Get the double win of hirable and human!
I'm seeing a trend – a lot of technical experts hesitate to connect personally.
You know, thinking we can only talk about technical topics.
But connecting on personal things is extremely important.
I recently talked to a good friend, a CMO/CBDO of a major global law firm, one of those "you just love being around him" people.
I got to swing by his home while doing some meaningful work for another client in his city. So fun!
We met at his home and were walking his dogs after I landed, having a wonderful conversation about this topic when he said this...
Being human amplifies your technical ability.
That really struck me.
Everyone talks about being hirable.
Technical skills. Accolades. Case studies. Client names. Stories. You know the drill. You can probably even visualize your PowerPoint version of the conversation.
It's usually all about winning at work.
But not everyone talks about being human.
Personal goals. Headwinds. Dreams. Setbacks. Incremental progress.
These conversations are deeper.
Winning at life.
I like my friend's word about adding the human side.
If you only talk about the hirable stuff, you're just like everyone else.
Let's put ourselves in the decision-maker's shoes.
They would have difficulty differentiating between a relatively large technical ability difference between two people.
Everyone sounds the same.
In two 30-minute meetings with two competing experts, a potential client can tell the difference between 10th and 90th percentile experts, but probably notthe difference between 40th and 60th.
Still a big difference, but indistinguishable. Mushy.
To them, it all sounds the same.
(And you know the math of Normal Curves. Many people are in that mushy middle!)
Here's the good news.
If you can bond on human things, commonalities, the deep stuff, people feel the difference.
And they feel it right away.
So, if you're looking to differentiate, sure, tidy up those accolades and awards.
But sometimes, a faster way to differentiate yourself is to be human.
Here's a simple way to do it.
Start with them, and show you care.
You do that in meetings through questions. And importantly, follow up questions when it's clear the topic is important to them.
Some good openers:
What are you excited about? What's in your way? What's next?
How can I be helpful?
What kind of people would you like to meet?
What kinds of things can I follow up on in the coming year?
What goals do you have this year?
What makes a great partner for you?
There are a million questions you can ask. You wouldn't use all of these. Just a few will do.
Let's go deeper with some Pro Tips.
Pro Tip 1:
In the beginning, I like qustions that don't steer towards professional orpersonal, hirable or human.
Notice most of those questions above can go either way.
Let them decide.
This is a powerful way to let your new friend wade into the human side at their own speed.
Pro Tip 2.
More meeting attendees from your side are generally best for technical meetings. Showcase the team!
Fewer people are generally better for bonding meetings. Deeper conversations are much better than 1:1.
(Depending on the people involved, even adding a second person from your team can inhibit someone from opening up fully.)
Keep this in mind when you choose attendees: intentionality on a meeting's purpose will unlock the advances you want.
Pro Tip 3:
Winging your follow up won't work. It's the most important piece.
You need a system!
Using your system, follow up over time with helpfulness, focused on their priorities.
Let's pop up a level and close things out.
Most experts are smart. They are great at their craft.
They meet someone new, see if they can be hired, and go away if they can't.
(A little part of me died just writing that!)
As sad as it is, I guarantee your new potential clients expect this. They've seen it 100s of times.
Use this to your advantage.
Sure, be hirable. Be the BEST.
But also be human. Don't just be the best at technical advice. Be the best at being human and helpful.
If you want more on how to follow up in both human and hirable ways, see THIS video on hirable ways that you can follow up with new people that you meet.
And, THIS video sharing a second, completely different way to follow up that shows that you’re human.
It's hard to win in one meeting, although the right questions help.
It's much easier to win over the long haul.
Focus on your follow-up.
Amplify being hirable by also being human.
And follow up consistently.
To amplify your expertise, orchestrate what we call...
A campaign of helpfulness.
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