Ask, don’t tell

Saying “I’m doing a couple of projects on Content, L&D, and Knowledge Management consulting now” is less effective than “do let me know if you knew anyone who needs help with their content strategy, L&D, onboarding, training, and enablement”.

Be more direct. even if you think it’s obvious, even when you knew they do have the need, and even if you’re using the right keywords to signal your interest, it might not “click” or lead to a lightbulb moment.

Telling people what you do, what you’re working on, and what you’re interested in are all good stuff. But these are just facts about you, and we know we are all self-centered beings.

So remember to add an extra layer of Ask to it and turn it into something about them. Make it concrete and actionable.

“I heard you’re looking for x, y, and z. I think I can help with that. Can we talk more about it? I want to learn more about what you’re dealing with there.

if you’re not yet confident or capable, it’s fine to start by being curious.

Being subtle and indirect will not flip a switch in many people’s heads because most of us think in How, then What, then Why, then Who (and usually it’s ‘me me me’).

Getting the words out is less useful than getting the ASKS out.

We tend to overestimate how much we fit into people’s way of seeing the world. Not many people see us as WHO pieces that can help with this and that, even when they’re the ones who personally need help with x y z, and even if (especially?) they’ve known us well — which is a good thing, we often want people to see us as a full person, not merely a piece in their chess game.

We’re usually good at soft selling but learning how to get comfortable promoting ourselves and at hard selling are useful sometimes.

So do yourself a favor and ASK.

Also published on Medium.

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