Episode #114 – Marc presents an interview with networking expert, author Karen Wickre.
In this episode, Marc and Karen discuss her book. Taking the Work out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count.
Karen is a veteran connector, editor, and communicator and has worked in and around Silicon Valley long enough to have appeared in Wired 1.4. Even before that, she wrote one of the very first guides to what was called the World Wide Web. Now it’s an amusing relic of a more innocent time.
As a corporate writer, she has developed stories, styles, and cadences for Google, Twitter, and many startups. As an early ‘Googler,’ she joined when there were 500 employees. She left nine years later when there were 50,000. She has been in a fair share of war rooms and fire drills and has crafted scores of posts covering products, pivots, shake-ups, corporate apologies, and company culture. More recently, she advised a range of companies that want a strategy or a reality check on their messages and the content they produce.
Sometimes, friends introduce her as someone who “knows everybody.” Not exactly true but usually, she does know who everyone is. That may be her secret power, along with common sense. She can see around corners and ask questions that matter, all in order to help get to the next steps and real solutions for teams, companies, and individuals.
[1:05] Marc welcomes you to Episode 114 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. CareerPivot.com brings you this podcast; it is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life and our careers. Please take a moment to check out the blog and the other resources delivered to you free of charge.
[1:35] If you are enjoying this podcast, please share it with other like-minded souls. Subscribe on CareerPivot.com, iTunes, or any of the other apps that supply podcasts. Share it on social media or just tell your neighbors, and colleagues. The more people Marc can reach, the more he can help.
[1:57] Next week, in Episode 115, Marc will interview Valerie Friesen from Blue Angel Solutions. Valerie is an early-stage Baby Boomer who moved with her husband to Mexico from Canada during the Great Recession, intending to teach English. She now has a successful business providing health insurance solutions to expats in Mexico.
[2:27] This week, Marc interviews Karen Wickre, the author of Taking the Work out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count. Marc reads her bio by way of introduction.
[4:09] Marc welcomes Karen to the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Karen emphasizes the word “connector” from her bio; her ability to connect people is one of the reasons she wrote her book.
Now on to the podcast…
[4:37] Karen is considered a social introvert. She likes meeting with people, but she has to avoid overscheduling. She needs time to regroup at home.
[5:50] The difference between introverts and extroverts is in how they energize. Introverts energize in quiet spaces; extroverts energize from other people.
[6:27] Chapter 1 of Karen’s book is “Unleashing the Introvert’s Secret Power.” Karen’s theory is that introverts have the three qualities that help make connections that matter. The first quality is listening (not just waiting for your turn to talk). Introverts don’t want to reveal too much until they feel safe.
[7:41] Karen cites interviewer Terry Gross, saying “There’s no better question than ‘Tell me about yourself,’” when you’re getting acquainted with someone.
[7:58] The second quality is the power of being a good observer of the scene and of how a person you are meeting presents themselves. Are they nervous, are they proud of their accomplishments, what’s their style? Do they talk about their family a lot? Being observant of things and of behaviors is very helpful for understanding your audience.
[8:57] The third quality is curiosity. Be curious about people, their stories, and where they come from. Karen often tells anonymous stories that help people relate to the experiences of others.
[9:43] These three qualities — listening, observing, and curiosity — are qualities introverts are likely to have and that people need, to make good connections.
[9:56] Marc refers to Thom Singer of the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do podcast. Thom’s observation about introverts is that they know how to listen. Marc always recommends introverts to have a set of questions to use to find something that you have in common.
[10:25] Karen is on a nonprofit board and she recently did an exercise with them to go off in pairs and take five minutes to find what they had in common.
[10:41] When Marc was living in Austin, he would start conversations by asking “How did you get to Austin?” People always had a story and they wanted to tell it.
[11:02] Karen says keeping in “loose touch” is making occasional contact with people to whom you are connected in some fashion online. Send a link with “I saw this and thought of you. Hope you’re doing well. (Let’s catch up soon.)” You can do this on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or text. It doesn’t require an immediate response.
[13:25] It’s simply to say, “We’re both still out there and I’m thinking of you.” You might set aside a few minutes a day to make these loose touches. Marc refers to this as cultivating your network.
[14:36] How should you reach out to your network? First, understand how they want to be touched. If you’re not connected on a platform, email may work. Marc notes that Baby Boomers are still getting used to texting people. Marc prefers a text to a phone call from an unknown number.
[15:37] Karen calls email the killer app. Karen suggests using it when you don’t know who prefers what platform. She uses it in a three-step process to introduce one person to another. Send it to one, ask concisely, with details, for permission to introduce the other, wait for the response, and, if positive, make the connection in a new chain.
[19:45] Marc advises that when you make an introduction, always make what you are asking for simple. He gives an example from emailing a connection at Capital Metro, where he asked, “Who can she talk to?” for information about working there. All his contact had to do was forward the email to the right person.
[20:34] People often don’t ask for what they want, or they are not clear enough. Karen suggests asking, “If not you, is there someone else you can connect us with?”
[21:17] Marc advises job seekers to send connection requests to recruiters, asking “Are you the right recruiter for this position? And if not, could you direct me to them?”
[21:45] What is the next killer app after email? Karen suggests LinkedIn, used for a simple connection, and then pivoting to email.
[23:17] Marc asks as an introvert, why he would need to network for his job search. Karen advises on the parameters of proper networking. It is a one-to-one connection with people who have leads and information for you, related to your question. It’s not a mass outreach but connecting to a few people who are, in part, experts on your need.
[25:33] Your quest is to find selected people who have relevant information for you, get introductions to them, and follow up with some kind of exchange or conversation as needed. Karen advises how to tout your qualities without bragging.
[27:00] Most of us Boomers got our jobs from other people. A lot of the people who pulled us along are no longer in power or are retired or dead. So, we need to build relationships with younger people. Marc sees LinkedIn as a database to find people he should network with before he needs a job.
[28:05] Karen says the point of her book is to have informal, low-pressure outreach with people and connections all the time. When you actually need it, it is less daunting if you’ve already been cultivating your network. Karen shares a case study of a woman who had let her network go, over the years and now needs a new one.
[29:03] Marc paraphrases Scott Ingram, “Networking doesn’t occur at networking events. It occurs afterward.” Karen tells people that getting the business card at an event is all about the follow-up. Karen gives people processes and strategies to try. Do what works for you.
[30:41] Karen gives her final suggestions: LinkedIn gives canned language for making a connection Don’t rely on that. Use your own language. Make your own explanation of why you want to connect with them. Tell what you have in common or connections you share with them. Be specific about your need and your quest. Personalize.
[32:05] It’s when it’s kind of vague and unstated and unclear, that it’s really hard to move ahead in any direction. Karen might wait a good long while to respond to a generic connection request. She may not reject it, but she lets it sit. She has a hundred or so that she will not do anything with unless they come up with a reason she should.
[33:22] Marc refers to a conversation on this that he had with podcast host Mark Anthony Dyson, a frequent guest. Mark and Marc take different approaches. Marc will accept it, and respond back, “I accepted your connection, [first name]. How did you find me?” About 75% will respond. If they are selling services, he cuts them off.
[34:27] Marc really, really enjoyed Karen’s book. See the link to it above. You can also connect to Karen on Karenwickre.com or @KVox on Twitter and KarenWickre on LinkedIn. Marc thanks Karen for being on the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[35:43] Susan Lahey and Marc are working on the next edition of Repurpose Your Career, and Marc is looking for your help. Marc has formed a release team of readers who will get access to pre-release chapters of the book to provide feedback.
[35:56] You can be part of this team by going to CareerPivot.com/RYCTeam where you can sign up.
[36:04] When you sign up, you’ll receive the pre-release versions of the chapters when they become available. What Marc asks in return is for you to provide feedback and be prepared to write a review on Amazon.com when the book is released.
[36:20] Marc and Susan are adding about eight new chapters to the book and re-writing several others. Marc will release a new pre-release chapter on this podcast and to the team every four to six weeks in the coming months.
[36:40] The CareerPivot.com/Community website has become a valuable resource for almost 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project. Marc will be soliciting members for the next cohort, shortly.
[36:56] If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community. When you sign up you’ll receive information about the community as it evolves.
[37:12] Those in the initial cohorts will get to set the direction for this endeavor. This is a paid membership community with group coaching and special content. More importantly, it will be a community where you can seek help. Go to CareerPivot.com/Community to learn more.
[37:36] Marc invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/mrmiller. Just include in the connection request that you heard Marc on this podcast. You can look for Career Pivot on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @CareerPivot on Twitter.
[38:01] Please come back next week, when Marc will interview Valerie Friesen, owner of Blue Angel Solutions, in Mexico.
[38:11] Marc thanks you for listening to the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
How to Find More About the Podcast and Subscribe
Make sure to check out the Career Pivot Community.
You can contact us here.
Marc invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/mrmiller. Just include in the connection request that you listen to this podcast.
You can get updates on this podcast by clicking on the Get Career Pivot Insights button below.
The podcast is available on YouTube.