Discover Your Networking Style with Michelle Tillis Lederman

Discover Your Networking Style with Michelle Tillis Lederman

“I go through life thinking about how I can be somebody who gives because I want to and because I can, and without that expectation. I’m also somebody who’s willing to receive, and I give myself permission to ask.” - Michelle Tillis Lederman 

Have you been networking to build your career and influence, but you aren’t seeing the results you want? The problem could be that you haven’t identified, or you aren’t acting according to your own specific networking style. Today’s Brave By Design guest is a true “people expert”, and she is here to share her knowledge and practical solutions for solving this issue. 

Michelle Tillis Lederman is an accomplished speaker, trainer, coach, and author of four books including The Connector’s Advantage, The 11 Laws of Likability, Heroes Get Hired and Nail The Interview – Land The Job. Named by Forbes as one of the 25 Professional Networking Experts and also a former NYU professor, financial executive, and recovering CPA. She teaches from experience and shares what she learned during her extensive career. Michelle’s clients range from government to academia to non-profit to Fortune 500 companies including; Madison Square Garden, Citi, Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University, Columbia Business School, Target, Sony, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and The Museum of Modern Art.

Michelle received her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School, and her coaching certification from the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching and the International Coaching Federation.

Connect with Michelle: http://www.michelletillislederman.com/

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linkedIn.com/in/LauraKhalil

Get on Laura’s Newsletter:

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Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • Networking versus connecting, and the common misconceptions around both [2:22]

  • Some good news for introverts wanting to maximize their networking efforts [5:02]

  • What Michelle says is “the dance” between introverts and extroverts [9:01]

  • The Connection Spectrum Quiz, explained [12:06]

  • What the 7 key mindsets around networking are, and why it’s so critical to be aware of each of them [18:54]

Additional Links & Resources: 

Her Connector Quiz & Networker Quiz

All of Michelle’s Books 

Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Michelle Tillis Lederman :

I go through life thinking about how can I be somebody who gives because I want to and because I can and without that expectation, I'm also somebody who's willing to receive and I give myself permission to ask.

Laura Khalil :

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host, Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking bait, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Everyone, welcome to this episode of brave by design. We are going to have so much fun today talking about something that most people do not understand. Okay. That is about how we network how we connect how we build our influence and impact and guess what I have brought the expert on. to talk to you about it without further ado, let me introduce to Michelle Tillis Letterman, one of Forbes top 25 networking experts. She is the author of four books, including the internationally known the 11 laws of likability, and her latest the connectors advantage. Michelle is a connection creator and CEO of executive essentials which provides customized communications and leadership programs for Fortune 500 nonprofit University and government clients. A former finance executive and NYU Professor why the show she is a regular in the media appearing on nbc cbs Fox, NPR, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC and others all in macro. Michelle is known for helping people work better together and advance their individual impact. Michelle,

Unknown Speaker :

welcome to brave by design. Thank you and I love your energy that was like, just so much fun to listen to

Laura Khalil :

Like, we just have to have fun. You know, here's the thing about the show. I only bring on people I'm excited to bring on. And that's the truth. So, you know, I'm excited to hear about you. And I think our audience is going to be really excited about today's topic. But let me start here because we're going to talk about how we connect and how a network but let's talk about this sort of elephant in the room, which is sometimes networking can sort of be seen as a four letter word it can be seen as really slimy. And like I'm a you know, sent used car salesman. No, no offense to the used car salesman listening, I'm sure none of you, but you know what I'm saying like people kind of like feel gross about it. And can we just like talk about that? Why do people have networking? so misunderstood?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

So glad you brought this up because I actually a little secret. The subtitle to my first book is relationship networking because people do business people they like their relationships relationship networking piece was not originally in the subtitle. The publishers made me put it in SEO and search ability. Like you have to avoid networking there. I'm like, but I hate that word. It has the word God. Wow.

Unknown Speaker :

It has the word work in it.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

And I'm like, that's not really what it's all about. He's like, what is it all about, like relationships. And so we compromised. And I came up with this idea of relationship networking, which is how I want people to shift the thinking because of all that yucky news, car salesman, slimy, manipulative, fake, you know, user, all those words that I hear about how people feel about doing it. But if we shift to a relationship networking approach, it will be any of that, and we won't feel any of that. So I think it's understanding, you know, moving from this idea of networking, and that's kind of why I wrote the follow up book, the connectors advantage, because it takes us to that place of being a connector and networking is something we do, but a connector is who you are.

Laura Khalil :

Oh my god. Tell me more. Michelle. What does that mean? I love

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

it. So a connector, somebody who prioritizes relationships in everything that they do in their approach to work in their approach to business, people, friends, every interaction in putting a focus in a priority on the relationship in that interaction in that exchange. And when we do that, all the other things will follow. We don't think like, okay, now I'm going to flip the switch. And now I'm going to network. And let me I mean, I have to laugh here. This is just a small smattering of the business card graveyard that I could pick up in that quick moment. And it's not about let's hand out on the cards and collect me cards. It's about connecting conversation in a moment, finding our follow up, and actually following up and moving from conversation to connection. And we do that through these mindsets and, and when we embody those mindsets and those attributes of a connector. It don't feel slimy.

Laura Khalil :

Now does this work? Okay, so anticipating there are some people who are listening to this and saying, Okay, that sounds good. But I'm an introvert. I get nervous around people. I don't like to be around people. And maybe I can agree with you. What do you say to the introverts or the people who are a little shy to put themselves out there?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

Can I tell you that most of my audiences, I do so much work in it, I marry it. So I, I have good news for introverts and I actually wrote a section of the book called good news for the introverts. And in this book, I wrote a section of a book called The interest edge. And what introverts to understand is networking connecting doesn't have to look a certain way. And it certainly doesn't have to look like the life of the party. You know, one of the mindsets that I talked about is being social and curious. But I want to be very clear on what I mean by that. I don't mean social butterfly. I do not mean life of the party, I do not mean the one who's conducting the conversation. Social means putting yourself in a position in a position In an interaction in which you can connect to somebody else, that's what I mean by social. And curious just means that you're willing to learn about somebody else. So think about how that looks for you and what that makes you look forward to. Right. So some people feel better on on virtual, which I know in recent times is the only

Unknown Speaker :

way that's what we're doing.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

But there's three advantages or edges I talked about with the introvert. First of all, they are great listeners, right? They make people feel heard, they ask probing questions, their curiosity is so ingrained in their ability to listen and to play off of that, I mean, that is foundational to connection and something goes extroverts, you know.

Unknown Speaker :

I might be one of those that we could learn from.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

The second is that introverts are best in the one on one right? They like the small group. They like the intimate interaction where there's not a whole crowd of people around. Well, that's where connection really happens. It doesn't happen in the big groups. So, that's another advantage. And the third is that introverts don't tend to be what I call off putting, and I'm not trying to insult the extroverts out there. But you know, as one I can understand that sometimes we can be a bit much. Yeah, I've literally had people like step back for me. You know, we can come on a little strong or just, you know, ton of take up all the breath in the room, sometimes, depending on how far I'm at your scale we might be and you know, so it can be polarizing. And what we can learn as extroverts is to take a page out of introverts book and to let somebody else speak first to take a breath to ask a question. And not always fill up all that silence.

Laura Khalil :

Wow, you know what, okay, this is so interesting, Michelle, because I know for a lot of people listening to the show their thing alaura is, you know, public speaker she's so outgoing. She's, you know, doing the show talking to people. I am actually a very serious introvert. All of the traits that you were just describing of the introvert, of listening of asking questions of being curious of preferring one on one, I'm like, check, check, check, check. I mean, it really, really hits home and I love how you have been able to take you know those traits of introverts and use them as an advantage.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

Absolutely. And look at what you are such a great example. Some of the best connectors I know are introverts. You're a great example of how to take our natural gifts and use them in a way to connect. You connect with people all the time through your show. Yeah, but you're doing it in a way that works for you. You are home. You are comfortable, right. You are in a one on one conversation where you get to ask questions, and you don't have to reveal as much about yourself which can sometimes make the introvert feels uncomfortable. So one tip I will give those introverts out there is, I believe in building on our strengths, and I believe in finding our way to do it. I also believe in stretching ourselves a little bit. So I just want you to go a little outside your comfort zone. So okay, Michelle, I'm ready. What do we do? Before we got on? I saw a picture of her with a dog. And she told me she has two dogs and I have two dogs. I just want to dive right in and be like, well, what kind of dogs do you have? So I want the introverts out there, and you included because you're gonna answer the question in a second about what kind of dogs you have. It's not too personal question, right? And so when we as introverts ask questions, we want to make sure that we're willing to share the similar type of information to the information we're seeking, so that we can do what I call the dance, listen, and probe listen and ask and listen and share and listen and tell.

Laura Khalil :

Now let me ask you this. Okay, so I have one dog. We actually used to have two in the house, but I have one. She's a Labradoodle. She's adorable. She looks like a muppet. So thank you for asking. Michelle, but one question I want to ask you is, I think that one of the things that really bothers introverts and I can say this bothers me, is when we inquire and we're really listening to the other person, but we do not feel that we are receiving back from them the same level of interest. And so is it on us to put ourselves out there and to say, well, and here's this thing about me, because some of us have a tendency to say, well, I'll wait for them to ask me about myself. So they don't.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

I mean, that's a really great observation. And I appreciate that because a lot of times the extroverts get blamed for doing all the talking, but somebody's asking the questions, and we're trying to answer them. And so the responsibility of both parties and interaction to do the dance, right, takes two to tango. So, when you are asking questions, you don't want me interrogating somebody, you don't want a machine have questions at them and then somebody doesn't have to ask What's next? What's next?

Laura Khalil :

I hear it's like you're Yeah, you're you're under interrogation. You know, the lights are on you. Yeah, nobody likes that.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

So, as an introvert, that might be our comfort zone to ask the questions. an extrovert knows how to answer them, we need to sometimes step out of that role. So whatever roles your tendency is towards make sure you're interspersing, the opposite. So I want the introvert to find a way to shift so instead of we're waiting for that question, you might say, Oh, that's an interesting answer. It made me think about this time when i dot dot dot, right, and so you intersperse jumping off of what you heard, you're showing you're listening and you are just kind of navigating that conversation so that you can get a share. I love it. And when you answer a question as an extrovert, what you might say is, well, what about you like it just do you feel similar? What did you think or I would love to get your take on that. You just Little and you goes along.

Laura Khalil :

And what about you? I absolutely love that. Now, I'd love for you to tell us more about let's sort of like zoom out for a second and talk a little bit about the profound effects that you've seen with your clients and community around connecting Can you tell us like a story of how this has impacted maybe a client of yours. And I really want people to see the value of doing this kind of thing.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

I always like to tell personal story. You know, a bit. Everybody out there is going to have as they listen to this story, I want you to think about your own story. Because if you think about something, you're proud, it was something you accomplished, whether it's getting a job or a promotion, or whatever it might be starting a business landing a client getting into a school, there are so many people we have to think along that way. And if you are standing, visualize yourself on that stage with that audience, holding that award that trophy of accomplishment, and you're giving your thank you speech. Now all the time. sudden all these people are flooding into your mind. And so we all have that I don't need to prove it to you through a story you prove it to yourself with that visualization. But you know, I can think about any accomplishment, my life. So like thinking about the books behind me. My first book, I actually went with American Management Association as a publisher, even though I had an offer from McGraw Hill. Oh, because I did training for the American Management Association. And I went upstairs and I introduced myself to the editor, and we became friends. And I wanted to work with the person I was going to be friends with. Yeah, and I chose a smaller publisher. My second book up here, you can't really see it, but it's called heroes get hired. It's a free book for veterans. And it was actually produced by NBC, NBC digital arm. It happened because my sister walked into a restaurant ran into her old boyfriend from middle school, who just happened to be the head of NBC Digital Publishing. What you Yeah. And so April, my sister's talking to Michael and he goes, and she said, my sister just wrote a book and he said, Get her in my office. On December 6, I had my meeting with Michael at NBC on the 26th floor. And he's like, well, I want to do something with your book. I said, Well, you can't. The publisher owns all the rights. I'll just write you your own book.

Unknown Speaker :

Oh, my gosh. And I was like, Oh my god, I just think

Laura Khalil :

now I have to do it. I go

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

into a brainstorm the book and they love the idea of helping veterans back into the workplace. Because I think over a five year period, a million veterans, a million servicemembers are reintegrating into the civilian workplace. And it's a really hard transition. Yes. And so we got the blue sky idea to give it away to veterans for free. So then I went to my clients, and Citibank when my clients funded the whole project. Wow. And so this is the you know, I mean, I'm telling you every story is about how we connect. And so we were able to produce this book with me bc with two veteran organizations with a cast of veterans. There's 20 videos integrated into the E book. And it's free.

Laura Khalil :

That's incredible.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

So that's what I'm talking about.

Laura Khalil :

I mean, you are like a super connector. Yeah.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

So it's interesting that you use that phrase. Because one of the things that I put together in the book in chapter three of the book is the connector spectra. Hmm. Tell us more everything from the non connector to the global super connector. Okay. And I actually have a quiz and I'll make sure you have it for your show notes where people can see where they fall on the spectrum. Oh, my gosh,

Laura Khalil :

I want to take this quiz.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

It's already out there that I'm making it really pretty. And by the time this airs, it's going to be on the website. And if you just go to my website, which we'll put up in the show notes, you'll be able to see where the quizzes

Laura Khalil :

So Michelle does this go from like one to seven and one is it sort of a scale of like from extreme connection all the way down funneling down to people who don't connect at all Is that how it works?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

So the seven mindsets are different from the levels of the spectrum. Gotcha. The ones that I think are the seven mindsets of the connector or the ways in which we think and embody these mindsets, okay, that are descriptive of how a connector behaves. Okay. Okay, those seven mindsets. Yeah. But let me explain the spectrum because the section is kind of four main levels. And then there's some special ones. Okay. So a non connector which is like, unless you are never going outside, never on the phone, never on the internet never, never want to have contact with anyone as a human being right? You're probably not a non connector.

Laura Khalil :

Okay? So that's Is that pretty uncommon?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

It's a pretty extreme, right, okay. At a minimum, if you at least a value relationships and understand the benefit of relationships in your life, to your health, your happiness to your professional success to your personal success, then you are at least emerging connector and there's one that understands that value, but hasn't necessarily been have the skills or starting to develop those skills. Okay? Now there's two levers that we pull to move our way up the spectrum. lever. Number one is the initiation or responsiveness of connections. So when we are responding to people asking for help responding to people who are being introduced to us, we are considered a responsive connector. So I act on it, but only if somebody else is doing the initiation. Gotcha. If we start to initiate, I initiate, hey, I gotta introduce you to so and so or, oh, you know, I have this thing that I think you would love. I'm trying to create value, I'm suggesting it. When I am doing a little bit more of that, I become an acting connector. And that's really, that's great. If we get to act and connector, be happy, you're good. Okay. Now, when we kind of play with the other lever, which is the breadth and depth of our connections, that's when we kind of go into the upper echelons is what I call it. So my sister is is a great example of what I call a nice connector, a nice connector who has somebody who has a depth of connection in a certain either geographic region in a certain industry in a certain job function, something like that. Like, for example, you might be a nice connector in the world of podcasting, right. I know all the podcasters

Laura Khalil :

Yeah, I can hook you up girlfriend.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

I know. I know. podcasters and all the different things you need in the world of podcasting. That's a niche, right? Yep. When you go not as deep but broad in terms of hierarchy, industry, geography, function, all of that, then that's when you are a super connector. And if you cross your country's borders, that's when you're a global super connector.

Laura Khalil :

Wow. Okay, so no matter what kind of connector you are, and we'll put the quiz up so you guys can find it. All of these connectors, they do embody these mindsets, you're going to talk about is that correct? Yes. Okay, tell us more about the mindsets. Okay, so there's

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

seven mindsets and then count them. So I see if I I can get them, okay.

Unknown Speaker :

I'm looking at them too. So I'll catch you if we,

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

if I can do that. I'll try to do it in order to make it like easy, open and accepting. Okay? They have a clear vision. They trust. They believe in abundance. They are socially curious. They're conscientious and they have a generous spirit.

Laura Khalil :

Good job. Nailed it girlfriend. I love it. I love that and you know, I love especially when you talk about they believe in abundance, because I think there's so many people who do come from more of a scarcity mindset who are afraid if I don't make this connection or it doesn't work out or they don't respond or I don't get what I quote unquote want out of it. That you know, that's it. And what am I going to do? And it's like, no, there's tons of people to connect with. There's tons of opportunities out there for you. If this one doesn't work out,

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

the doors wide open to other things I and I love all of them. But that just really just immediately hit me because I think people are afraid this is my only chance? Well, scarcity is scary. And the reason why this is actually one of the hardest mindsets, and it's one of the hardest ones for me personally, and I share my background in the book where I grew up, not the way I live. Now, let's just say. And when you have scarcity, whether it's scarcity of funds or scarcity of clients, or scarcity of whatever it is, it's real, it's tangible. We feel it, we feel the pain. And it influences us, pain is more influential than game. Wow. And so it drives our behavior at a ratio of 19 to one. So, if pain is driving our behavior, and we believe in this pain, it's very hard for scarcity now to drive our thinking, our decision making in our actions, coming from a place of abundance is what I, I strive for, and I have to continually practice it. It's almost like meditation, I have to practice the mindset of abundance. And I do that by practicing gratitude. I do that by you know, there's so many ideas within the book of thinking about how you kind of come from abundance. Because I've been in that place where a friend of mine landed this awesome client and I was like, I was jealous, right? Sure. It's okay now this moment, but it's how long you stay in those moments. And if you can shift yourself out of them, and I was able to say, you know what, I'm so happy for you. How did you do it? I need to learn from you. Well, there you go. And understand there is enough. Understand you are enough to compare yourself against other people. And really, I don't think of anybody as a competitor. I think everybody has a future partner.

Laura Khalil :

That Oh, I love that people. I hope you hear that that's really powerful.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

It's a really different mindset. Because, you know, and I sometimes look back at all the things I've done for people in my industry and connections I've made in the work that they've gotten out of it that I wasn't part of. And there's moments where I was like, Huh, no, I think let myself you know, not be a part of that. And then I thought, you know what, I created all this good. And, and that's that idea of a generous spirit because these mindsets are not isolated, right? the mindset of abundance enables a generous spirit. And, and vice versa.

Laura Khalil :

You know, one of the things I really do believe is you get what you give. And if you are always if you have a stranglehold on you know, your knowledge, your information, your gifts with the world and how you share them, and how you connect with people, you're just going to get that right back. And it's really hard for people to grow when they're always trying to grab what's mine, right?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

Yeah, so I want to give one twist to that idea. Because you say you get it back, but I want to think about it being exponential. And so I think of all this is very nonlinear. In somebody introduced us, and I can go look up figure out who it was, but I'm not sitting there going oh, I owe that person something cuz

Laura Khalil :

gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

But what I am doing is Thinking about who is the next person I can help? And if I go through life thinking about how can I be somebody who gives because I want to, and because I can and without that expectation, I'm also somebody who's willing to receive. And I give myself permission to ask. And that's hard. You know, even for me, it's hard to ask,

Laura Khalil :

and to receive for many women. And

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

I tell myself, I don't practice what I preach, you know? So I love that nature.

Laura Khalil :

I love that. And it's, you know, it's funny as you're talking, it's a really beautiful, like mindfulness practice as well. I mean, that's what I hear when you're talking is this beautiful mindfulness practice of being open to receiving being open to giving and to the beautiful abundance that is present for all of us on the planet if you choose to see life that way?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

You know, I don't want this to mean yes, but I don't want all of this to be like I have to be all that everybody else. Ah, the book is called the connectors advantage. And the advantage is that you are going to get results faster, easier and better. Right. And so what I'm saying is when you embody these mindsets, including all that great stuff, yeah, it happens. It does, as I said that exponential results. One of the mindsets is have a clear vision. And you need to know what you're working on what you want, what you're trying to accomplish, whether it's small, like, at one point, I was like, I just want to hit 100 reviews on my book. That was my goal. That was it. I hit 100 reviews. I'm really happy. I still want more now go for 200. So you are welcome. But it doesn't have to be a huge, big thing. Like one time it was I want to meet Michelle Obama. Did it happen? So I spoke to her Chief of Staff while she was in office. Cool. And I was told that she was made aware of the heroes get hired book, because veterans was wonderful causes so I didn't get to meet her or speak to her but I got one degree away. That is really clear. And people were like, well, I might be able to help you here and I know this person there. So. So my point is how clear vision what you're working on. I want you to go out there and say, What do you need? How can I help? Who do you want to know? And then most people with a connectors mindset will reverse that question and say, and you exactly,

Laura Khalil :

coming full circle to our conversation, that is the truth. They will and not everyone does that but people who get it will,

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

and you have to have an answer ready? Because if you want to get the connectors advantage, you need to know what your goals are. 100% Michelle,

Laura Khalil :

oh my god, we could just talk for hours girlfriend. I love this stuff.

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

This is a good one.

Laura Khalil :

This was a good one. Please let us know how can people find out more about you and more about your books and the connectors advantage?

Michelle Tillis Lederman :

Well, I love hearing from listeners and you have to tell me that you are on faster and The best place to start is on my website. It's Michelle with two L's Tillis ti Ll is Letterman led er ma n COMM And from there you can find my LinkedIn which is my favorite social media platform. And all the other ones are there to my YouTube channel on my blog, you'll find the quiz you can I give all this good stuff away and there's a link in the show notes about all the free giveaways like I get a chapter two, I think three of the four books behind me I give a video series I give because it is I got lots of stuff.

Laura Khalil :

I love it. Michelle, thank you so much for joining us on brave by design. Thanks for having me. I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date and I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery all that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave