3 Biggest Reasons to Not Use Your Job Title When Networking and What To Do Instead
Hopefully, by this point, you realize that you need to be meeting and expanding your network all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are doing a job search or happily enmeshed in your best job ever, your network requires your attention – all the time.
Your network is a living organism and by it’s very nature, there will be people who will spin out of your orbit for a whole variety of reasons. That means you need to be continuously meeting new people.
It doesn’t matter if those new people you meet are at a neighborhood party or a professional association meeting, your self-introduction needs to be effective and memorable. While the thing we all gravitate to is our job title, it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to meet a new person.
I’d like to outline the reasons not to use your job title in support of what will work so much better:
- Incomprehensible – Most job titles mean almost nothing to people outside your place of work. Some job titles are so cryptic; they leave you wondering where the decoder ring is. Don’t make others have to play “20 questions” just to figure out your work.
- It’s not good conversation – After hearing a job title, it’s often hard to take the conversation anywhere. It’s like hitting a road barrier, it’s abrupt and does nothing to help you both move the conversation forward.
- WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) – We are constantly in search of useful resources that can either help us or help others we know. Memory for something has to have an emotion tied to it. A job title doesn’t do that which means it won’t be memorable.
- Bonus reason – It’s boring and predictable.
While it will take a bit of thought to substitute a way of introduction, once you’ve done it a few times, it will also become second nature to you.
Instead, do this:
- Frame your results – While you do produce numerous results, pick out 1 or 2 results that you obtain. When you frame your introduction in results, people will understand and relate it to them. The thought is if you can get those results for your employer or customer, you can do it for others. It starts to appeal to the WIIFM part in all of us. It’s also more descriptive that a job title.
- Powerful verbs or actions – As part of how your phrase your introduction using your results, think about how you achieve those results. Do you teach? Sell? Manage? Coach? If you’re kind of clueless on some good verbs, simply Google “powerful verbs”, you’ll get great lists to pick what works for you.
- Rinse, repeat & practice – Because you have several results and verbs you can come up with multiple introductions and that works well. If one combination doesn’t really feel comfortable then use a different combination. Once you have a few that work for you, practice them so you’ll remember them. You will find that you’ll end up with a couple that will become your “go-to” introductions.
Keep in mind you are building a new habit. It may feel awkward at first just like riding a bike. It takes practice but will pay off with everyone you meet from now on.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.