Networking, Speaking

The What and the How

The What and the How - The headline The Atlantic is a plaintive question. “Do Voters Care About Policy Even a Little?” The answer, contained in the subhead, appears to be a resounding “no.” “Joe Biden turned one of the highest-polling ideas in politics into reality. Few voters have even noticed.” Here’s why the president’s problem matters to you and your business. Maybe … people just aren’t paying attention to what goes on in Washington, even when it tackles problems they’ve been complaining about for years. People are just much more concerned with their own lives than any federal policy. Maybe … other issues are more important to Americans than getting a break on drug prices or getting a job because of those much-ballyhooed infrastructure projects. It’s all about the cost of groceries and gasoline. Maybe … the news media are to blame—they don’t cover what the president has to say unless they can gin up some click-generating conflict, as in the student loan issue. Another bridge being built in another red county? Big yawn. Or maybe there’s something else at work.


Photo of a smiling Joe Biden in an outdoor crowd. By Adam Schultz / Office of the President of the United States -, Public Domain,
Business Communication, Networking, Selling

The Words We Choose are so Important

The words we choose are so important. I met her at a networking event. I mean I intentionally (and quickly!) sought her out after the program ended, because she’d told us she offered a service that very much interested me. I wanted to talk with this woman! Of course, I assumed she’d want to talk with me too. That’s what we’re there for, after all. And I made it abundantly clear that I was eager to know more about what she offers. So, you can imagine my surprise when she said, “What I do with my prospects is set up a Zoom meeting, so if you’ll give me your email address …” as she turned away. Ewwwww. Who wants to be a “prospect”? I certainly don’t


photos of letter cubes spelling "words"
Business Communication, Marketing, Networking

Turn the Lens Around

Turn the lens around. It’s a tough task for job-seekers. And independent professionals seeking clients. And sales people hoping to create new customer relationships. In short, just about anyone in any business runs into the challenge of talking about themselves … while putting their focus on somebody else. The idea is to speak about the people you before yoou launch into how perfect you are for the job. In other words, frame their description of their own value in the context of what a potential employer needs. The way to do that is to talk about the people you serve first. And then, when they’ve established that you “get” those people, describe the value you would bring to the organization.


Photo of young woman taking a "selfie"
Business Communication, Networking, Women in Business

Professional etiquette? What IS that?

Professional etiquette? What IS that? So, I’m about to do a program on Professional Etiquette. And I was surprised at the invitation, to tell you the truth. Do professionals—or anyone else—care about etiquette anymore? It’s sort of a fusty word, don’t you think? “Etiquette” conjures up Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, and wearing white gloves to fortnightly, sitting with our ankles crossed and our hands demurely folded in our laps. Does that make me sound old-fashioned? “Étiquette,” it turns out, has been around since the 15th century, French for “ticket.” The meaning was later expanded to include “proper court behavior.” That’s “court” as in the royal court, not the traffic court where we, today, might deal with a ticket. What about now? Brittanica tells us etiquette is “a system of rules and conventions that regulate social and professional behavior.” Truth be told, I’m not that fond of rules.


poster: Professional Etiqued - Catherine Johns, Featured Speaker
Business Communication, Networking

How Will You Answer the Question?

How Will You Answer the Question? We’re going to be doing a lot of socializing in the next week, aren’t we? With the 4th of July on Tuesday, people are already planning a loooong weekend. What do we talk about at those gatherings? "What do you do?" is very often the first question you get in social situations. No matter where you’re celebrating, it’s likely someone will wonder about your work. You want to talk about what you do in a way that piques their interest. And gives them a clue why somebody might engage you or hire you or donate to your cause. The same thing comes up at structured networking meetings in what's often called the “elevator speech.” I’ve gotten away from that language, myself. Think about it. When you meet someone, wherever you are, do you want to hear a speech? No. You want to have a conversation. So, I encourage my clients to play with what they want people to know about them and their work. To keep it light. And to vary what they say, depending on who's listening.


friends gathering at an outdoor party 65883359 m normal none