How can I approach an adult? They’re successful, they’re busy, and they’re doing really cool things. Why would they want to talk to me? When you approach from a place of service — whether it be for internships, connections, or just to learn more about a field — you can quickly build rapport with others. Don’t take it from me. That’s what Ted Koutsabous, VP of the DC Penn Alumni Group, said: a simple phrase builds relationships. “You may not be able to be of service right now, but you need to have that mindset.” Having this mindset allows you to showcase your most important currency in the networking game: “personal currency.” Lots of people are genuinely happy to help, but they also want to see your ability to care for others too. Try using:
this phrase more often, thinking about how you can serve a person or organization as opposed to how good it would be to have such-and-such as a LinkedIn connection or how flashy it would be to have this internship on your resume. Just as an example, if during your informational interview the person expresses interest in a topic, the next time you see an interesting article on that topic, you could share it with them. It’s a little thing that shows you’re interested in developing a relationship, not just getting something from them. The other thing you bring to the table is your enthusiasm. You should make it clear that you are really interested in what they do and how they do it and you would love to learn more about them. That will make them feel good, which is a nice thing that you are doing for them. So don’t worry that the person you’re reaching out to is too busy to talk to you. If they are, they won’t agree to chat. If they do agree to chat, remember that while you are absolutely benefiting from the conversation, so are they.
Next week: What’s your personal currency?