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The Human Element: Day Two at Tradecraft


I can have a hard time communicating. I think it's what draws me to writing: I can try on words until my thoughts unmuddle themselves. In daily conversation, it's a struggle. My desire to be prepared and get things right gets in the way of my receptivity. I get nervous. I tend to make things all about moi. Being a navel-gazer, I know all this stuff already--but what do I do about it?

Fortunately, Tradecraft is designed especially for me.

Okay, not really. But that how it feels. Here personal and professional development isn't a side dish: it's an entire course.

Last week, I jotted down some of my favorite excerpts from the TIARA networking framework. Today, TC13 talked about networking and development strategies in depth. Today, Career Dev expert Brett Hunter covered overarching truisms about human relationships, as well as some brass tacks methods. Here's what I learned:

It's not all about you. Guess what? Most people are afraid of rejection. Consequently, they struggle to network effectively. Do a little work at it, and you'll be better than most.

Specificity is vital. Networking is like hitch-hiking. There's no guarantee that it will take you where you want to go, but it's best to have an address in mind.

Build consultative relationships. Connect over shared passions and genuine interest--not your desire to have your contact's job title.

Don't obsess about your goals. But make some, and be ready to explain why you chose them. This will allow you to cast a broad networking net.

Do a research project. Compile your contacts' perspectives into an ebook or blog series. It shows initiative and is a great excuse to interview people.

Make others look good. Ask a small favor, then get to work. Show gratitude and initiative. Ask your contact open-ended questions where he or she will shine.

Fine tune talking points. A coffee invite is amorphous. A discussion of a certain industry trend is much more appealing.

Tailor your approach. Here's the time to be different things to different people. Tell your contacts your story in language they'll understand.

Reciprocate. You've got something to offer too. Identify what relationships, skills, attention, or information may make your contact's life easier, and avail yourself.

Start now. The faster you start, the faster you fail, the better you get. Start with the people who you think could be most helpful--the goal is to build an ongoing rapport.

Now, I'm going to take my own advice and start finding my people.