We’ve all heard the now cliché phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But how many hours have we spent networking and trying to impress the right people with no tangible results? Marketing consultant and author Michael Katz firmly believes that likeability has more upside than capability, and in this episode of The TalentGrow Show, he shares deliberate, actionable advice on how to effectively build and leverage your relationships and your reputation to propel your career. Learn the simple steps you can take every day to stand out from the crowd, build your visibility, and turn your connections into fruitful relationships that help accelerate your career’s success momentum. Plus, find out why content-creation is such a powerful tool for creating visibility and how you can take advantage of today’s technologies to create effective content of your own! Listen and share with others in your network!
ABOUT MICHAEL KATZ:
Michael Katz is a marketing consultant in the Boston area who’s just published his fourth book: The Likeable Expert, 121 Insights to Start Your Day and Grow Your Business. It’s useful, extremely short format (each insight is one page or less) and the result of his 17 years working as an independent professional. Michael says he doesn’t think the power of connection and relationship-building are taken seriously enough in business. We think it's "soft" and a nice to have when, in fact, it's a critical piece in how people get hired, promoted and succeed in any business.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- Michael explains why he believes that “likeability has more upside than capability.” (6:06)
- Doing things to be likeable is the oil in the engine to get your career going (7:18)
- Halelly highlights an important qualification: that likeability may have more upside than capability, but it still cannot replace capability (7:55)
- How school, college, and graduate school give us the erroneous impression that everything is merit-based (8:38)
- When you’re competing with a lot of people that have the same skills as you do, you have to find the things that will draw you apart from the crowd (9:25)
- Michael gives an example of how he successfully narrowed down a field of expertise to make himself uniquely valuable to his organization (10:55)
- Expertise is what gives you visibility, but the relationships that you cultivate as a result are what will really catapult your career (13:08)
- Ask yourself two questions: What do I want to be known for? and, What can I do to create content? (14:25)
- Michael suggests how to get started with building your visibility: creating some sort of a plan, even if it’s just a small step you can take on a regular basis (16:40)
- Michael clarifies what he means by likeability in a business setting (18:12)
- Ask yourself: do you do things in your organizations for people who can’t help you? (18:55)
- Likeability can be thought of as little actions that you take on a daily basis that slowly build your relationships and your reputation (19:48)
- Michael shares some great advice on how to take his philosophy and break it down into deliberate, actionable steps (20:16)
- A small, simple step that Michael takes and recommends to build relationships (21:58)
- Michael clarifies what he means by maximizing connections and how we should think about approaching it (22:36)
- An example of how a small relationship-building action that Michael took directly led to getting him a job (24:23)
- How we decide which relationships and connections to focus on and nurture, and how selective we should be (27:55)
- What’s new and exciting on Michael’s horizon (30:22)
- One specific action item you can take to build your likeability and your relationships (31:02)
- Check out the webpage that Michael set up just for YOU!
- Check out Michael’s website
- Get Michael’s latest book, The Likeable Expert: 121 Insights to Start Your Day and Grow Your Business.
- Connect with Michael on LinkedIn and Twitter
Episode 80 Michael Katz
TEASER CLIP: Michael: When you’re competing with people who all have a lot of the same skills and qualifications, it comes down to why does somebody think in your company that you are better than somebody else? I’ve found a couple of things that both in companies and out I find make a difference in terms of my belief that you’re an expert. I should also say that the word expert kind of gives people the chills a little, like, “Oh, I’m not an expert. I don't feel right.” It’s not like you’re going to walk around saying, “I’m an expert.” But it is, what are you doing to show expertise so I think you’re good?
Halelly: Yeah, so tell us!
[MUSIC] Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.
Halelly: Hi there, I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow. This week’s episode features my guest, Michael Katz, who is a marketing consultant and an author, and he is going to help you figure out how to be a likeable expert, and we will talk about why it’s important to both be visible as an expert and also be likeable and create meaningful and long-lasting connections and relationships with people. It is actually totally along the lines of what I talk about when I talk about authentic networking, and building long-term relationships, and we have a really good conversation with lots of specific actionable insights and advice. So, I hope that you’ll enjoy it. Without further ado, here we go.
Okay, and we’re back with Michael Katz, my guest today. He’s a marketing consultant in the Boston area who has just published his fourth book, The Likeable Expert: 121 insights to start your day and grow your business. And I know what you’re thinking – I don’t have a business, Halelly. Don’t worry, it’s to grow your career as well. Everything we’re going to talk about today is going to be useful and helpful to you no matter where you are. His book is very cute. I actually have book envy when I see a little small book like the format he has. It’s short, it has an insight that is each exactly fits in one page or less, and they all are the result of his 17 years working as an independent professional He says that he thinks the powers of connection and relationship-building are not taken seriously enough in business. That we think it’s soft and nice to have when in fact it’s a critical piece to help people get hired, promoted and succeed in any business. I happen to agree. Michael, welcome to the TalentGrow Show.
Michael: Thanks for having me.
Halelly: It’s my pleasure, and thank you for joining us. I look forward to using this opportunity to share some of your wisdom with our listeners. But before we go there, we always start with our guests describing very briefly your professional journey. Where did you start and how did you get to where you are today?
Michael: Actually very conventional. Went to college, went to business school, had a couple of jobs and then the last job I had, I was there for 12 years. I actually worked for the cable company, sorry. But, a very nice place to work, very Fortune 500 corporate kind of environment, and it was fine. But, I go to a point in my career where between the sort of call of the internet – around 2000, everyone was interested. It was the big thing. And also I had a certain sense that I was sort of leveling off in my career, so I was good enough to not get fired, but I wasn’t particularly well-suited to manage people and be in middle management. I wanted my hands on things again. So I ended up leaving, and I fell into doing email newsletters. In fact, I did that as my main thing for about 10 years. Then along the way, I had a number of people who would come to me and say, “Hey, you work solo. I’d like to do that. Can you help me?” So I sort of morphed over into someone who is today essentially I’m a marketing coach for solos. I learned more about marketing when I left my company, even though I was a marketing guy in my company.
Halelly: Why do you think?
Michael: I think it’s because when you’re in a big company, it can be hard to see how what you do affects the result. When you work alone, for good or bad, you’re making it happen or not. So I suddenly noticed things, like, “Oh, that didn’t work,” or, “Oh, that’s really good.” Whereas I found it hard to figure that out in a company, and now I think, “Boy, if I understood a lot of this when I had a job, I could have been way more effective,” in both the work I did, and I think actually my progress in the company. I think part of my leveling off had to do with not really getting what it meant to essentially market myself in the company.
Halelly: Interesting. And you are an expert on being an expert, which kind of sounds fun and funny. And you talk about likeability. And how this is something that’s kind of like the key to getting opportunities, to getting hired. If you’re on your own, of course, to getting clients. And that in every industry, lots of people are highly competent. Lots of us are experts in our industry. But, lots of people are kind of like a best-kept secret. I talk about this a lot in my work as well, and if no one knows about you, it’s a word of mouth, and the way that opportunities come is often as a result of having relationships and having people think about you when they have an opportunity that they’re trying to fill. So, getting to a place where you have people that trust you and know you and are comfortable with you and like you and are thinking of you, how can listeners make that connection? Break it down for us. What shall we do?
Michael: I always say likeability has more upside than capability. I don't mean to say that you don’t need to be capable. I use the phrase likeable expert. So, the capability – and we’ll talk about that as well – and people believing you’re good, absolutely important. The thing is, and the reason I think there’s more upside on the likeability side, is it’s really hard for people who don’t do the work you do to actually know how good you are. For example, you know have no idea how medically capable your own doctor is, or your attorney or your auto mechanic. You assume they’re good enough and frankly, if you’re not getting a heart transplant or something equally serious, anyone who went to medical school and did okay is probably good enough, technically. But if I ask, “Why do you like your doctor, or why do you like a co-worker?” a lot of it has to do with this likeability stuff, which again, when I was in a big company, it never even occurred to me that that was something I should pay attention to. Had it occurred to me, I never would have said anything or acted in an explicit way because I would have been concerned I’d be dismissed as not professional.
Again, what I found is, doing stuff to be likeable is sort of the oil in the engine. Because I can tell if I like you or not. I can’t ell if you’re good at accounting or not. Again, I pushed it off for a long time, because it’s not serious and it’s soft, it’s hard to measure. It’s all this stuff I had been trained not to pay attention to in my business school background and my time in corporate America, but now it’s become the thing I help people with, because I find that it really does move you along. Relationships really make a huge difference.
Halelly: I really am glad you made that point about how it doesn’t absolve you from knowing what you’re doing. I talk about this too. If you are really good at marketing yourself as great or as making a great impression, and then you come in and people realize you’re an empty shell, or your package is full of rotten stuff inside, that stuff is going to come out really fast and it’s going to be part of your brand going forward. Because those people are going to communicate that disappointment to as many people as they can. So you must have both, but it’s the people that only focus on, “I’m just going to do a great job and I will be discovered.” That’s the people that are missing this special key.
Michael: I worked under the illusion that everything was merit-based. I think a lot of people do because as you come up through high school and college and if you go to graduate school, it kind of is merit-based. You’re taking tests and based on that you move along and it’s not that much about the relationship stuff. At least that wasn’t my experience. Then again, as I moved in a company, where people do see you work everyday, it seemed to be very kind of fair in who was better, but what I wasn’t doing was try to market myself. I don’t mean in some kind of creepy way. But, I wasn’t explicitly trying to think about how do I demonstrate that I’m good? Now, when I left and went off on my own, I suddenly realized that out here, where we’re not all working in the same company and you’re trying to get hired by people who don’t know you, their decision about who is expert and who isn’t, it’s not really reality based. Again, not to say, as you said, you can’t be like an empty shell. When you’re competing with people who all have a lot of the same skills and qualifications, it comes down to why does somebody think in your company that you are better than somebody else? I’ve found a couple of things that both in companies and out I find make a difference in terms of my belief that you’re an expert. I should also say that the word expert kind of gives people the chills a little, like, “Oh, I’m not an expert. I don't feel right.” It’s not like you’re going to walk around saying, “I’m an expert.” But it is, what are you doing to show expertise so I think you’re good?
Halelly: Yeah, so tell us!
Michael: One is, being narrow in what you’re known for. It’s important to be responsible and nice and reliable and all that, but if you can become known for a particular thing – and I’ll give you a story example in a minute – it can really move you ahead. That may be you’re really good at presenting, so you’re the person they go to when there’s a pitch to a client. You’re really good at resolving conflict. You’re really good at working with a particular type of person or maybe a problem type of person. You’re the one to go to. It’s like, what can you do so that in your company, we go to you for this? It’s not all you do, but it’s a particular expert thing.
Here’s the example. 20 years ago, when I had a job, people didn’t have computers on their desks. It seems weird now, but when computers first began, they were not something you sat in front of all day like we do today. If you even had a computer in your office, it was probably on the side credenza and maybe you would use it when you were doing budgets or presentations. But it wasn’t a thing. The thing is, I loved computers when they first came around, like early 90s when you could buy a personal computer. So I had a computer in my office before really anybody else did that I worked with. I got very comfortable with Word and Excel and all of that. I worked for the cable company and one day the regulations changed, in terms of what we were allowed to charge, and it required this very archaic calculation, based on a number of factors, and we had to do it for every town we operated in. My division operated in 500 towns, and each one had its own regulation in terms of the calculation. So, it was all being done by hand, by our finance department. I was able to use Excel.
So I remember, I went to my boss and said, “Tell me what you want to change, I’ll do it right in front of you,” which he thought was unbelievable. And, as we were able to make these changes on the fly, so out of the 500 towns we controlled maybe 80 of them, word quickly spread that we had figured something out. In the matter of just about a week, I was in all of these high-level meetings in the company, because I was the only one who could work the machine. So I remember sitting, I was sort of a mid-level person, and I was sitting there with the President of the company as they ran through various scenarios. It gave me incredible visibility with all these people, because this was about a six-month process to go through. I’m in these meetings and I’m going out to dinner with them at the end, because I’m there and why not and all that. About a year later, my division gets absorbed into another division. A lot of people lost their jobs. Me too, my position was eliminated, but I fell right back in with one of those people I met. It was interesting because the expertise was what gave me that visibility, but then the relationships that I created as a result of that is what ended up giving me a job. And, I realized, “Wow, this is really what made the difference for me,” simply because I had fallen into this guy who knows how to use Excel thing.
Halelly: So you stepped up, you spoke up and offered your expertise, and made yourself a more visible candidate that way, and then it sounds like you had opportunities to connect with people that were presented only as a result of that. But, it also sounds like – and I don’t think you described this very much – but I bet there was more work you had done to maintain those relationships in the interim, so that when jobs were eliminated, you were on their mind as someone to keep?
Michael: Not as well as I should have, because that’s the thing. When that project ended, I went back to my office and that was it. Had my division been blown away maybe three years later, maybe I would have lost the connections. I was not in any way conscious of thinking, “Wow, the President of the company knows me on sight. I should make sure I connect with that guy more often.” Didn’t think of that, but that’s exactly right. That’s the thing I would recommend to people.
The first thing on the expert is, what can you be sort of slightly famous for in your company? It’s got to be more than, “I’m a good guy and a team player and I’m bright and reliable.” Again, that’s the price of admission. What do you want to be known for? That’s going to make a difference. The second thing I think in the expert world is, what can you do to create content? That might be, again, it depends on the company you’re in, so you may not have the ability to write a blog and all of that. But, can you give presentations inside and outside of the company at events and conferences? Can you comment on things you see – other people posting articles on LinkedIn? It’s like you need more visibility in a way that demonstrates you have some expertise and knowledge and, frankly, point of view. And you don’t have to be the one creating original content. Commenting on other people’s stuff is good as well. I find a lot of people who have a job are doing their job and that’s their focus, but they’re not thinking about how do I get the next job? How am I visible to people outside the company who maybe want to hire me? And the content creation piece, however you do it, is a real differentiator. People get a chance to see how you think, beyond just the group of people you work with everyday.
Halelly: And the opportunities for that now are just growing immensely. There are so many more avenues for sharing content than there used to be. You don’t have to be connected to someone who does the printing of the company newsletter. You can just type stuff up on the intranet for that company within the firewall, or you can write an article on LinkedIn as an article you publish. Anyone can do that, or like you said, comment on what other people create or you can join forums or discussion boards where you’re helpful, or even there’s sites likes Quora. I don’t know how many people are familiar with that, I don’t know if you suggest this to folks, but Quora.com is a place where people go and ask questions, and then people answer, and then people vote you up or down based on your answers, so it’s a great way to get visibility that way too.
Michael: And you don’t have to be, people think you have to be the senior vice president of the whatever division. It has to be Harvard Business Review. That’s great. But anyone, as you said, can do this right now. The thing is, you have to come up with a bit of a plan for yourself. I don’t think it has to be crazy goals that you write down everyday – unless you’re into that – but even something as simple as once a week, twice a week, I’m going to comment or create something publicly viewable. Because it’s a cumulative thing. It’s not like you’re going to write one comment or one thing or even one post and great stuff is going to rain down on you. It’s something that occurs over time, and again, you’re distracted by the realities of your job everyday. If you don’t create a little plan, it’s easy to just do nothing. I go to plenty of people’s LinkedIn pages, if I meet somebody, and I look at their activity and it was 2015 was their last post.
Halelly: And it was probably when they were looking for a job.
Michael: You know what, that’s a key piece. You don’t want to wait until you need the job or you need the relationship to build it. You want to, as they say, build your boat before it starts raining. It’s kind of the same thing.
Halelly: Absolutely. And build it by giving, rather than by asking, so that when you do need something like you said, when you are in a position where you have to make an ask, it’s always on the back of tons of give.
Michael: Yeah, I have to say, I throw around this term likeability all the time, and it’s worth clarifying – when I say likeability, I’m not talking about Joe over in accounting who is really good at accounting but everybody hates him, we’ve got to fix him. That’s not my department. I’m talking about something that’s much broader and more fundamental which is the vast majority of people are likeable in their everyday life. You’re nice to people, your neighbors, your friends, but somehow when we get in a business setting, we behave differently. We don’t include as much of the personal stuff. We do things you wouldn’t do to your neighbor, in terms of the way you make deals, the way you treat other people. So, it’s not super negative really. It’s just missing this kind of human element. What I’ve found is that makes the difference.
For example, do you do things in your organization to help people who can’t help you? Everyone is trying to be nice to the guy who is two levels above you. That’s nothing. But are you doing anything to help the person who is two levels below you? Who can’t help you? Because I’ve found that the people who are not in a position to help you, that you help – give them advice, give them time – they remember you, and some of those people are going to go and become important people. We’ve all got the email from the person who says, “Hey, I just got laid off. Here’s my resume. Let me know if you know anybody.” And everybody is just inclined to hit delete. I talk to those people. Because I know how it feels. They’re lonely, they don’t know what to do, they’re worried. I make it a point to see if I can help that person, partly because it’s a nice thing to do, but I have to say I also know that guy is going to remember me. Because so few people are going to take the time. I think of likeability as these little actions you take on a daily basis that are going to move your reputation along as a person that other people want to be with. Because as you said, it’s a word of mouth world, and it’s something you want to actively think about. When it’s your time to get a job or get a promotion or whatever, you want to have people who are talking about you and helping you in the background.
Halelly: So do you have a way of breaking this down, or a formula, or some kind of a process, to help people maybe wrap their brain around this or put it into something that’s more concrete and actionable? Because I feel like everything we’ve talked about, everybody probably has the “duh” factor about, in some way. Like you’ve heard it before, you know about it, but you don’t really, like you said, you get busy and you don’t really do it. How do you help people get over that hump? What’s a good way to do it?
Michael: First off is, you have to be systematic. Different people have different levels of systematic, but you can’t just leave this to chance. One of my favorite questions to ask people is, “What do you do to stay in front of the people you already know, in a deliberate way?” And the answer is always, “Nothing.” I get on Facebook, I get on LinkedIn, but I don’t have a real approach. My entire marketing philosophy for myself and my clients is, focus on the people you already know. So, I don’t care if you Google solo professional marketing and find me. That’s great. My marketing approach, from a newsletter to people who have signed up to deliberate emails to people I know to say, “Hey, how are you?” is focused on the humans on earth I already have a connection with. Most of us though, maybe even work with someone for five years, they leave the company, and never talk to them again. I try not to let that happen.
The first step is, try to get a handle on who you know. My definition of who I know is, if I emailed them or called them, I wouldn’t have to introduce myself. I find the average person knows, 400 or 500 people like that. You may know 2,000, but something like that. Then try to come up with an approach where you’re staying in front of them. For example, I send 15 emails a week. I have a little tick sheet. I like paper. 15 emails. Where I would just, again, I just connected with a guy I worked with 20 years ago who I had lost track of, and I saw him go by on LinkedIn. “John, how are you doing? I’m doing this. What are you doing? Let’s get together for coffee.” There’s nothing he can do to help me that I’m aware of, but I’m keeping the relationships alive. Anyone can do that. Come up with a number like that – two a day, one a day, whatever it is – and try to do it on a systematic basis. It’s sort of like exercise. You can’t just do it every once and a while. You can’t just do it when you’re feeling fat and then not do it for three weeks. If you want it to work, you do it all the time. Same thing. There’s that, the reaching out to the people you know.
The second one, which again, you’ve got to think it’s so “duh” but nobody does it so it’s a great tool. I send one handwritten note a week to somebody. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’re this week’s lucky winner. And it sounds like who cares, but you know what, the open rate on a handwritten note is 100 percent. You’re not throwing that in the garbage! No one gets real mail anymore, so if you get a note in the mail, I’ve had people call me up to thank me for my little thank you note. That’s the weirdest thing. But you know what? That’s 50 a year. I have been in client’s offices and seen my thank you notes pinned on the bulletin board. So what can you do to have an impact? I like the thank you part, because it's usually easy to think of that. Somebody did something for you.
It doesn’t have to be business related. I mean, part of this, also, I have to say is don’t be so mercenary about it. Again, the guy I just ran into from 20 years ago, I’m not trying to figure out how he’s going to get me a job. It’s just connection, connection, connection. Try to make friends, not how is this guy going to lead me to her to lead me to the job? It’s very hard to figure out and I don’t believe it’s necessary. It’s like if you can just plant enough seeds, some of them turn into trees. But you have to do it on a regular basis.
Halelly: I don’t know if you find this, but I find that sometimes, the opportunities that come because of a relationship come at the most unpredictable times and from the most unpredictable people. In other words, you put the seeds in the ground and you just never know what’s going to pop out.
Michael: The biggest client I ever had in my 18 years working on my own was the direct result of a guy who sent me an email because he was – I’ll spare you the long story – but he was having a terrible day. He sent me an email and I sent him an email back that said, “Hey, sorry to hear things are so tough. I hope they get better.” I come to find out a year later that the reason they picked me over a bunch of much more qualified vendors was that this guy went out of the way to make me the guy they picked.
Halelly: Cool, that’s a great story.
Michael: The thing that’s interesting to me about it, you usually can’t see what’s going on in the background. And I think actually that’s why so many people don’t do this. It takes time, it’s hard to measure, and we’re all in love with the big bang. You do a thing and it goes fireball. That’s great, but again, I use the exercise metaphor all the time. It’s sort of like if you said it’s my high school reunion this weekend and I’d like to lose 20 pounds, I can’t help you. But if you said it’s in six months and I’d like to lose 20 pounds, we can guarantee it’s going to happen as long as you work at it. So there’s this element in relationship marketing of showing up everyday. You need a little plan. Again, I focus on the relationship building, the helping other people, and this likeability stuff, but it adds up. That’s what’s so amazing.
Halelly: I like it. What I think I’m hearing is that in this case, actually, it’s being strategic but not goal directed in a transactional way. You’re focusing on the activity, not really thinking about what results will this specific activity yield? You don’t actually try to connect the dots, necessarily, because you know that the connection may be very indirect, it may take a very long time, or it may never happen. But overall, if you engage in this habitual activity, the strategy that you’re pursuing will come through.
Michael: Yeah, I think a lot of it is because you can’t connect the dots. It’s like you’re standing on first base, trying to see around the corner to home plate. You can’t see it. In fact when I say to people, I have this discussion with clients about staying in front of the people you already know, let’s cut a list of people you want to connect with. Almost everyone comes back with a list of prospects. I’m like, “No, I’m talking about your high school, your college roommate and the guy you used to work with and the neighbor across the street. You don’t know who is married to who and who might lead to something.” So, stop worrying about that. You can’t figure it out. What you want to do is, how can I maximize real connections. I’m not talking about mass producing stuff or pretending to be somebody you’re not. The opportunity, I think, particularly in a world that’s so digital and become so impersonal despite all the communication devices we have, is trying to connect with people on a real basis.
The other thing I do, by the way, in addition to the one thank you note a week, one face-to-face meeting a week. Coffee or lunch. That’s a pain, I live 25 miles outside of Boston. I’m in the sticks here. For me to go in somewhere and see somebody and take half a day, but you know what? I’ve had all kinds of business that came from somebody I had coffee with, who told somebody. So there’s a certain leap of faith. But it does come around.
Halelly: Let me ask you – we have to wrap up soon and I could talk about this with you forever – so one quick question, just to concretize that a little more. You just made the distinction that you don’t have to try to think of someone who could be a prospect and so forth, but is there some criteria that you tell people to use when choosing whom to connect with, where to spend their time, and especially for that extra time? Like you’re going to go meet with someone. I understand they don’t need to be someone you’re trying to sell something to right now. But, if you just haphazardly met with any person who came across your radar, time is finite.
Michael: Right. So you have to, yes, at some point you do have to limit it. But I don’t find that’s the issue for most people, that I’m having lunch with so many people everyday. I would say, though, that’s the difference between marketing and selling. Yes, when there’s a potential client who is a legitimate prospect, there’s things you’re going to do deliberate with that person. What I’m saying is, we’ve got this sphere of people, these contacts we’ve made in our lives that we constantly make and lose, and then make and lose. And what I'm saying is, try and keep these things alive, as best you can. So yeah, you’re going to make some kind of connection – this guy is not worth my driving into Boston for. I’ll see if I can get him to come out my way, as opposed to somebody who may be is “more important.” But, again, what I find is most people find, “Can she help me? No, I’m not wasting time with her. Can that guy who just called me because he’s thinking of getting in my industry, who I’ve never even heard of, and says, ‘Can I buy you a cup of coffee,’ and I’m not even answering that guy’s call because you can’t help me.” I talk to everyone of those guys. Again, I don’t know how they’re going to help, but it comes back around. I mean, it’s amazing, but I’ve never made an outbound cold call in my entire life working on my own. My entire business is inbound, because I stay in front of people. The same thing can work in your company, that you become known as a person who is expert and likeable, and the opportunities come to you. For better or for worse, it’s not a merit-based world we live in. It’s very subjective.
Halelly: Totally. I share that same thing with you. I’ve never made a cold call, ever. I’ve been in business for 12 years now and it’s all been through relationships and putting your stuff out there. So very cool. Okay, we’re going to wrap up with one specific action, but before that, very quickly, what’s new and exciting on your horizon Michael?
Michael: Well, I have this new book which I’m very excited and proud of. I’m most proud that it’s square, which I really like. But I deliberately made it in a way so that these 121 things, each one lives on its own page, so it’s a very quick read. And so I’m still in the excitement phase of a book, which I find lasts, if you’re lucky, like a year. I carry them around and hand them out to people, and that’s it.
Halelly: Congratulations. It’s an accomplishment to have a book out in the world, like your baby. So, we’ll link to it in the show notes for sure, and everybody can go grab your own copy of it. So, what’s one specific action that listeners can take today, tomorrow, this week, that can help them ratchet up their own likeability and or success as an expert?
Michael: When I work with people one-on-one or in my group courses, I give them the same assignment. Everyday, for the next 30 days, send one handwritten note. To anyone. Not the same person. Somebody you know, thank them, say hello. I guarantee you it will lead to something positive. I’ve had people get hired as a result of that, rekindling old relationships. It can feel a little awkward at first, but I'm telling you, it’s like the only thing you can do that I guarantee you will result in something positive. I’ve had people get so hooked on it that they keep doing it. But, 30 days. If that’s too much, go for one month, that’s 20 work days. One a day, come in, write it, you don’t need fancy stationary. There’s something very nice and tangible too about dropping a card in the old fashioned mail. That’s my suggestion.
Halelly: Cool, and like you said earlier, it’s a differentiator because very few people do it. I like it. Very actionable. Michael, thank you so much. How can people stay in touch, learn more about you and from you?
Michael: I have a page I set up just for your listeners at MichaelKatz.com/talentgrow. And they can get part of my book as a free download, a bunch of tools that I use and recommendations, my newsletter is there. So that’s all there for anyone who wants to check it out.
Halelly: That’s great. Thank you. How convenient, I love it. I will definitely link to it from the show notes page and I thank you so much for your time, Michael, today in sharing some of your insights and wisdom with the TalentGrowers community.
Michael: Lots of fun. Thanks for having me.
Halelly: Okay, so what did you think? Lots of insights, a lot of things we’ve talked about in the past when we talked with people like Dorie Clark and with Larry Gioia back in episode 4. Lots and lots of my guests have made similar points in the past, which is just to say this is important. And I love his actionable tip. I definitely think that you can do what Michael just suggested, and I challenge you to do it.
I also challenge you to sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t yet. It is so easy to do. All you have to do is fill in on the show notes page your email and your name if you choose to, you don’t even have to do that. And then voila, in your inbox every single Tuesday morning, you will have the latest episode of the TalentGrow Show and a tip from me and/or other actionable insights and news. It’s always short and kind of informal and easy to read. Not a long thing. And I really would love to keep in touch with you, and of course with that comes the free guide that I created just for listeners of the show called The 10 Mistakes That Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them. So definitely go over there and sign up. That’s on the show notes page, and I hope to see you on the next episode of the TalentGrow Show. I am Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow, and I thank you for listening. Until the next time, make today great.
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