Ask Dr. Karen - June 22
Hi Dr. Karen,
First of all I want to thank you for
organizing the seminar for the CHICAGO GSB students. It was very
informative for me. I am a GSB student. My question is, I meet
so many high profile people but most of my links are
professional and break off as soon as my project is over. I am
having trouble keeping the connections alive. I am not sure how
can I refresh those links. Let me know if you have any advice
CONNECTIONS you make with someone that will take you to the next
stage of building a relationship. How long do you spend with
people? Five minutes, an hour, part of a day, or longer? Of
course, the longer the better. No matter how long, though,
unless the person just doesnít want to be bothered with you (in
which case he or she is not worth your time) ask them some
questions. If you spend more than an hour with them there could
easily be a moment of relaxation when the two of you can talk.
Over a spot of tea, coffee or water is great. Good things to
ask at that point are:
How did you get into the work youíre doing?
Iím looking at the ways that people wind up where they are
to look at my own career.
(for women) Iíve not x kids or kinds of
family obligations. How do you do all that you do with a
Every country worries about the next
generation and how it will do. Whatís worrying your
If youíre working on a project together: What
do you find the most interesting about this project? Whatís
What keeps you up at night?
There was a time when the cost of capital was
the biggest issue on the mind of executives. Nowadays it may
be global competition from the very folks you were
outsourcing to just yesterday.
Have some current topics of interest in the
news ready to talk about. Ask his or her opinion about the
topic. That kind of intro is a good segue into asking a
question. You ask questions because youíre curious and love
What paper(s) do they read every day or week?
You would be surprised how many read their hometown paper!
Ask, ask and ask
Take a few
notes about what youíve learned. You now have something of value
to rely on to go back to these folks with an article, something
out of a newspaper (subscribe to several online), or something
youíve worked on with them. Youíve have lots of connections to
start a dialogue. If you choose carefully you hope theyíll
asking is a good idea when you have achieved a certain amount of
comfort with the person. Career guidance questions are also
okay after youíve known them a bit.
questions just ask!