Can we meet for coffee?

A good cup of coffee and a great visit with a friend is the perfect combo for connection.  Nearly two hours later, my friend and I covered most every topic relevant to us right now.  But surely the best part of the morning was finding how we are currently sharing a career journey.

I used “so, what’s your story these days” to open the conversation and we just never stopped.  Jen is an experienced ‘connector’ and even told me she feels she can find commonality with most anyone.  So, it is no wonder we were able to visit for so long (you don’t have to though).   Soon, Jen was helping me dig deep into what my aspirations are and how she can help.

There are times when a visit does have an underlying purpose of networking but this one was purely social.  The result was a delightful morning, attention to a relationship and a possible career path.

This chat is an important lesson on how a conversation can lead benefit your job search and your personal community.   Unlike a neighborhood picnic, our meeting was intentional.  I cannot remember who invited whom but the act of invitation made the visit special.

Why not ask someone to coffee this week?  And push yourself to make that date with a 2nd or 3rd tier contact.  Then let me know how it goes.  Cheers!

 

–Special thanks to Water Street Coffee Joint for hosting us on their patio and to Jen Agay for the visit!

“Tell me your story…”

When I had joined a new organization, a colleague asked me  “So, Sarah, tell me your story.”

I have shamelessly used this line when I am meeting new people to engage them to talk.  It is phrased as a command but the person asking the question is showing interest in you.  Most everyone enjoys sincere attention.

It was one of the kindest ‘questions’ ever.

What if the person replies with “I don’t have a story” or “I don’t know what you mean”?  Then, it’s time to use a prompting question.  But ask something that is pretty common and something you might be able to have in common.  How about:

  • “Where did you go to elementary school and what was your favorite lunch food?”  Yeah.  This is information never listed on a resume.
  • Or even “what was your favorite cartoon as a child” can start quite a dialogue.

Everyone’s story starts somewhere, when trying to meet someone new, why not ask about their’s?

lunch box

Dedicated to Jessica Barboline for asking for my story!

Talking my way through it

Over the years, many of my school teachers wrote a similar comment on my report card, “a joy to have in class but talks too much.”  I urged my parents to focus on the “joy” but they wanted me to work on the “talking”.   I now recognize my talking wasn’t negative but it might have been disruptive.

I haven’t stopped talking but I’ve gotten better at waiting my turn!   So imagine my ‘joy’ when three people over the course of a weekend encouraged me to share my skill and comfort at conversation with others.

Through this blog, I hope to share ideas about how I use communication to connect with others.  This ability has helped me in several industries such as fund raising, community relations  school administration and now in sales.

Of course, I think I talked my husband into marrying me and I never stop talking to my three children (sometimes they even listen.)

I believe how we create dialogue with others is a key strategy for success.  So I hope you offer feedback, question my ideas or suggest tips that have worked for you in the comments section.  Of course, you can always e-mail me and we can just…talk.

I’ll get us started: “Hello, my name is Sarah.  What is yours?”

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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