Getting lucky often involves getting noticed. If you get noticed by the “right” person, it can lead to connections that this person can make for you, which can accelerate your path toward your goals.
In many settings, getting noticed is actually pretty easy. My company, MailerMailer, is participating as a live case study for a social media class this semester at the University of Maryland. Last week, we threw a kick-off party during class so the students could meet some of my team and ask questions about the project. To get the discussing going, I asked a simple question: what would you like to get out of the class?
What happened next surprised me, not so much by what happened but by how fast. I expected the more vocal and active class participants to chime in with their ideas. As I listened, I also looked around the room and spotted several students checking their friends’ Facebook status on their laptops. They weren’t paying attention. To be fair, I wasn’t a perfect student when I was in college either and I know the vast majority of these students are motivated and I am looking forward to working with them on their class project. But I couldn’t help shake the feeling that the ones who were not as involved could easily stand out, too. They got noticed, but probably not in the way that put them in the best light. Luckily, most got noticed in a good way.
Within minutes, I was able to spot the leaders – in other words, the people I would most likely want to hire. They were the ones asking the most thoughtful questions.
If you are by nature a shy person, you have work a little harder to summon up the courage to raise your hand and speak your thoughts. The talkative ones don’t always have the best ideas. One of my company’s most innovative team members is very shy. Yet her ideas are backed with tremendous thought and insight.
So, here’s the secret to getting noticed (in a good way): ask a thought-provoking question. When you get someone else to think deep, you create an emotional connection. That increases the chances they will remember you.
It works almost every time and in almost every setting. Here are a few outstanding questions to ask other leaders, excerpted from author and speaker Michael Hyatt:
- How do you encourage others in your organization to communicate the “core values”?
- When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
- As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?
Read the full list of 20 questions to ask leaders