I want to talk a bit about networking with new acquaintances or renewing old contacts. Networking is often dreaded because it sounds like being disingenuous or insincere. Good networking is genuine and sincere. I made the point in Week 1 that communication skills are crucial, and they can be learned. Warren Buffett has said that “public speaking” is the most important skill he ever learned. So let’s discuss a few ideas on how to make networking less stressful and more successful. In this video, I will list three key things to remember when networking and expand on why they are so important. My UBC Management students will remember this from my Management Communication course.
Some years ago, the British comedian and Monty Python member, John Cleese participated in a series of sales and management training videos. To this day, I still laugh remembering one of them, “How Not to Exhibit Yourself.” “How Not to Exhibit Yourself” focuses on trade show behavior and particularly how to effectively connect with potential customers, but in my mind, the humorous lessons offered by Cleese could just as easily apply to networking with people in general. My key point in this post is that regardless whatever field you work, your ability and skill in relating to people and communicating effectively will be crucial to your success.
I noticed the following post on LinkedIn, and thought that it was important to share it. When I first came to UBC to teach Industry Analysis and Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Management, I was struck by how utterly unprepared Faculty of Management students were to stand up and communicate their ideas. Most students used 3 x 5 cards and stared at the floor. One student, without realizing it, stood up and crossed his arms across his chest, projecting only his personal discomfort with the situation. Clearly this problem needed to be addressed. If there is one thing I have learned since graduating with a Speech-Communication degree, it is the importance of being able to stand up and communicate your ideas, what you believe, and most importantly, who you are. It is crucial to career success.
This article has resonated with me, and my own personal epiphany. It came to me as a university student, sitting on the grass in the university common area. I suddenly realized that I was my own boss, and I no longer cared much what other people thought of me. As the author says here, it was a sense of calm, and a moment that not everyone achieves. It is a variation on my own tag line…”The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Once again, I find that the key factor is people skills.
Baseball players, particularly pitchers, are known for being superstitious. These superstitions have been immortalized by characters like Pedro Cerrano, the Cuban center fielder and his doll Joboo, in the film Major League. Real life examples abound. But it now turns out that research has shown that following personal rituals may increase your self-confidence and actually help you ace a job interview or a big presentation.
Fourth Year UBC Faculty of Management students will recall many of these points on “ice breaker” techniques to grab the attention of your audience. Use of any of these five suggestions may depend on your public speaking situation. Are you there to inform, inspire, entertain, or call the audience to action?…Is the situation solemn, serious, or relaxed? It can make a significant difference to the success of your speech.
Incoming fourth year UBC Faculty of Management students will recall these 5 public speaking tips from my MGMT 340 Management Communication course. It is a good review of what you learned so that you can exploit your public speaking skills in fourth year classes. The more time and effort you put into your preparation and practice, the more successful you will be in public speaking situations. Remember that verbal communication in interpersonal “one on one” and “one to many” situations has been described by Warren Buffett as the single most important management skill he learned.
In honor to my UBC Management students graduating this month and early next month, I am posting this compilation of videos of commencement speeches. Yes, the Steve Jobs’ legendary Stanford commencement address is here (Jobs wore his trademark levi’s under his academic gown), but the others are equally compelling. The David Foster Wallace “What is Water?” speech is also here, but as a link to that video at the bottom of this post.
The Wall Street Journal has highlighted this commencement speech, and I thought it so good, I had to share it here with my UBC Management students. It is at least as good as Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement address, and it was also given in the same year, 2005.
My UBC Faculty of Management students will recall that I said that Bill Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention was memorable. I also predicted that Clinton’s speech would be remembered and analyzed as one of the great communication events in recent years. Now that the dust has settled and the smoke cleared from the U.S. Presidential election, it is also much clearer what was important and what was not. It is even more clear now, with the passage of time, and the elimination of all the emotion. Below is the Wall Street Journal’s glowing assessment of Clinton’s speech. Coming from the WSJ, one must admit that their opinion carries even greater weight because a Rupert Murdoch owned publication is not expected to show much admiration for anything to the left of Karl Rove.