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Posts tagged ‘connecting’

The Professional Introduction – 7 Tips (to not be creepy)

Here’s the scene: you want to meet someone—a very important someone who can do important things for your career—but you’re not sure how to get to them… to meet them, to contact them… Then, you come across an individual who can help. She knows that someone, and she can introduce you to that someone, and she is willing to make the introduction for you. SWEET!spock

Let’s be clear, though, she is not recommending you—you both just met for goodness sake. She is not going to coach you, mentor you or be your best friend. She is merely offering to help you make the first contact with someone who can benefit you.

Okay, so she gives you this important someone’s contact information, and while doing so, she tells you a little bit about the important someone: why she is making the introduction, why that someone is as important as she seems, ways that you can benefit that someone and thereby develop a mutually beneficial relationship…

Here are some tips for YOU as you go about the professional introduction process:

  1. Pay attention to details: before you meet the important someone, pay attention to the details you are being offered about that person
    • How do they like to be contacted: phone, email, short get-to-the-point messages or long flowery flattering prose, etc.
    • Why is the person making the introduction bothering: why do they think the very important someone is so important (this is key to earn brownie points with both people—mention this specifically), how will the important someone possibly benefit from the introduction, what can YOU expect from the introduction, etc.
  2. Always have the end and the important someone’s best interests in mind. In other words, know what YOU want and anticipate the needs of the important someone, and when introducing yourself, mention how you intend to meet their needs and go for the ask—what you are offering to do and why (by the way—don’t bother mentioning much about what you need or why—frankly, no one cares much beyond mere curiosity)
  3. Highlight your skills and what specifically you are offering: if it’s obvious that you’re just in it for what you can gain, expect to receive a polite brush-off
  4. Do not expect the person who made the introduction to care one way or another if you got what you needed out of the introduction—they have two concerns: a) did they make a mistake in introducing you to this important someone and b) will any of their needs be met because they made the introduction. YOU don’t matter.
  5. If the introduction goes well, you contacted the important someone properly: you were polite, kept your message short and simple, highlighting the benefits of your offer along with why you are the right person to provide whatever it is… were specific in what you wanted and how this will benefit the important someone, GREAT WORK! Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, you were successful in your introduction, and the important someone will very likely remember that
  6. If you screw up the introduction: get verbose, overly familiar, lack clarity in what you want and how it will benefit the important someone, and at worse come across as insulting and uninformed about the important someone… I have some good news for you: you can only improve form here! It’s not likely you’ll do worse the next time.
  7. The worst kind of introduction is not bothering. Go ahead and make the mistakes if you must, and if things don’t seem to go your way, seek out advice. You may have blown your chances with both the very important someone and the person who bothered to introduce you, but that doesn’t mean you’ve blown your chances with the world. Professionals are very often willing to give advice, coach and mentor—you can even hire a professional coach to help you fine-tune your skills. It does matter.
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Best use of social media for business

A quick word on how to best use social media–folks, this is a powerful communication tool. It is NOT… I repeat… NOT a replacement for in-person relationships. Rather, social media is an enhancement to in-person relationships. It helps you stay in touch with people you’ve met in person or who have similar interests as you do. It helps you communicate with those individuals and the public at large (depending on your privacy settings) — to communicate who you are and what you are all about.

It helps you brand YOU, and you control the content. Let people know what matters to you, what you know, what your opinions are and even, if you want to share this — where you spend your time and show a bit of your sense of humor. It can, in some cases, lead to in-person introductions as well and real-time networking opportunities, events and causes. Too often I hear people that have a misconception that social media dehumanizes and disconnects real personal relationships. When used properly, I assure you, it can enhance relationships significantly–both personal and professional.

Networking

How to write an email (oh I know… you THINK you already know)

  1. Spend one sentence summarizing your point, your FIRST sentence. Why? Smart phones aren’t really all that smart. Worse, they tend to cause or enhance ADHD in their useres, showing a limited view of your text up front, and enticing users to bounce around on topics without reading the full email. Worse still, smart phones are EVERYWHERE! So, just assume your email recipient is using one when reading your email
  2. Email is NOT sooooo 20th Century. It’s still a critical communication medium. Don’t assume everyone is reading their Facebook updates all the time. Take a second to send an email. It’s bad enought that hand-written letters are archaic. eMail is not. Use it.
  3. Email, at best, is interactive. Hyperlinks are fantastic ways to keep messages short while providing additional information. Eg, when inviting someone to a new restaurant, email them a link to the place where they can get directions, look at a menu, the decor, etc.
  4. When in doubt, don’t send it. If you’ve written something, particualrly a negative something, and you’re hesitating sending it, hesitate forever, and delete it. Don’t send. At least, save it as a draft and wait a day or two. If at that point you no longer doubt wheather you should send–you feel strongly that you should send–okay, click send. But, don;t say I didn’t warn you.
  5. Keep in touch via email. Facebook and other social networking sites are a good way to reach multiple “friends” at once and keep them up-to-date on you, it’s quite passive and impersonal. While I still recommend a hand-written letter or at least a card now and then, at least send an email. Make it personal, one-on-one. Let people know you’re meaning to speak specifically to them. Connect.

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