Coffee in the Barn

5. Networking like a Boss with Ashley Owens Part 2

March 10, 2022 The Sunswine Group Season 1 Episode 5
Coffee in the Barn
5. Networking like a Boss with Ashley Owens Part 2
Show Notes Transcript

Regardless of the work you do, or the job that you're in, networking is a key determining factor that really levels up your success.

In this two parts episode,  networking expert Ashley Owens from Ashley Assists will teach us the secrets on how to grow your network from a tactical and strategical perspective like a boss.

What You’ll Learn

  • Keys to expanding your network
  • How to start a conversation in the business world
  • Setting goals
  • How to communicate effectively and more!


About our Founder:

Casey Bradley Ph.D. is an Experienced Animal Scientist and Nutritionist that has worked with swine, poultry, ruminants, and pets. Specialties include product development, technical writing, and presentations, research, technical sales, mentoring, and networking. Academic training includes nutrition, immunology, and animal wellbeing. She has presented at large conferences in USA, Canada, Greece, and Denmark. Work experience includes farm management, research management, technical service and sales, regulatory, project management, and employee management.

About the Guest:

Ashley Owens is a networking concierge and the founder of Ashley Assists, LLC, her business for consulting with professionals and businesses to create strategic partnerships and assist in networking events and business development. With Ashley’s network and expertise, she turns leads into new business and identifies networking opportunities that range from events, groups, and communities. Similar to a concierge service, these tasks are all customized to specific networking challenges and needs.

Let’s Connect!

●     LinkedIn 

●     Facebook

●     Instagram 

●     Youtube


Enjoying the Show?

●     Share, like, and subscribe on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube!

●     Schedule your ‘’Free Next Steps’’ to help you find the best path for you!

●     Find out more on our website!

Continental Search
Great People, Great Careers.

Nutriquest
We answer real-world problems. We innovate for productivity.

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.
We apply science and creativity for a better world.

Caroline

Yeah, I think my question was more towards the people who are not very open. Sometimes is so hard to have a conversation with them because they're not willing to open up or talk. So I'm usually making questions but at some point, you get tired of like, yes-no answers.

 

Ashley

I would go into that conversation knowing that the majority of the people that you will be talking to are going to act like this, right? They're not very open. But if you go into that conversation, understanding that the value that you like, or at least the goal that you have is to answer a few questions on X y&z. You need to start thinking about how to cater to other people's personalities a little bit. Give them the opportunity to expand more on certain things, and they just need to be asked different questions. There's going to be a lot of troubleshooting, pulling information on people. But I think that the way and we can talk about some of the questions that you can ask a little bit more open-ended, go in there with expectations of ‘’I want to ask this person and get x y&z’’. So they are not set up for failure, essentially.


Casey

I think it's also maybe how you sometimes ask the question you ask them a yes-no answer.

 

Caroline

For instance, very simple questions like how were your day? for instance, and they just said fine. And then you're like, is the is an open question, but as the answer just was one word.

 

Ashley

I hate to tell you love, but that's a very closed-off question. If you can say you know, ‘’what is your day look like today?’’ Like, what have you been working on?'' What kind of projects have you been working on today?’’ That's more of an open-ended question. Instead of just saying, ‘’Hey, how were you know, how's your day going?’’ Fine. Why would I want to be open? I understand where you're coming from. So on this slide here, these are DMBC. These are deep, meaningful business conversation questions. These are the kinds of questions you should be able to ask somebody to really identify the meat and potatoes of their business. At the end of the day, like you guys know your group's introversion. The reason why people who are introverts are so much better at networking is that one-on-one is very, very important. You guys are very thoughtful of things that come out of your mouth. You're very thoughtful at emails, and I'm talking about what comes out it has there's thought behind it. I just word vomit. Okay, that you guys are so much better at networking, because you take the time to think of the answer, and it's thoughtful and intentional.

 

Casey

The huge value of what she just told you about being a scientist is how we're trained and everybody says introverts are negative sometimes, they have negative connotations, but scientifically trained, or introvert personalities, big win they're with what Ashley just told you. Now let's learn how to do it.

 

Ashley

My favorite, favorite clients are my introverts because the only difference between an introvert and an extrovert is the displacement event energy. I can go into a room, worker room, and feed off the energy and be at a high, you guys, who are more of the introverts will get physically tired from going into a room with a lot of stimulation. A lot of people and you gotta like to, you know, to I think was best. Yes, to beth’s point, you're gonna make a small talk and it takes so much of the surface kind of conversation to have and then you don't feel very authentic, which is not how you retrained, to combat that doing one on one conversations and learning how to navigate a conversation by 1.  screwing up sometimes is the best way to kind of pull that band-aid off or 2. recognizing what the actual intention behind why you're calling this person, and then using it as a challenge to see if you can get the answer from them. Now I'm not talking about going in say like ‘how'd you get started?’’ like that's such that's too much of an open question. But if you ask them, you know, when someone picks up the phone to call you, what problem are they having? Now you're asking the question, ‘’how do you fix a problem?’’ And so they can answer that however, they liked it. It's a little more thoughtful behind it. And plus, if you were asked, how was your day, I'm pretty sure you take fine and let it go from that. So if your questions don't provoke thought, they're going to feel like it's not worth their time to answer. Think of the questions that you would need to feel fulfilled in that conversation that you're having. But then also provide resources and tools to also help when you ask the question, How can I help you? Now, if you go into a conversation and say, ‘’How can I help you or let's have a chat’’ What you're really saying is, I did not take the time to think through what I can do for you, nor what you can do for me. Very much to these questions that we're talking about here, If you are going into the conversation, sometimes these people they have a very high dominant personality too but not externally, It's very much how they think. Bullet points, that's what I'm talking about, They prefer full points and fluff in an email. Sometimes going right into the conversation saying ‘’listen I am a fan of your work. I really believe in what you're doing. I have a few questions on how you get started. Could I have 15 minutes of your time?’’ and then you come up with questions that you're going to ask. You can even again, depending on this person's personality, you guys know better than I do, provide them the questions upfront and give them a chance to answer the email if they're hard to have a conversation with, or you haven't navigated yet. Don't give them a reason to say no you're providing all the resources and value you possibly can for conversation to somebody that you admire.


Casey

I think that goes into a little bit about what Jim said, you know, I think some of the best technical people out there it's not what you sold them today or recently. That's not how you should build your relationships, even as graduate students, you can be that solution person as a graduate student or subject matter expert, but if you're not asking the right questions as you said, What are your problems today? What are you working on today? You have no clue how you can bring value to them.

 

Ashley

Honestly, the best conversations I've had have been the ones where ‘’oh my gosh, I never even thought about that’’. Because conversation and brainstorming and different perspectives and different views will spark inspiration and different thought-provoking activities. So even if you feel like you've got nothing to value, of course you do. Everybody's different. Everyone brings something different to the table. You're not handing them anything, but you're providing a thoughtful conversation. And because all of you are introverts, you have that in your soul. In your bones. So use that triple down on those strengths that you have to have a very thoughtful conversation.

 

Casey

We're not all introverts, By the way. Let's say most scientists probably are on the introvert spectrum.

 

Ashley

Well, Siobhan, Morgan, and Jeff are my extroverts today because I only see their beautiful faces and you Case um, everybody else is an introvert on the call (laughs) clearly! Just kidding

 

Caroline

Sorry, I have another question. For instance, I don't know if it's because of my culture, I’m a Latina woman and we are a little bit open sometimes we crossed the boundary so like sometimes we like are too noisy. You know, like, we like to talk about our personal lives. I know like for instance, Americans are a little bit more reserved in some things, sometimes I like to start the conversation with some more getting to know you. I don't know if I'm crossing the limit of people's private lives. So for me, that was really hard I when I went to the US, I don't know what should be like normal (laughs).

Ashley

So the fact that you even bring this up shows me that you are deeply compassionate person. You should not have to change how you interact with somebody else when you genuinely care about that. Okay, so number one, that's a skill and a plus. Read the room or read the person. Hear what they have to say, as you continue to have these conversations, you're going to be able to understand or at least if you do like a zoom call, see if they shift in their chair, if it's a little bit too much, but the more casual you come at it,  you're making yourself vulnerable to be quite honest with you. And I think very much like you Caroline. So the reason why I put the first slide of just fun things about me. I'm very self-deprecating, which alleviates the pressure of people feeling like they have to, you know, they can't ask questions. I try to put humor into my presentation so people feel more comfortable about something that can be very, very scary, which is networking and putting yourself out there. I empathize with that which is why I try to make my environment as comfortable and fun as possible. Do the same thing with the people that you have the chance and the pleasure and the privilege to talk to people will typically mirror your energy. If you go into it and ask them ‘’Hey, what was the last time your uncle drank on Christmas?’’ You know, that's a little bit invasive, right? But if you ask it's funny, the goal would be I don't ever want you to change your personality by being genuinely interested in somebody else. What I would suggest you do is give them an example. Apparently, they're coming for me sorry you hear sirens out there (laughs)

 

Casey

I know where Caroline is coming from because I was very closed off too but I learned to be more like Caroline because ultimately, people buy from people so you need to connect with. We are all selling by the way you're all selling every time.

 

Ashley 

Alright, folks, we're gonna go into kind of tools and resources to kind of help you navigate the conversation. I'm gonna skip this slide for just a second just because this is more towards people who are in business. However, there's a tool that I really really really really like, especially because you guys are kind of talking about like talking to new people. This is something called Crystal Knows and what Crystal Knows does is that remember we were talking about like knowing yourself what kind of networker you may or may not be, this was really helpful for me to take something called the disk assessment and the disk assessment is an emotional intelligence assessment that allows me to see on paper on how I make my decisions. But it also allowed me to see like what I would never be good at. It showed me things to avoid whether in my new position or in a current position or wherever it may have been. So when I was searching for jobs, it gave me an idea of what I will always struggle with. So the reason why I like using that it allows to show you what kind of personality that person has and gives you ideas on how to communicate. And if I click on that, and I have to talk to Casey about something, or I had to call cases like make a sales pitch or negotiate schedule a meeting, and it gives you advice. Say this, dos and don'ts. It's a great way for me to coach my clients in case I ran this on this one I knew how I could communicate effectively with you because my personality can be a lot. But the goal would be especially if you're reaching out to HR managers, subject matter experts, mentors, gives you a little bit of extra oomph into communicating. It's called Crystal. Now for me so if you go back to Casey's portfolio, Casey is likely to be appreciated when others are stable, reliable cooperative. She's a supporter. Quick tip, appreciate the effort and offer support. It's gathering everything on the back end using AI to give a predicted disk profile and then it gives you great ways of being able to communicate with that person. As you get better at networking, you can start to see how to communicate with people with different personalities and troubleshoot through conversations. So for you Caroline this might be a good tool for you to kind of play around with if you feel like your communication style is making somebody uncomfortable. This will give you a way to kind of go into it feel more confident.

 

Caroline

Is that for free?


Ashley

No, this is a tool. I think it's like 35 bucks a month. But again it's just to use if you're really, really going out there and networking hard. But it's great to use if you want to use it for a month, and then just fire up a bunch of emails or conversation requests.

 

Caroline

Thank you.

 

Ashley

You're welcome. No questions on this. So the reason why I kind of brought up utilizing Crystal Knows again, communication sounds very important. But at the end of the day, guys, we're coming close into an end. You really just want to know yourself and know your audience. You really want to make sure that your name is memorable that you make your name memorable. How do you want people to perceive you when you leave the conversation or leave the room? What emotion do you want them to engage in? ‘’Oh, she was really wonderful, helpful, thoughtful. She identified great ways to help me with x y&z’’.  Maybe you can you know work on internship with her whatever it may have been. No plan your work, working your plan. Plan structured next step conversations, you have a good conversation with somebody, do not just leave it out in the open, and always, always, always, always follow up. Always follow up. If you take anything from this presentation, do not wait for them to follow up. You follow up with them immediately, after the phone call. Whether it's a recap of what you talked about why you talked about it all that jazz. You're the one that follows up.

 

Casey

We got a good question here.


Ashley

How do you find networking opportunities if you don't know where to look? (gasp) There's a really great website called Eventbrite and Meet up. And if you're looking at jobs or organizations that interest you, you want to follow the people that are of our importance on LinkedIn. Getting a good LinkedIn strategy is very helpful. Everybody, take this name down, Brynn Tillman. Brynn Tillman specializes in LinkedIn. She puts out so much content on how to build your profile, how to pay attention. She's wonderful and magnificent. You guys are going to get a private shared webinar that she and I did to give you an idea of how to navigate through LinkedIn. So you'll have that by the end of the conversation today. Look, you're looking for a community of weirdos. That's really what you're doing. Like if you're building a network, find a group and use different industry-related keywords within Meetup as well as within Eventbrite and start looking around, everything's virtual right now. You don't have to go anywhere and just start the conversation. Oh, and if you're in the Philadelphia area region, like many of you are, Ticket Leap also has local events too. So conferences, workshops, things like that. Most of them are free now, majority of these events are free

 

Casey

As I say, a lot I'm you're at university. So two, and universities bring a lot of good content. It's just trying to find it in think universities are getting better at sharing some of these side activities they're doing and graduate student organizations, your fellow graduate students at Area University are going to be a key network for you as you develop your careers. Start there. This brings up the mind as I mentioned last week, I don't have the final details. I'm not going to go Marissa splendor but we are going to create small network groups to help you work with a mentor mentee. Either graduate student level or you know early professional we're gonna try to set those groups up as long as I get enough mentors to help and that'd be a good way for you to practice

 

Ashley

Case, I’ll be happy to be a mentor if you want me to join groups.


Casey

And that I also want to say, I think this goes back to I think most of you know, Ashley's been my coach, right? If we're young professionals on this call, or even graduate students, if you have the money in your budget, look at getting coaches to invest in yourself, had a lot of conversations about mentoring programs and different things, but I remember signing up for our program paying for it myself. My boss is like, ‘’why did you pay for it? The company would have paid for it’’. And I'm like, ‘’Sure, well, here's the price’’. He goes, ‘’Well, maybe the company wouldn't have paid for it’’. But if it's worth value for you, you'll find the money you'll invest in yourself courses. If you want to learn a new trait. Don't wait for somebody to invest in you. You have to invest in yourself and hiring coaches is probably one of the best things I've done for myself personally and professionally. Kind of think about that, you know, maybe it's not right this year, or next year, but you know, make a budget for when you start your careers of how much are you going to invest in yourself is that four books you read four different books a month or do you take these courses on intellectual things, personal development and plan that into your budgets as you start your career is that I'm going to invest so much into my professional or personal development every year and budget for it.

 

Ashley

But also shop around. There are some idiots out there that are coaching. They have to be a good fit for you personally. And don't let anyone ever weasel you in a bind something that you're not 100% okay with. Also there are great tools online called Teachable and Trainable and things like that where they give out are these amazing coaches give out these training programs without working with them directly one on one, so look at your options, but also very muchas Casey’s point, invest in yourself. I may not be a good fit for you. But I sure as hell know people that might. Do yourself a service and make sure the things that you want to get better in you get a coach or mentor or you utilize a community that can help you get there, because it's not going to be taught to you that university.

 

Casey

What could really be the reason when people you are trying to network with never replies to your mails, email.

 

Ashley

That is a common law of life. They won't respond. They may not be interested in, okay. My last thoughts is to remember guys, you are valuable, your time is valuable and the things that you do and the skills that you have are valuable. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise, don't ever let anyone make you feel like who you are is not valuable. It took me a long time to recognize that I was enough. And in this competitive world going out through jobs, you are enough. And the things that you say are enough, and the values that you keep are enough. Change how you interact with people if you need to, define the job, but don't ever feel that you aren’t enough because at the end of the day the people that you have in your corner are going to advocate for you and they're going to help you recognize that you are enough.

 

Casey

Thank you, Ashley.

 

Ashley

I'm glad you guys had fun I had fun it's a Friday you know everyone is gonna hang out. And guys we can talk about whatever you want to doesn't have to be networking could be entrepreneurship, it could be had to start a business it can be women in business, it could just be Marvel comics like whatever you want. I’m a plethora of knowledge on random things That don't make sense. (Laughs)