Tag Archives: networking

It Helps to be Good with Names

Using someone’s name is arguably the easiest and most basic means of initiating a relationship and establishing a rapport. The sooner you use someone’s name and the more often you use it initially, the quicker you break through the fundamental fog of unfamiliarity such that strangers rapidly become acquaintances and acquaintances potentially become friends.

I often expect people to not remember my name, perhaps because it’s not a conventional one or sadly because I’m not especially memorable or a bit of both, so when someone who I’ve just met supplements a question or prefigures some snippet of conversation by using my name, I naturally warm to them. Maybe I even feel obliged to reciprocate. I’m fairly certain, or rather hope that this feeling is not utterly unique and peculiar to myself revealing some sort of low self-esteem insecurity.

Therefore, as I mention under tips in ‘Group Exercises’, when you’re thrown into an assessment centre or group situation where a familiar face is often lacking, take real stock of people’s names and use them. The warmth will flow and you’ll feel more comfortable for it. I can’t make people necessarily remember my name and use it, but by knowing and using others’ I almost feel like I’m establishing a bond whether they like it or not which ultimately contributes to a feeling of ease and familiarity which hopefully translates to confidence.

In addition to creating that rapport, from an external perspective, if you are using people’s names assessors are more likely to adopt an impression of you that leans readily towards a team player, a facilitator and someone who quickly builds relationships; especially if you’re confidently using 4+ people’s names in a group exercise when you only met them an hour ago. If everyone’s bandying names about, then great, this is a confident and comfortable team. If you’re the only one putting names to faces, then you’re a strong confident binding agent. Obviously, using names is only one aspect amidst all the other great team-working skills, but it is nevertheless a simple and very effective ‘tool’ that’s just too easy to leave unused.

But I’m rubbish with names!

Yes, because you choose to be rubbish with names. I used to be rubbish with names. The one change I made, was to make a conscious effort to remember names. Simple. Too often you’re worried about saying your name or shaking hands that you completely blank out the other person’s. Just by concentrating on the person’s name, you’re likely to remember it. Try also repeating it as soon as you hear it. Maybe write it down. Use it when you ask that person a question. Repeating the name 2-3 times within a short space of time, you stand a better chance of remembering it as it typically logs itself quite nicely in your mind from then on.

So don’t neglect the simple power of using someone’s name. Just don’t overdo it and don’t take any liberties with nicknames unless given permission.

[As always, please share your thoughts]


Networking 101 – Linked in 3-Pillars

Many faithful readers will know that I have a penchant for Linked in. It is a fantastically powerful social networking tool that can be harnessed for a variety of activities including job-hunting, information gathering/ research, lead generation, business development, marketing and advertising etc. However, as with most things, if you are planning to use Linked in, and since you’re reading this article I would strongly advise you do and assume you already are, you need to approach it systematically and strategically.

1. Know why you’re using Linked in

This may remain constant or is liable to change depending on your circumstances and propensity for adventure. As soon as you identify what you want to get out of linked in, you can then act with purpose. Knowing for example whether you’re job-hunting, building contacts, keeping in touch with acquaintances or acquiring information, will inform what groups you should join, what information you should present on your profile, what type of updates you should write, who you should aim to connect with and how you approach building your online network.

This will help you approach people online in an appropriate fashion and also invite interest from relevant contacts effectively, as you will set the tone by constructing your profile.

2. Participate appropriately

It’s not all me me me. Reciprocate. Get involved in groups. Once you join a group, the network of people you are able to contact and search increases. However, you want to start building some credibility in your online presence, whether it is by asking questions, beginning discussions, offering opinions and advice or publishing your own material. This will allow you to also network and build your contact base being sure to keep all your actions relevant to your purpose. Karma is real.

3. Build your brand

The first step is to appreciate the fact that you are presenting yourself to be found. Some people may first make contact with you through Linked in, therefore, what you have on your profile, what groups you are in, what discussions you’ve participated in, who has recommended you, whether you have 50 connections or 500+ etc. will all go towards forming an initial impression. There are options to illustrate your specialties and skills and even showcase presentations or link articles from a blog. I even have my linked in profile on my cv so that recruiters and employers can see my recommendations and learn a bit more about me through my professional online activities. I have also created a separate word document where I’ve pasted my recommendations so that for some online applications that allow you to upload supporting documents I provide my references.

Lastly, choose a good profile picture.


Linked in is a way to put yourself out there in the professional world. You can make far more connections and contacts than if you simply relied on the real world meet and greet converse networking model. A strong profile can supplement establishing a foundation for future visibility and exposure in whatever industry you’re pursuing and want to make an impact in. Some clear thinking and consideration early on will allow you to create a neat well-constructed and effective online presence versus one that is tacky and lack-lustre.

For quite a comprehensive resource, check out: www.linkedintelligence.com/smart-ways-to-use-linkedin

‘Know your enemy’ – Interview success the Sun Tzu way

‘It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.’ – Sun Tzu

It is fairly obvious that it is imperative you know your cv intimately and that you have compiled a mental catalogue of neat structured examples to demonstrate clearly defined competencies.

However, this is only half the battle

But what of knowing your enemy? Certainly you have reviewed and researched the company’s website and done your homework, but to sustain the metaphor have you given the same level of thought to your opposite number, the individual warrior who will confront you directly in battle? I am of course talking about your interviewer.

Sure, for assessment centres, companies are likely not to know much in advance who exactly will be assessing you or perhaps will be unwilling to tell you. However, for individual interviews you are likely to know who to ask for at reception or should at least inquire as to who you will be seeing. For my interview next Friday with a technology consultancy I know exactly who will be interviewing me, and I know what practice area he sits within and what his background is.

Therefore, I have an inkling as to what he might quiz me on, what he is most knowledgeable about and therefore what he might find most interesting to discuss. I’ll certainly swot up on his specialism slightly more than the other two areas I’m being interviewed for. In this way, I should hope to control the interview a little more than if I go into it without this information.

Additionally, I have some relevant questions prepared particularly since I’ve found out my interviewer used to work for a company I recently had an assessment centre with. Possible rapport-builder?

Intelligence gathering

  1. Company’s website search of interviewer’s name
  2. Google search (people’s favourite)
  3. Linked in (I love linked in)
  4. Facebook
  5. Any relevant contacts you have

Of all the sources above, Linked in is always my first port of call as it, in my opinion, has the best quality professional profile information out there and has served me well on more than many occasions.

Now go win a hundred battles.

Relevant posts: Linkedin grad guide-get networking

Linkedin Grad Guide – Get Networking!

Watch the video below and jump straight in: http://grads.linkedin.com/

Remember, Consulting is all about building relationships. So get networking.

And if you’re wondering how useful it really is or you’re just not convinced, a simple google search will yield a plethora of guides and articles validating the benefits of networking. For a real example, check out: How a LinkedIn Groups Conversation Led to an Internship.

Just one example of many out there. But you get the point. In the current market, simply going through the motions of drafting a cv, submitting it and waiting for the phone to ring might not cut it anymore. You’re going to have to put some effort in, be dynamic and creative and apply all the skills these consultancies look for in order to just get your foot in the door, at which point you’ll have to do it all over again, and again, until the offer comes through and that hard graft and creative thinking is earning you some well-deserved cold hard cash!

For more ideas on how to use networking and Linked in productively and practically, check out How to Make Graduate Applications 36% More Effective to help you stand out from the crowd.