expert”, encourage others to share their expertise.
Instead of “controlling knowledge”. Obtain the experiences of others.
Now for the one I like the best:
Instead of “showing people how smart you are”, “show others how smart they are.”
So, the next time, you are meeting someone new, see what you can learn about your new acquaintance by asking the right questions.
A few weeks ago, while I was hanging out at an airport en route to Nicaragua for a cycling vacation, I happened to notice an interesting article about the importance of of networking when looking for a job (Unfortunately, I don’t recall the source).
Did you know that applying for jobs on Monster, CareerBuilder and the like could actually hurt your chances of landing a job? Apparently, some corporate recruiters regard those job seekers who rely on online applicants as losers. Yes, losers.
So, what does that mean? You have to rely on Linkedin, Twitter, etc. even more. Go ahead and connect with people at companies where you would like to work. Find out if you can have a few minutes of their time to find out key information and share what you have to offer.
Be sure to join groups to broaden your network to increase your odds of having Linkedin connections within your reach (2nd level).
Lastly, be visible online. Read the article How to Say ‘Look at Me!’ to an Online Recruiter which appeared in The New York Times by Phyllis Korkki. Recruiters and employers are looking for candidates who are technologically “with-it.”
It’s a new year and it’s the time to apply the word (new) to whatever you are doing – whether you are looking for a job or running a small business. If the old routines are getting you nowhere, get out and do something bold and daring!
For job seekers, start making some bold moves, if you’re not doing it all ready. It’s time to take a different approach. Knock on doors, go to networking events, make some phone calls. Why not find out what worked for others. Meet with recruiters, employment agencies, job coaches. Ask them to review your resume. Find out what they think about your job search strategy. Check out a book for job hunters from the library. Then, go ahead and apply a new strategy.
The clock is ticking. No procrastinating allowed.
In our daily lives, we all have to communicate to influence the actions of others. Sales people in particular know this fact of life very well. They have to gain someone’s attention and they may only have a few minutes to get beyond the introduction. Similar, a job seeker maybe out and about trying to convince prospective employers that their skills and experience are worth paying for. A three minute introduction might be the launching point of a expanded discussion down the road.
A while back, as a business librarian, I began attending networking events at various chambers of commerce. At a monthly gathering I used to attend, we would stand around in a circle and each person would have an opportunity to give a 1 minute elevator (it was all we had time for). Over time, I began to observe which speeches sounded the most effective. Clearly, many of the introductions went as follows, Hi, my name is Mary, I run a full-service insurance agency, please call me if you are interested in purchasing insurance”. Once you heard enough of those, you tended to tune them out.
However, there were others that were creative, they were novel and had lots of pizazz. The best ones were so memorable probably because they made us all laugh.
So, where I am leading with all this? I recently picked up a book called, Small Message, Big Impact: the elevator speech effect by Terri L. Sjodin.
The importance of having a well-planned short and concise speech is not all you will learn. It provides great tips and tricks to help you get the foot in the door or pique someone’s interest to want to learn more about you.
I generally shy away from management books for they tend to put me to sleep. For a new manager or any manager who would appreciate some management tips, Work Happy by Jill Geisler is a one of those rare management books well worth having a look at. If you are short on time, simply peruse the chapter headings to decide on the segments that interest you. Even the headings are quite illuminating.
I have always believed that to be a good manager it was important to know yourself well and to be willing to face up to the good, the bad and yes the ugly aspects of your personality. Looking into the mirror and glaring at the blemishes is surely a bold thing to do. So, the chapter, Manage Yourself, So You Can Lead Others is a good one. Can you face up to your weaknesses and work on them? Are you able to see things as others do? Or, as a manager do you know that you are always on view as if in a glass fishbowl? So, keep in mind your staff will not be very forgiving of your bad mood or bad hair day.
I must say that the very last chapter says it all. Giesler, writes in the title of this chapter (15), For Great Bosses, It’s Always About Values.” She focuses on the values of integrity, humanity and levity. With “levity”, we must not forget to have fun. Lastly, what will be your legacy as a leader and how would you like to be remembered?
To me, it’s all about the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
In my library workshop, “Search the Hidden Job Market”, I talk about becoming the information sleuth. Think of yourself as a detective or consider putting your dog to work at sniffing out the jobs. There are all sorts of channels to work and the more pathes you take, should increase your odds of landing a job. If nothing else, you’ll be busy.
- Of course, go ahead and work through the job boards.
- Meet with recruiters and headhunters for you might just be an ideal match.
- Tell all your friends and relatives.
- Tell the strangers you meet while waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office, at the grocery, at the gym, etc.
- Follow the jobs in Linkedin especially the ones listed in your groups.
- Read the newspaper and especially the business section. Be sure to think about what the headlines may mean with regard to potential hiring. Are there new companies moving in? Is anyone moving to larger quarters these days? Or, have any companies been awarded a large government contract perhaps?
- Identify vendors or suppliers who might know where there are job openings at companies with whom they do business. For example, if you were an accountant, you might contact CPA firms to find out if any of their clients have job openings or perhaps you could contact the sales reps for accounting software. If you are an HR specialist, you might contact employee benefits companies or HR specific software providers.
- Don’t forget trade or professional associations. Join them and get involved. It could be money and time well-spent.
- Try writing a blog. An article I read in the The Wall Street Journal a few years ago, featured someone who got noticed and got a job because of the reputation she established with her blog.
Above all, be visible!
Are you on Linkedin or Facebook? And, do you have lots and lots of friends or connections? Some of us may feel the pressure to be well-connected with volumes of people online. But, does the quantity of contacts really mean anything and what is the point? So, with our abundance of contacts, where has that taken us, anyway?
Long before the existence of Linkedin and Facebook , we maintained business card and Roladex files. To me, just going through the motion of collecting names, phone numbers, and business cards without putting much thought into it, didn’t work well back then and it really doesn’t work well even in today’s online world. My simple brain told me years ago that someone had to have a compelling reason to do you a favor as in returning a favor or expecting something of value in the future.
Gordon Curtis in his book, Well Connected sums it up more eloquently than I have. Here’s the essence of it.
Curtis says, you have to target the right person and apply the right approach, . Both parties need to reach an outcome that is beneficial to both of them. A-ha. So, I wasn’t too far off. He states several criteria necessary in order for networking between two parties to work. The keywords he uses are ” like-minded”, “obligated”, “motivated” and “able”. Without those, it’s highly unlikely someone will do anyone else a favor or enter into a deal.
Networking to achieve results requires a well-planned strategy. So, develop your objectives and desired outcomes. When you identify potential networking candidates, learn something about them, figure out how you are going to reach them (necessary introductions) and what you are going to say. Down the road, even look for ways you might reciprocate in advance.
For a more detailed explanation about how to network more effectively, I highly recommend the book, “Well-Connected.”
I came upon an article today on the website, .Inc that resonated with me. The article was 10 Great Habits of Charismatic People by Jeff Haden. Have you ever stopped to think about what it is about charismatic individuals that make them charismatic? Hmmm. Rather surprisingly, it’s not all about having good looks although being physically attractive certainly doesn’t hurt. In fact, you may find that good looking folks are not necessarily charismatic.
According to the referenced article, personality probably trumps good looks in the charisma department. Rather, charisma is about taking a keen interest in others. They are good listeners. They are not solely focused on themselves and tend to be humble. Above all, they like to make others feel good about themselves. In my opinion, the last bit is paramount.
How is this relevant to being a small business owner or someone pursuing a career? We all need to establish and build relationships to be successful. In business, it’s about focusing on the customer and being interested in his or her needs.
Similarly, whether you are looking for a job or you wish to be successful on a job, one needs to focus on building relationships. In the book, “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You”, the author, Peter Leibman says, “Stop Looking for Jobs and Focus on People”. This simple statement really clicked with me. I have long believed, in order to be successful on the job, the most important element is getting along with people (although you also have to know your stuff).
So, focus less on yourself and develop a greater interest in others!
Before PC’s became readily accessible, job seekers would have resumes printed by professional print shops on pricey stationery. Given the expense, that document would be sent out over and over again. It probably would be updated only when the copies on hand were exhausted or due to a material event.
Not anymore. In today’s electronic world, not only should a resume be current it should be tailored for the job position in consideration. Therefore, a resume should no longer be regarded as a static document. To me, it makes a lot of sense. Think of yourself as an HR manager having to review hundreds of job applications and resumes. Would you be inclined to analyze a host of generic resumes trying to figure out if it fits what you are looking for? Probably not. A ” one size fits all” also gives the impression that the job seeker is simply sending out resumes to everything in sight hoping that one of them might just ”stick on the wall” somewhere.
Although not everyone is apt to agree with me, I feel that an objective statement at the top indicating the type of position desired (such as a software engineer, teacher, or electrician, etc.) is a good thing. To me, it frames the resume and sets the stage for the sections of text that follow.
Of course, aim to mirror the keywords expressed in the job description or job posting. That’s a given. I would read through your existing resume focusing on which elements or points are still relevant. Where possible, I would address each accomplishment and/or skill to see if each one could be modified or augmented to fit, inserting keywords used in the industry. If you need help, public libraries offer a host of resume books that showcase resumes for different job positions, industries and varying levels of experience and situations. In addition, the web site, careeronestop, contains a database of occupations with descriptions of required skills, knowledge, education, likely tasks, activities. It’s a useful aid when preparing or updating a resume.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to try out different resumes. Whichever one gets the interview and the job will be the right one.