Last year the first post of the year was titled The Job Search Rabbit Hole. I think I should make a (kids) book out of it.
I’ve used that idea as the 2011 theme, and focused a lot on job seekers chasing something that doesn’t exist (read the post for the story/analogy).
This year I want to talk about something I’ve realized as I’ve spoken to thousands of professionals and executives across the U.S. I have started to say that “the job search is 99% communication.” Written, verbal, body language, etc. It’s all about how we communicate. And we can communicate A LOT better.
I just finished a life-changing book written by friend and mentor Mark LeBlanc titled Never Be The Same. It is a fast read, and completely intriguing. It was written after Mark finished a 500 mile walk across Spain… the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Get the book here – I loved Mark’s unique style … it was just delightful to absorb.
Mark gave me permission to share this excerpt from his book… I LOVED this story as it illustrates the communication problem that I want to help YOU think about this year. Mark talks about going to a networking event and sharing his elevator pitch. It had all the bad, junky, jargon cliche yuck that most elevator pitches have. One day, though, he wasn’t in the mood to share it, so he shook things up (almost accidentally). He writes:
It was my turn-my minute-to stand up and introduce myself, again. Only this time I didn’t blather on about my broad range of services and menu of presentation topics. None of which, you might recall, had I provided to a single client or audience since Small Business (No-So-Much) Success was born. My calendar was empty from Day One. Instead, I simply got up and shared my dream. In a monotone, mind you, with nary an inflection of enthusiasm whatsoever.
“My name is Mark LeBlanc, and I run a company called Small Business Success. I work with people who want to start a business and with small business owners who want to grow their business.” Period, end. I shut up and sat down.
There were about twenty five business people at this meeting, and when it was over, seven of them came up to me. Now, this was a total surprise, because for ten months, no one-and I mean no one-had any interest in what I did or had to offer. Instead of repelling people, as was my habit, I seemed to be attracting prospects. There was a line, for heavens sake!
“I want to start my own business,” said one woman.
“My wife has been wanting to start her own business; give me your card,” said a business man.
“I’ve been in business ten years, but seem kind of stuck. I’d like to know more about growing my business, cranking it up a notch. Can you help me with that?” came from another.
My favorite response was a friend’s: “I’ve been listening to your introductions for ten months, and I had no clue this is what you do. I think I can refer a few people to you.”
Within thirty days, seven prospects wrote me a check and engaged me in the process of helping them start of grow their business. It was as if the floodgates opened and soon prospects came in faster than I could handle. Okay, maybe not that fast, but when you did not earn a nickel for nearly a year, this new-found success felt like I was sipping from the fire hose.”
I had a similar experience, which I blogged about here: Substantiate Yourself.
I am convinced that the canned 30 second pitches job seekers are coached to work on lead to really, really bad results. The pitch sucks. No one responds. Mark changed his, focusing on the outcomes of his work, and he got results.
Small, minor, easy changes can change the results. He didn’t throw in bigger words, fancier phrases, or more stuff. He whitled it down to the core message, and he got results.
This is a theme that will be on my mind all year.
Will you join me this year, on our journey to better career management?
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