Just before the end of last year I mentioned that I was about to celebrate 10 years of running my own business in January 2014 and asked for suggestions of how I should celebrate. Not surprisingly there were numerous ideas for parties. I should have made my request clearer! Amongst others was a suggestion of having a theme for the the year. I liked that and after giving it some thought I went for something dear to my heart – and my business – and that is getting people to speak up so that we can hear what they have to say. Using the hashtag #starttalking14 I will revisit how it is going from time to time. Basically my aim is to help people find their voice and – crucially – choose to have it heard. Here are some of the ways I work with clients
- in coaching sessions – particularly during career transition – to understand their skills, talents, experience and interests.
- using social media – especially LinkedIn – to help them to build a community of connections
- in speaking skills training and 1:1 sessions to prepare and practice speaking out loud at meetings, in class, in front of an audience, during an interview
and here are some #starttalking14 stories to illustrate
It’s never too soon to have a good LinkedIn profile
I was invited to run a workshop for a group of young people who have been volunteering with Project Scotland as they look for a job. My starting point in sessions like this is always to understand what participants want to learn and how they feel about their current online profile . Over the past 4 years or so I have worked with a large number of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and at different stages in their careers and there is very little difference in what people want to understand. Basically they want to know
- how much time they should spend
- what to do about invitations – sent and received
- what to put in their profile
- and most commonly – what’s the point?! Which you need to understand in engaging with any online network. Actually any network.
In this case the participants are all looking for a job so – in the time we had together -my focus was on how to ensure that if an employer with a vacancy did a search on LinkedIn for someone like them that they could be found. Being invisible is a choice of course . Some people make that choice consciously but others by omission – and that’s a pity.
To help show what might be possible I need to get some information about the people in the room. This means that they need to tell me what they are good at in front of other people. I don’t hoodwink people- I explain that getting people to talk about themselves is what I do – and they will be able to see what I have done. But oh so often that either inspires others to talk about themselves or make suggestions to the brave person who spoke up first. Both are hugely valuable.
I offer anyone who has heard me speak about social media or been at one of my workshops to connect with me. Then afterwards they can ask questions as and when they need to. I also mention that as a connection I might notice any changes they make in my update stream – and comment. And I will get to know them better. And I might be able to see an opportunity. Multiply that by their other connections who can do that just like me and a whole new world opens up.
I am watching with interest. Take a look at what the great folk at Project Scotland are doing here
So you can tell me what you are not good at but not your strengths?
This might be a cultural thing. I have always lived in Scotland and I know all about “getting too big for your boots” and “who does she think she is” type comments. However if you are going for promotion or a new job then there is only one person who will be asked to speak up about this – and it’s you! I have been working with clients who – even if they do know their strengths – either don’t value them or won’t ( have chosen not to ) speak about them. It is challenging for some people to articulate this with confidence but it is worth the effort. We practice in a safe environment – ie I am the only person who is hearing. It is not safe as in cosy though…it is hard work. But oh so worth it. A recent client said it was” like trying to lever up a stone and feeling it shift for the first time “. I like that.
The way to your next job might be through your network – so how’s it looking?
Firstly let me say that in my opinion the word “network” gets in the way. The default position for most folk is to think about standing in a room with a canape and glass of something in each hand pretending to be interested in the person in front of them. But simply put – it just means getting to know other people. It might be the chat with the guy fixing your roof who has a friend who needs some accounting help. Or the lady at the bus stop who has just been on the cruise you were considering. It could be a colleague at work from a different department who mentions an idea they have that would benefit you both when you were at the coffee machine. It might be a relative – or a friend of that relative. I have been helping clients think about how to map those connections to see who is in there. The next thing – just as it was for the young people in the first example – is to work out how they could help. A word of advice – asking for a job is pretty direct but as a very well connected good buddy and former colleague said last week ” people like to be asked for advice”. And we do – it makes us feel useful.
So there you go.
If anything that I have mentioned has struck a chord with you why not drop me a note firstname.lastname@example.org . Ask away. If I can help I will. No obligation !