It is natural to not pay attention to something you do all the time. However, you should not confuse being practiced at something with being good at something. You eat all of the time, yet that does not mean you eat what you should. You sleep all of the time, yet that does not mean you always have a good night’s sleep. Even if you introduce yourself to others frequently, you are not necessarily a world class introducer.
When introducing yourself, do you do so poorly? Perhaps you are inconsistent, inattentive, or under-skilled. Perhaps you don’t value the benefit of a solid introduction. Whatever the reason, your inability to introduce yourself effectively leaves others feeling unimpressed and underwhelmed.
When it comes to introducing yourself to colleagues you don’t know, do you avoid introducing yourself at all costs? Perhaps you are highly uncomfortable or severely under-skilled. Much like getting a flu shot, you want your introduction to be quick and painless. In fact, you wouldn’t introduce yourself to others at all if you could avoid doing so. Do any of the following “Avoider” characteristics seem familiar to you when you think about introducing yourself to others?
It is important to recognize that visibility and value are deeply symbiotic in your organization and industry. You already know that professional risks exist for busy business professionals who are invisible or undervalued in their organization. You do not want to be visible without providing value, and it is hard to demonstrate the value that you provide if you are invisible.
Research tells us that how we define something dictates the activities we subscribe to it. There is a famous example from the turn of the 19th century that illustrates this point. In an effort to change how the public perceived his company, the president of a railroad company declared, “We are not a train company – we are a transportation company!” Suddenly, by viewing his organization as a provider of transportation and not just an owner of trains, he created new customer perspectives and business opportunities.
Coming December 2nd!
I’m thrilled to announce my new podcast called “Be Brave @ Work with Ed Evarts: Stories About Courageous Steps in Your Workplace.”
Networking is, and will continue to be, an important professional activity for business professionals. I previously stated that 60 – 70% of employed individuals located their most recent job opportunity through networking. These numbers were corroborated in a poll I conducted on LinkedIn. I found that 59% of 1,339 respondents chose the category “by networking with friends and colleagues” as the strategy that led them to their most recent job. Therefore, networking seems to be three times more effective than using an on-line job board and almost three times more effective than using a recruiter.
There is little doubt that human beings have a need for social interaction and networking. In his landmark paper A Theory of Human Motivation (1943), Abraham Maslow concluded that, after fulfilling our psychological and safety needs, we must fulfill our interpersonal and “belongingness” needs. To paraphrase Maslow, individuals hunger for affectionate relationships with people and they will strive with great intensity to achieve this goal.
Now that you have your value meeting scheduled with your boss, what are you going to say? Here are some suggested talking points to help keep you on track and to make sure you cover the most important areas.