The hardest habit to break to stop having awkward conversations and really connect with people

There is one subconscious habit that wreaks havoc on all communication and connection. It is a double edge sword that we say to friends, colleagues, and even strangers. On one side it gives the receiver a level of uncomfortableness or regret. On the other we completely diminish ourselves or our value.

It was the hardest thing I had to learn to stop doing – and I still struggle with it today.

The way to stop doing this is simple, but not easy. It is something that you have to make a conscious decision every single time to do.

 

THE TASK: learning how to take a compliment.

THE PROBLEM: contradicting the compliment you were given. 

THE SOLUTION: learning to say “Thank you” without a trailer.

 

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

For me, it started innocently enough. Someone would compliment my shoes (I have a things for shoes).

Instead of saying thank you, I would say something like, “Oh thanks, I’ve had these for years” or “Oh thank you, I got them on sale…”

Ugh. Nothing like basically saying, “Hey, thanks for the compliment, but these (and by extension me) aren’t worth it.”

Here’s another example. Say I worked really hard on a project and my boss told me I did a great job.

My old natural reaction would be something like, “Thanks, it was nothing” Well, that’s a lie, I put a lot of work into that.

Or maybe I would say, “Thanks, hopefully it will make a difference.” Awesome, how about I completely undermine the effort and belief I have in my work and its impact?

My best friend and I made a pact to help each other stop this terrible, self-depreciating habit. Every day we would remind each other, “Just say thank you and shut up”.

Now that sounds a bit bold to be telling each other to shut up, but we were serious about it. Why? Because that little “innocent” habit shifts perception. How you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.

When you kill a compliment, you are telling the other person

  •  You don’t value yourself or your work
  •  You don’t feel you are worth recognizing
  •  You do subpar work
  •  You have low self-esteem and even less confidence

Do you know who else you are telling these things to? You. That’s right. You are telling yourself that you are not worth a compliment.

“Hey subconscious, please don’t let someone recognize me for something positive. I’m not worthy. I just want to melt into the corner.” No.

No. No. No.

It also makes people uncomfortable. When I give a compliment and the other person goes out of their way to counter it, it’s painful to hear. I want to hug them because it makes me think they have such low self-esteem that they need a hug.

But I can’t hug you through this article. So instead, I’m going to give you the advice my best friend gave me: Say thank you then shut up.

If it is too hard to not say anything after the thank you, try turning it back on them.

“Great shoes”

“Thank you. I love your jacket.”

“Great job on the project”

“Thank you, I appreciate you noticing.”

See how easy that is? One caveat – if you return with a compliment, be sincere. If you can’t find anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I know this is hard, it took me decades to recognize then break it. I think I may start a support group, it’s that detrimental to you and that hard to break. But in the meantime, practice with your family and friends. Let them know you are working on this and ask them to help you.

You can do this.

Once you master it, you can help other people learn to do this.

Then there will be a wonderful collection of people around you who stop devaluing themselves and compliment each other.

Just imagine, people saying nice things, other people accepting it and returning the sentiment, and everyone feels good.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…..

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

LinkedIn – Taking a Connection to a Relationship

business high fiveLast week I had the absolute pleasure to speak to the Indianapolis chapter of Human Resource Professional Development Association about LinkedIn and utilizing it to build a personal brand internally and externally. There was one question that I think can be asked in many different ways but boils down to four words:

How do I connect?

Not in a sense of click on the connect button or accept, but how do I really connect with someone after we become connections.

I think one challenge or misconception about LinkedIn is that there is no true communication or connection. It is simple to click a button, request or accept a connection; however it leaves us feeling flat. A simple button does not open the door to communication.

The problem is not with LinkedIn – it is with the user.

The tool is only as good as the way in which you use it.

I have a small tiller. It sat in my garage for a few years all bright and shiny but useless. I also had an area in my back and side yard that was perfect for a garden. I used to be frustrated that I didn’t have a garden and how much work it would be to create that space.

Last spring I used the bright shiny tiller and created my garden. It made quick work of it and by the summer I had a wonderful garden full of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers, herbs, cantaloupe, watermelon and asparagus.

I could complain about not having a garden or I could use the tools I had to create what I wanted.

It is the same concept with LinkedIn.

Requesting or accepting is step one, but there is more to be done to start conversations and build relationships. It begins with a few simple steps:

Say Thank You
When someone accepts or sends you a request, thank them for the connection. It is a simple thing to do and opens the door for the other person to respond.

Be Selective if You Choose
Although some users will not allow you to send them an invitation unless you actually know them, some do not accept connections unless they see a business reason to do so.

Key word there: business reason.

You can address this either in the invitation or in the follow up. In either one, instead of using the template that LinkedIn provides for a connection request, simply put a statement such as, “I noticed that you are connected to Bob Inbox, who I worked with at DCB company…”

Follow Up Without Demanding
You have sent/accepted a connection and sent a thank you, now is time for a conversation, not a request for a coffee meeting.

Send them an inbox message and begin with – again – a business conversation or topic. It could be something about their company or position or that you appreciated a comment that they left on an article. From there you can let them know that you would like to know more about what they do, about their company or their insight on a certain matter.

Do not assume that just because someone connected with you on a business social platform that they are willing to take a couple hours out of their day to meet with you in person. Everyone’s time is valuable.

If someone immediately suggests a coffee time I ask for what purpose. I am trying to eliminate time wasting activities in order to devote my time to my clients. The hairs on the back of my neck immediately go up when I get an instant coffee message. I don’t know you, I don’t know what you want, you want me to give you at least two hours of my time and more than likely you are going to try to sell me on something.

Instant coffee meetings do not equal instant business relationships.

With a few extra minutes, consideration and thought you can start conversations that build relationships. LinkedIn provides a platform, you have to provide the effort. As LinkedIn says: “A healthy professional life starts with healthy relationships.”

13 Ways to Launch Your Visibility on LinkedIn and Significantly Increase Your Connections

linkedinIf you want to increase your professional visibility to grow your business, your book of business or find the opportunity to take the next step in your career do not get on LinkedIn.

That is right – do not get on LinkedIn.

In order to accomplish the goals listed above you must participate on LinkedIn.

There is a difference.

Side note: I am nitpicking on a word; however, one word can make a huge impact in your communications in networking and on your resume – just a little gentle reminder.

LinkedIn is an amazing, effective and powerful tool for your business and career – if it is used properly.  As with any tool, if it is not utilized it does you no good.

Having an incomplete profile, double digit connections, lack of information or incorrect information will send the message to the LinkedIn community that you simply got on LinkedIn but show no interest in being a part of LinkedIn.

Here are 13 tips to elevate your profile to let it work for you through content and engagement

Content

1.     Profile picture

Get one and post it.  This picture should be a nice head and shoulder shot with the dress in the theme of business casual.  Smile.  Please no bathroom selfies, family shots or pets.  My dogs are adorable and photogenic but they do not belong in my profile picture.

2.     Professional Headline

Personally, I hate titles.  They are meaningless.  I recently wrote a post about networking and introducing yourself by anything but your title, aptly named For Crying Out Loud Don’t Tell Me You are in Sales.

The same principle applies to your LinkedIn title.  Yes, you can list your title; however, you have a 120 character space limit for this section – utilize it.

Instead of “Sales Professional” try something like Award Winning Health Care Sales Representative with a career of exceeding sales & revenue targets for growth & expansion.

If you are employed and looking for another job, I would not recommend advertising this fact for two reasons:

  1. It is disrespectful to your current company
  2. No one wants to hire the unhappy person, if you are not happy there what makes you think you will be happy at the new place – and would you do the same thing to them?

In this instance, utilize your current title with the value that you add in support of the current organization.  For example something along the lines of “Systems Sales Representative bringing solutions to our clients for all their CRM needs now and as their companies grow.”

3.     Summary

If you get someone to your page, you need to give them something to read.  Too often profiles are missing the summary section.  This is your introduction to prospective clients, employers and contacts.  Utilize this space – up to 2,000 characters – to give them a glimpse of the value that is you.

This is not a place for you to post your resume.  There is a distinct difference in voice between your resume, business biography and LinkedIn.  I discuss the difference of this voice in more depth in the post LinkedIn Versus a Resume or Business Bio – The Difference is Voice.

To boil it down: in a resume or bio you are portraying a professional sales presentation of yourself not knowing who will be reading it, it is an arm’s length conversation.  On LinkedIn you are having a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile.  Direct the conversation to this target audience.

It is not enough to tell the reader what you do, you must give them a sense of your value in describing things such as who you work with, how you work with them, what you do, how you do it and the value others receive in you doing what you do.

4.     Position Description

This is where I see a lot of copy and pasting from resumes or job descriptions.  LinkedIn is that additional layer; people who have viewed your bio or resume are looking to LinkedIn to find out more about you.  If the bio/resume and position descriptions (or summary) are the exact same you look like a one trick pony.

This section should be similar to your resume or bio; however, since it is a one-on-one conversation you should use the “I”s and “me”s that you do not in the resume.  You have a minimum and maximum character limit here of 200 and 2000; choose the biggest highlights to emphasize here while giving a brief description of your role and value.

5.     Stay Current

It takes time to craft a complete LinkedIn profile; however, do not fall into the trap that in completing it you are done.  About once a month on an off day, read and review your profile.  Is everything still relevant and current?  Are there any additional skills, projects or accomplishments that you can include?  Could that one sentence be tweaked so it is a little more compelling?

LinkedIn has made a change in that you can update your profile without notifying your connections about every single thing one.  For directions on how to accomplish this refer to How Not to Broadcast Your Updates on LinkedIn.  The article describes when you might want your connections to see updates and the updates you have no control over if they are seen or not.

Engagement

6.     Post and Share

Interact on LinkedIn every day.

Post and share relevant content for your connections.  This can range from inspiring quotes, Slideshare presentations or relevant industry articles.  Scroll through you home screen and read what your connections have posted; like or share the ones that you truly like or may be of value to your connections.

7.     Participate

Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your business, expertise, goals and interests.  Take it one step further and participate in these groups; ask and answer questions within discussions.  You can begin a discussion by posting a question within the group.

One word of caution, make it manageable.  Staying active and engaged in 20 groups is quite the task, start with a few and go from there.

Follow influencers that resonate with you, your industry or specialty.  Like, make a comment, ask a question  or share their posts.

8.     Connect

LinkedIn does a wonderful job in providing you with suggestions of people with whom you can connect or may know, even providing a little connect link right there!  Try to send at least one invitation daily, but do not be lazy.  Although LinkedIn provides a pre-written script, personalizing your message gives you a better chance of making that connection.

Do not stress yourself out over creating a personal message.  Make it as simple as “I would like to add you to my professional network as I see we have some common connections including Joe Johns and Mary Mary.”

Another option could be, “I have gained a lot of insight and information from your articles and would like to connect with you directly.”

9.     Appreciate

Provide endorsements to your contacts via a personal endorsement or for one of their skills listed in their profile.  Do this as a one way action without expectation for them to do the same for you.  Business is all about the giving.

10.   Allow Them to Contact You

Make sure that your contact information is displayed and easily found in your profile.  If you are going to gain their interest you want them to follow up, right?  Make it easy for them to do so!

11.   Link for You Elsewhere

Create a link to your profile on your email signature allowing people to easily find you – and connect with you.  If you are a business owner, display this link on your blog, website and any other places prospective clients and connections can click.

12.   Combine to Build

Spread the love to other social media platforms.  Tweet your LinkedIn updates to Twitter, LinkedIn gives you this option within the status update box.  Include your blog and website into your profile for your connections to see your entire brand across various platforms.

13.   Stay Consistent

This tips are solid and will work – if you work them consistently.  Making a big surge for two weeks then slacking off for two months will take you right back to square one in having to build trust, confidence and value with your network.  It takes less than 15 minutes a day to implement the connection tips.  One quarter of an hour is certainly a valuable investment in your career, one that can provide considerable results.

The Benefit of Befriending Strangers Near and Far

it's a small small worldDuring the end of last week, I was traveling in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  At one point, I met a gentleman whose brief remark sparked a short conversation about Indiana. 

He was originally from Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Greenwood, Indiana at a different job for two years.  I grew up just north of Greenwood, Indiana.   

I am always amazed when proven time and time again that old saying, “It’s a small world”.  I apologize now for any reading this that now have the Disney song stuck in their head. That song that also brings images of small marionette children dancing in their head.  I am so sorry.

I love traveling and meeting people and discovering the one connection that bridges the miles, ages, differences and life experiences between us.  It fascinates me.  I also like to hear stories of similar experiences from friends.

Isn’t it odd that we can find or recall a situation where we connect with someone we meet miles and miles away from our home base and it amazes us with the reminder of a small world; however, we fail to realize this same concept or impact when building our business or searching for a job.

Every interaction you have can be a positive or negative, it is your choice.  I will grant you, some make it more difficult to choose positive based on their actions.  However, this is when the choice is in your reaction.  But that is a different blog.

Every interaction allows you to make a connection with someone on some level.  You do not need to travel thousands of miles from your home base, look right next to you.  Look around you in the grocery store, at the baseball game, the walking trail or in line to grab a cup of coffee.  Those connection opportunities are all around you.

One of my favorite things to do is to share stories with my best friend from a day of meeting someone and making that connection.  We have met some very interesting people; some have turned out to be clients, others have referred me business and still others turn out to be just very interesting and great people.

Someone asked me recently how I turn a casual conversation into a connection, into a business relationship.    I told them that it happens because I do not approach it from a business perspective.  I do not look at strangers and think, “I wonder how I can get them to hire me.” 

I look at strangers and say hi.  I make small talk.  I ask them about them or give them a genuine compliment.  I treat them with respect and kindness.  This then turns into a conversation and it goes from there. 

You never know who you are going to meet, how you might be able to bring value to them or them to you.  If you treat everyone new you meet as a prospective job lead source, you will find yourself without any leads.  If you treat everyone new you meet as a potential customer, you will find yourself with a dried up pipeline.

However, if you treat everyone new you meet as an individual, just like you enjoying the beautiful weather, waiting for their coffee or enjoying the game – just like you, just like you would like to be treated; well then you will find yourself with an amazing network of great people who will gladly give you business, leads and even better yet – friendship.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

7 Tips to Personalizing Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedin I see a lot of, well, let’s just say, not so great LinkedIn profiles.  I have come to realize that most people do not dread writing their LinkedIn profile, they are afraid of it.

 

The reason for the fear is the quality that LinkedIn offers: the ability to bring your personality to your profession.

 

Most people hate writing about themselves, it is uncomfortable.  This fact alone has me on the phone talking to people every day.  Add to that the fear of sounding pompous, ridiculous or unknowledgeable takes that uncomfortableness to a whole new level; to fear.

 

I like to say that LinkedIn is the business Facebook to try to plant the seed of the personal touch.  This does not mean anyone wants to get updates on what you had for every meal of the day or pictures of the kiddos eating asparagus for the first time.  Remember – it is about business.

 

When you are writing your LinkedIn profile you are in essence having a conversation with the one person reading your profile.  This is how it differs from a resume or business biography.  Those two things are written with a general audience in mind, but with the reality that you never really know who is going to read it.

 

Your LinkedIn profile should be more strategic.  You want to target your audience so they can find you and then speak to them so you can engage them.

 

Here are a few tips to help write your profile:

 

  1. Figure out your audience.  How can you speak to someone if you have not identified who it is you want to talk to?  What is important to them, what are key words or phrases they will resonate with or searching for, what are their needs and how do you provide the solutions?

 

  1. Speak in the first person.  When you write in the third person you run the risk of sounding aloof, disconnected or pompous.  I dated a guy once that would speak about himself in third person whenever we had a disagreement, saying things like: “Thor is not happy.”   To which I would reply, “I don’t know who Thor is or why he is unhappy, but I’m talking to you.”  He sounded ridiculous, don’t be a Thor. And no, I never dated anyone named Thor, I changed his name – you get the point.

 

  1. Communicate your value.  What is it you want people to know about you?  It is your job to tell them.  You only have 2,000 characters to paint that picture – use it wisely.  This is your story; you can tell it any way that you want.  You are not required to give the mundane details.

 

  1. Be creative but easy on the cute.  This is your opportunity to let your personality shine through; let it – to a degree.  Keep it within the professional level.  Being too cutesy puts you back into Facebook range.  This also applies to your profile picture.  Business casual, not Facebook spectacular.

 

  1. Keep it positive.  I mentioned above that you do not need to give the mundane details; I am going to take a step further and let you know that it is bad form to air the negative details as well.  No airing of dirty laundry.  Not even an implication.  If you were unjustly released from your last position keep it to yourself.  This is not the time or place to go into that.

 

  1. Not necessarily a call to action. I have written LinkedIn profiles for leadership of organizations that were used to highlight the company and themselves as a leader for recruiting purposes.  I have also written them for high level producers setting the bar for their organization.  In either of these instances we did not use a call to action at the end, i.e., “connect with me today, email or call me at…”  By being engaging and well thought in your message it will be implied that you are open to communication.  I have read articles where it has been suggested that you must put a call to action at the end of your profile.  I disagree.  If it is not comfortable with your message, then do not do it.  It is your profile, break the rules.

 

  1. Break the rules.  I had to add this because I liked it in the last point.  You have 2,000 characters for your profile, but guess what – you do not have to use all of them.  You have a designated area for a title, but guess what; you do not have to put only your title.  You can be creative.  For one client, who is the head of all the marketing for her organization we also added “Social Media Geek” at the end of hers.  She is fun; she allowed fun in her title and profile.  Break the rules, live a little.

 

Using these seven suggestions will help put you on the right path to create the right message: one that is about you, your value and speaking to the audience you want to engage.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Coach & Brand Strategist

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Want to Move on to the Next Level? Then Stop Portraying Yourself as a Victim

tantrum“If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts –oh what a wonderful Christmas we would all have!”

 

Ever heard that phrase?  I heard it growing up any time one of us kids pouted, “yeah, but….” My mother would repeat this phrase in a little sing-song voice and then smile leaving us completely bewildered while defusing our pre-adolescent argument.

 

Pouting and foot stomping didn’t work in my house.  Ever.  Not that I didn’t try, but it was a short-lived attempt.

 

While my mom used cute little sing-song phrases to quell our victim-hood my dad was much more straight forward.

 

“This bad thing happened” Child

“And?” Dad

“It was really bad” Child

“And?” Dad

“It shouldn’t have happened” Child

“Ok” Dad

“It was unfair” Child

“Are you alive? Dad

“What?? Yes” Child

“Then it didn’t kill you, you are fine” Dad

“But it was wrong!” Child

“Get over it and go do something else now” Dad

 

At which point we were dismissed.  End of story.  It didn’t matter how bad it was, how unfair or unjust it was it just did not matter.  In my father’s eyes the event was over, can’t change it now so move on.  Period.

 

Victim-hood did not work on my father.  If my brother or sister got something and I didn’t it did me no good to whine that I wanted it too.  Just because was not a reason.  I had to earn it or demonstrate that I deserved it.  Presenting an argument of I was being treated unfairly went over like a lead balloon with my dad.

 

Thank goodness.

 

In job searching I understand bad things happen.  Sometimes they are not your fault, more of circumstances out of your control.  More often than not we contribute somewhere along the way to our decline.  If the company downsizes, or you are forced to take early retirement there is not much you can do about that.  It is business, not personal.

 

But if you messed up, guess what, you contributed to the process.  Acknowledge it, own up to it and used it as a tool, not an excuse.

 

When you make a mistake people will remember how you acted after the mistake much more than during.  Once I made a huge mistake for a client of the managing director.  Huge, monumental, enormous.  Thought my career was over.  As soon as it was realized I immediately went to others to ask their guidance on how to correct it.  I was on the phone, running through the office looking like a mad woman getting all the pieces put back together.

 

When the managing director came back into the office I marched straight into his office and owned up.  I told him I made a mistake, here is what it was but here is what I was doing to correct it; here is what had been done so far, what was in process and when it was expected to be completed.

 

He just looked at me and said, “Okay.”  End of story.  No ranting, raving or firing.  Just “okay”.

 

During the interview process it is important to see the value that you learned in the experience.  If you approach it as you were a victim that is going to set off an immediate red flag for the prospective employer.  If things don’t go your way are you going to immediately turn into victim mode or step up and be a part of the solution?

 

But there is another piece to this puzzle – networking.

 

I will hear people say how they “spin” it during the interview, but when they network they fall right back into that victim mode.  They bad mouth or imply certain negative qualities about their former employer, manager or coworkers.

 

It is great that you can present a positive image and get it right for an hour during an interview, but that isn’t enough.  You have to let it go!  Continuing the victim or negativity outside of that interview completely undermines what you accomplished with the positive “spin”.

 

We are a connected world.  You never know who knows whom, who is related to whom and what will be taken out of context.  Let’s say you nailed the interview and said it in just the right way.  Yay you!

 

That night you go out with your friends to celebrate and have a couple drinks.  At the establishment you boast about how you “spun” it but then go into the negativity and “real story”.

 

It just so happens that the waitress or bartender is married to the receptionist of that company.

 

Guess what their pillow talk is going to be about that night?  And then guess what that receptionist is going to let the interviewer know the next day?  Probably that you are a bitter, bitter person pulling the wool over their eyes.

 

Now you may not get a call back, or if you do, you may get tougher questions about the events that lead to the departure.  Thought you nailed it, huh?  Think again.

 

Bad things happen, I know this, I have lived through some bad stuff myself.  The easiest thing for someone to say is to “get over it”.  While I was in my victim mode I certainly didn’t want to hear it.  I wanted sympathy, I wanted someone to tell me it was ok and it wasn’t my fault and yes, it was completely unfair – those bastards!

 

But even if I got that, it didn’t change events or make it better.  It just helped fester my victim-hood.

 

Sometimes it is hard to let things go, if that is the case keep the negativity private.   It will soon dawn on you that it is only hurting you.  It keeps you stuck in the past, glued to a negative event instead of being thankful to be out of such an environment that was damaging to you.

 

If it was a matter of strictly business and downsizing then try looking at it as an opportunity to try something new.  A new company, a new widget, a new industry a whole new career for goodness sakes!

 

Victim creating event or opportunity – it really is all up to you.  How you perceive it and live with it is how others will react to it and determine your value and character.  Allow them choose correctly.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

LinkedIn – Are Your Invitations Being Ignored?

linkedinI saw a friend this weekend who was in town to visit his daughter and best friend.  As we were talking about work he asked, “What is it with this LinkedIn thing?”

He has a very prominent position with a respected firm in Texas.  He is on LinkedIn because “everyone told him he should be” but pretty much hates it.

Why?

Mainly because he gets connection invitations from people that he perceives as only wanting to connect with him to get a job.

So what does he do – he ignores or deletes them.

Are you one of those people?  Are you sending out invitations to high ranking individuals hoping to buddy up so you can get a job?  Are you just sending out the standard, “Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.” message?

Are you being ignored?

Most likely.

Why?

Because you are not offering any insight as to why they should connect with you nor are you offering any value.

People in those positions don’t have the time to scan through and connect the dots.  If you do not give them a reason they have no reason to connect with you.  Not all connections need this type of reason – often the standard connection message will suffice.  But due to the position, responsibility and limited resource of time most individuals in executive leadership positions within an organization normally do need a reason.

If you have a mutual connection that suggested you connect – tell them.

If you have something of value to offer them – tell them.

I work in the world of communication – I’m all about branding yourself to get noticed and get hired.

The worst thing you can do is leave room for assumption for the other party.  Assumption leads to speculation and speculation is normally approached from a negative standpoint.

Why do they want to connect – they want something from me.

First, think about why it is you want to connect with them.  Being their buddy on LinkedIn is no guarantee for a job.  By the way, just because you connected does not mean you are automatically buddies.

Next, craft the invite that delivers this message.

If they do connect with you do not try to suck up using the recommendations.  Pointing and clicking that you recommend them for a trait that you honestly have no idea of their ability does not add to the buddy factor.  Also, do not overwhelm them with requests and time wasters.  Respect their time and position and make sure your communication is value-added and professional.

The first step is communicating why you want to connect; the second is proving you are a valuable business connection.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

Please do not get me wrong, this is not in any way, shape or form a subtle hint from those that send me invitations to explain yourself.  I love connecting with everyone that send me an invitation.  Many I have worked with in the past, met in networking or have attended seminars/workshops.  Others may want a resource for job searching or business building and still others may be looking to hire a professional coach.  My hope is to add value to anyone who connects with me either through the positive quotes I post, blog articles or personal assistance so I am appreciative of your connection.

Fine Line Between Nice Guy And That Guy – Which Networking Guy Are You?

I’m just going to preface this blog with the warning that I will be repeating some of my tried and true general observations and opinions about networking, job searching and career advancement.  I like to keep everyone up to speed and since there is not the option to actually call me and ask, “What the heck were you talking about?” I’ll just repeat myself.

 

Now it is pretty much a given that in job searching and networking follow up is key and lack of follow up is killer.  But what about the conditional follow up?  Ah, that is the determining factor between the nice guy and that guy – don’t be that guy.  I am using guy in a general sense, not being sexist.

 

Let me explain what I mean by conditional follow up.  This can happen in dating, networking/job searching and once you have the job.  Same approach just different environments; and since job searching and networking is like dating all appropriate.  And once you read these I bet dollars to donuts you will be saying, “Ah” with some bright, shimmering light emitting from above your head.

 

Dating

 

Think about someone that came on hot and heavy, really laying it on, sweeping you off your feet until they get what they want; whether that be an invitation to a certain event, a romp in the hay, a referral to a business associate, a ring – whatever the case may be….  The point is they did all the right follow up until they got what they wanted then they turned into the invisible person.

 

Oh, we have all known them and fallen victim.  There is a subset of that guy in that he will continue to do a very distant sporadic follow up after winning his prize – which is a worse case of that guy-ism.  Maybe a text once a week or so just to show that he is a “nice” guy and make sure you don’t get mad; but in reality, he is just that guy.

 

Networking/Job Searching

 

You meet someone at a networking event or through a contact and it is somehow unearthed that you could be a very good connection for them.  Maybe you can help them directly or you are the key to meeting a specific someone that can.  No matter, it still plays the same.  You are pursued doggedly, coffee meetings or lunches to hear more about your business, flattery, continual emails – you’ve just made a new bff.  Once you make that other connection or perform the task that they need – poof – you new bff suddenly drops off.

 

On the Job

 

How about that co-worker that all of a sudden wants to do lunch, stops by to ask about your family, compliments you on your shoes – all of this happens seemingly out of nowhere.  Seemingly because there is a big project coming up or the potential opening that your co-worker really wants and you seem to hold the key.  Now that you two have become such good work buddies of course you would recommend them to be on the team or for that open position.  Once the team is assembled or they fill the position all of a sudden you find them too busy for lunch and with amnesia of you and your family – and worse yet blindness to your new fabulous shoes!

 

 

There is really no way to predict if that new networking friend, potential beau or colleague is a nice guy or that guy, only time will tell because the true indicator is what happens after they get what they want.  However, their behavior prior to this achievement might give you a clue.

 

In defense of truly nice guys, I will say that on rare occasions I have met a nice guy that acted like that guy unknowingly.  This was the case in a job situation; once the team was assembled they fell off.  I was actually shocked and so I did the uncommon and unthinkable thing and brought it to their attention.

 

How you handle this is up to you.  If I recall correctly I think I took them aside one day and just asked, “What the hell?”  Again, use your own communication style.  They immediately apologized for their behavior stating a sudden slamming of work with the new team assignments.  But it was not their words that convinced me that they were a nice guy rather than that guy; it was their behavior after our conversation.  Lunch plans were made and kept and shoes were noticed.

 

Yes, when you are networking you are trying to make connections to help each other out.  However, be keenly aware that once someone has taken that step to help you that you continue your follow up and communication.  Think about it, do you really want to be known as that guy?

 

Oh, and let’s not forget karma – it will come back to bite you.  It may be the next connection that they could introduce you to that holds the key to your success or you may miss out on a pretty special person.

 

So take a moment and reflect.  If you find that you have been that guy take some time today and reach out and reconnect.  That is, unless you really are that guy.  In that case – you are a butt.  Hey, someone had to say it!

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com