First impressions are important, especially when it comes to your career Akbar Gbajabiamila, author of EVERYONE CAN BE A NINJA, shares his 3 tips to introducing yourself in the business world.
Some people are shy. But even if I was more or less born with this skill, I also honed it in Food from the ’Hood, when we would travel to expos to meet new clients. We had to learn to be fearless in approaching strangers and making our sales pitch. I have carried this skill with me ever since. I remember when I was at SDSU and I saw the university president walking across the campus. I sprinted to catch up to him and introduce myself. We had a great conversation, but when I returned to the locker room, my teammates were awestruck. “Did you just talk to the president?” they asked, as if it was the most courageous thing someone had ever done. But to me, it was a moment of opportunity. There he was—why wouldn’t I talk to him? But you might be different. If the thought of approaching a potential mentor terrifies you, then try some of these tactics:
#1. Go beyond your job or title.
When I meet someone for the first time, I talk about my love of travel and that I’ve been to forty countries. This immediately gets us talking about our shared interests and acts as a great icebreaker.
#2. Ask questions
Have an active conversation. Do some homework about your potential mentor and ask relevant questions that engage them and enlighten you
#3. Show a little vulnerability
Once you’ve established a rapport with someone, you should let them know what you need help with. Tell them where you’re struggling and ask what they think you should do.
As one of seven siblings, I learned that closed mouths don’t get fed. Open your mouth. Talk. Ask. I guarantee someone will reach out their hand.
We are honored when others seek our guidance and counsel. We are drawn to those who ask for our help. For the same reason we play harder as athletes when we play for our teammates, we need to build a team around us in life. We will play harder when someone is giving us their time. We will play harder when we are helping another. To be mentored and to mentor is to fight for one another
Find out how to succeed in business in EVERYONE CAN BE A NINJA by Akbar Gbajabiamila!
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Excerpted fromEVERYONE CAN BE A NINJA by Akbar Gbajabiamila. Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.