Fostering Relationships: How To Become a Master Ninja Relationship Coordinator

I had the wonderful pleasure of speaking once again at the St. Jude Collegiate Leadership Seminar this weekend in Memphis. The conference is designed to educate and inspire college students and advisers across the country who raise money on their campuses for St. Jude. The purpose of my workshop to the advisers was to give insights on how to strengthen relationships across campus. Following are the main lessons; they are applicable on and off of college campuses.

1. Own it. Take responsibility for the condition of the relationships you have with persons of influence on campus.

2. Make two lists - Friends (people who support your work on campus) and Future Friends (people who either don't support your work or don't actively know you or your work). The goal is to turn Friends into Raving Fans and to turn Future Friends into Friends.

3. Work hard to change the way you view the power hierarchy on your campus. Especially those views that you have that are holding you back from moving forward with certain requests or relationships. A step in the right direction is added the words "Right Now" to your vocabulary. Instead of saying, "The athletic department won't work us," say, "The athletic department won't work us Right Now."

4. L.E.A.D. - Look for, Encourage, Appreciate and Draw out the best of others. How most people treat you is based on who you are to them, the environment your interactions are in & how you treat them. Make them good. (Tweet that - @pli_leadership) Take your Friends and Future Friends lists and turn them into a Campus Water Well Book - a place where you keep track of relationship activity you are involved in.

5. Be a lover of what other people are doing on campus. Be Interested. Make someone else feel more important than they think they are and you instantly become more important to them. (Tweet that - @pli_leadership)

6. Build up others when they aren't around. Stephen Covey said, "A great way to build trust with those in the room is to talk up about those not in the room." Example - Use we, never us and them. Master Ninja Level Relationship Coordinators do not have the luxury of having a loose tongue. (Tweet that - @pli_leadership)

7. Be Intentional. Foster a relationship weekly or bi-weekly with at least one person in each of the areas of campus that directly impact your work. Lunches, coffee, share resources, etc.

8. Piggy-Backing. Investigate how your core work can help another department's core mission also and do more cooperative activities.

9. What comes to mind when people hear your name/office/projects? What habits do you have that are creating or blocking the pattern of others seeing you as a Master Ninja Relationship Coordinator?

Action Steps

- Develop or sharpen your Campus Water Well Book.

- Discover actions you need to start or change or increase.

- Start now. Take action. Email. Call. Schedule.

- Identify what's holding you back from making certain calls to Future Friends.

- Get clear on what other people are saying about you/your department/your work.

- Think of yourself as a Master Ninja Relationship Coordinator. Be self-aware and own this title.


Masterful Communication: Absolutely Dominate the Interview

Following are my top tips on how to rock in a job interview...

  1. Be early. 15 minutes before is on time. If you are interviewing on a large corporate complex or institutional campus, be in the parking lot no later than 30 minutes before.  Give yourself time to get to the interview room in a relaxed, focused and ready-to-go fashion.
  2. Call beforehand and find out what type of attire your interviewer will be in. Dress at the same level. Your first impression is huge here.  This first impression will be largely based on your face (smile, direct eye contact, friendly) and your attire (polished, ironed, everything-in-place).
  3. Research the company. Strengths. Weaknesses. Early years. Big changes. Future plans. Etc. Memorize some facts and practice discussing the company's industry in conversation form. Be knowledgeable about the company you are seeking to start a relationship with.  This process is just as much about you picking the company as it is the company picking you.
  4. Research the job you want. Talk to someone in that position or someone who used to be. What is the job really like? What are the best parts and worst parts? Most importantly, what skills/attitudes/behaviors are needed for success? Then cross-reference those with genuine skills and strengths that you have. What are the worst days/weeks like and why?  How can you demonstrate that you can handle these down times effectively?
  5. Do as many mock interviews as you can. Have a friend or family member ask you a list of random questions from your resume. Practice putting your answers into one of these three templates: the story structure (answer with a brief, visual, concrete story), the list structure (put your answer in a list of 2-4 items) or the anchor word structure (answer with one word or phrase and then give evidence of why you chose that answer). The most important step here is remembering that evidence is king.  Don't just say you are a good time manager, have good people skills or can handle high-stress situations.  Say that and then tell a story about a time you applied that strength.  Provide evidence.
  6. Maintain an eager (but non-Red Bull) body language. Speak up. Hold eye contact. Have variety in tone (serious, jovial, light-hearted, factual). Lean forward. Take notes.
  7. When discussing a weakness or shortcoming, follow this template: 1. Answer honestly. 2. Discuss how you are working on the weakness or have developed a strength to off-set it.
  8. Stick to your core values, beliefs and standards. Don't be someone who "will do anything to get the job." Demonstrate a willingness to learn, be flexible and grow, but also demonstrate you are a person of conviction.
  9. Be very clear on the top three to five strengths necessary to be successful in the job you are applying for. Work to model or discuss evidence of ownership in the interview.   Provide evidence with Concrete, Visual, Simple (CVS) stories from past work experiences or from your personal life.
  10. Every job involves other humans. Model and discuss evidence of ownership of your people skills. Be gracious. Compliment. Be honest. Demonstrate trustworthiness and credibility. People get hired for their resume, but get fired for their people skills.
A bonus tip is how to approach the job-hunting world in general.  Act exactly like getting a job is your job.  Wake up in the morning.  Get showered and dressed professionally (biz casual is fine). Go to your "sales job" with you as the product. Call more people than others.  Submit more resumes than others. Go to more interviews than others. Work hard to be okay with rejection or delayed responses. Work it and it will work.

(A part of my business is teaching interviewing skills.  Email me if you would like discuss working with me - rhett (at) yournextspeaker.com.)


Service Minded: 12 Principles Revisited

I have been training a ton lately on customer service.  Here are the direct links to the posts overviewing each of the 12 Principles of Remarkable Customer Service:

The 7-Iron Principle - Excellent service is elemental.
The Chicken Little Principle - Emphasize the positive.
The Open Space Principle - Build on what works.
The Platinum Rule Principle - Do unto others as they'd like done unto them.
The Tony Bennett Principle - Have a veteran's expertise and a novice's energy.
The Irving Principle - Get clear on why you are successful.
The Fresh Air Principle - Ask great questions.
The Toddler Principle - Friendly first.
The Toyota Principle - Enable and encourage problem solving right now.
The Walking Billboard Principle - You are the brand.
The YourSpace Principle - Your way + My way = Our way.
The Thunder Principle - Have one face for the organization.

Contact me when you'd like to discuss my customer service keynote and/or seminar training options.