Work for me during the past month has involved lots of meetings over lunch and coffee. I’ve learned three things we can work on whether we are meeting up with old friends, or we’re being introduced to someone new:
1. Reconsider how you describe your life.
The first–and the easiest–question you might want to ask yourself is whether or not YOU would be interested in talking to a person who describes their status in the way you do when you meet new people…
By “status,” I mean how you would answer the following questions, among others:
- What brought you to [insert event name]?
- So, where do you live? (For some reason I’m asked this all the time.)
- What kind of work do you do?
- How’s the job? Are you still at [insert company name or entrepreneurial pursuit]?
- How did you end up working for [insert company name]?
The idea of re-framing how you describe your everyday life and even your occupational status is important, and not just at networking events or at business conferences.
If you work in a role where no one can actually comprehend what you do, then you should work especially hard at better describing your role so that they CAN understand what you do.
Why care? Whether we like it or not, we tend to judge people quickly.
Need proof? What’s the image you get if someone says they are vegan? What about if someone says they are a librarian?
Even if someone says something as broad as “I work in finance,” you tend to think of stereotypes. Who knows if they apply to you or not–and that’s not the point!
The point is you want to carefully choose the way you describe yourself so that you can positively influence how others perceive you.
The immediate benefit of using more familiar language to describe your role (if this applies to you), is that people can comfortably ask you questions about what you do…