Can You Relate to Me?

I hired a lawyer to do a contract for me.

I have talked to lots and lots of lawyers, but this one was in the right time at the right place.  I heard him speak at a conference (boring, right?) and I was impressed with something: he was me.

In addition to being a lawyer (I’m not a lawyer), he is an entrepreneur.  He has a ski business.  He takes his law firm hat off and puts on his entrepreneur hat.

I knew he could understand my concerns and issues and how sensitive I was to spending money. These are issues you deeply feel if you are accountable for your business success and future.

Let’s switch gears.  I usually connect with my speaking audiences because, while I speak, I’m the downtrodden (but optimistic) job seeker.  I don’t speak AT them, I speak WITH them.

I connect with business audiences (when I speak) because I am a business owner.

How do I do this?  I don’t assume you get it – I tell you real stories.


2 thoughts on “Can You Relate to Me?”

  1. I’ve always noticed that if I make an effort to find a similarity between myself and the interviewer, or person who could get me a job, I get better results. Whenever I’m at meet and greets with celebrities or graduate program presentations, I always try and find a way to ask questions that are less “How can I get a job/be like you/can I have your autograph?” and more “Have you read this amazing book/What did you think about that advertisement because I thought ___?” That’s how you develop a relationship that might actually pay off.

  2. Since people who might want to hire me are usually trying to get a project finished, i.e. resolve a problem, I try to relate to the problem the interviewer is explaining or seems to want to discuss. When they open up about the problem, I can see if there is a common ground where I could actually solve or have an approach to solving the problem.

    Also, depending on the interviewer and the setting, I try to make them comfortable with me by noticing something perhaps a little personal in their office…oh I see you have a poster by
    Kandinsky, is this an office poster or are you an aficionado of modern art? Or if they have a book on their
    desk, as your former poster said, ask about what they think of the book…you can find out if it is REQUIRED reading (is this a clue to the office management) or something the person is interested in and may want to talk about. If it is a book about a new direction in computing…such as Cloud Computing,
    then it gives me a clue as to where they might be heading.

    If I see that the approach the interviewer or panel is taking is one I know has failed in the past, I will ask why they chose it (not telling them why I saw it fail but to find out what their thinking is) and if I know they are headed down a path to failure…from my experience, it gives me a clue, based on how sold they are on that solution, whether I want the job or not. After all, an interview is a two-way street…

    I can also find out how open they are to other solutions and maybe if this will be an opportunity to learn new skills myself. Given that I am a ‘seasoned’ professional, it gives me a chance to emphasize how much I have been able to learn over my career (I have a lot of experience and use seasoned as a euphemism!)
    And how easily I can do it.

    Of course this relating is a back and forth conversation, and a way to begin to relate personally to the job and to all others on the job. By the same token, when a company will not bring me in for an in-person interview, or as a recent one, sent me all the related paperwork and expected me to print it out and send it back…at my expense, it made me feel they had something to hide or were at best, a ‘shoestring’ operation. And definitely not me!

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