“So, what do you do?”

| connecting

I still have the hardest time with introductions, even more so now that I’m doing something… different. I’m not a chirpy entrepreneur who’ll dash off an elevator pitch for a technology startup as soon as someone so much as provides an opening. I’m not a consultant angling for a lead or a job. I’m on a medium-term experiment with business and interestingness.

Helping people makes introductions much easier, and that’s what I talked about in The Shy Connector – turning it into a connect-the-dots game, looking for ways to help people. Sometimes it works out decently, and I can shape the conversations with questions. Other times, people fall back to old habits, perhaps uncomfortable with the focus on them. They ask, “So, what do you do?” or “So, where do you work?”

I’ve been testing different replies to this. Consultant? Web developer? Writer and developer is probably closest to what I’d like to focus on this next little while – or maybe something related to experiments… I’d rather talk about how I might be able to help instead of what label I fit neatly into, but I appreciate that many people need these mental hooks to be able to remember people or to quickly evaluate how much time a conversation is worth.

I like a different style of connecting, I guess. I connect slowly online through conversations that unfold over months, longer. In person, I like stacking the deck. It’s easier when I can offer something of value – hence, notes – and even easier when I’ve already helped someone. We skip the “So, what do you do?” aspect and jump straight into the middle of a conversation.

Three events next week, so I can play around with these ideas. =) We’ll see!

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