Brilliance is not enough – you need to build relationships!

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family-owned business. Maybe it’s because I grew up a bit “socially awkward.” Maybe it’s because I spent 20+ years in corporate communications. Whatever it is, I grew up with a very strong sense of inclusiveness when it comes to interacting with people. The concept that you “can’t judge a book by its cover” has always been meaningful to me; I’ve always enjoyed interacting with and learning from a broad range of people–trying hard not to pre-judge those I come into contact with. That has served me well.

Over the years I’ve been amazed to find how the most extraneous connections from my past have proven to be helpful to me in various ways–whether applying for jobs, learning about new opportunities, landing new clients or making social connections. Your reputation truly does precede you, whether you recognize it or not. How you treat others will come back to impact you, for good or ill.

Being open to others, as opposed to only seeking to interact with “people like you” can serve you well.

I was reminded of this recently while watching The Internship (my taste in movies is also varied!). In the movie there is an “odd” character who appears mid-way through as Vince Vaughan, Owen Wilson and their team members are looking for a place to sit for lunch. They’re not part of the “popular crowd” so they’re ostracized and relegated to the back of the room where the only spot left available is with another apparent outcast–a large, awkward looking, bearded man, buried in his computer. Someone that nobody else wants to sit with.

Of course, at the end of the movie we learn that this outcast was really a “plant” and is, in fact, a recruiter for Google. That’s bad news for those that avoided, or perhaps even laughed at or demeaned this man. But it’s good news for those who overlooked the surface attributes that might have screamed “weirdo!!” and took the time to get to know him.

That sort of thing happens often. And, of course, despite my attempt to try to be as inclusive as possible in my interactions with others, I know I’m not immune to making snap judgments about people I don’t know. But I’m alert to that tendency and I know that it’s not a wise networking move. In fact, I’ve heard countless stories from business professionals about how chance encounters led to great opportunities–even when those encounters didn’t involve someone who “looked the part.”

You may be the most brilliant person in the world, but if you convey the sense that you think you’re the most brilliant person in the world and are overly selective in terms of those you choose to associate with, you just might be missing out on great opportunities. Brilliance is not enough. To succeed in any profession or endeavor we need to build relationships. Relationships are built with other people.

The takeaway: don’t overlook the unique opportunities that are all around you every day. You never know when that store clerk, a stranger at the grocery store, or the second cousin of a relative of a friend who has multiple tattoos and plays “weird” music, just might lead you to discoveries and opportunities that you would never have had if you chose to just interact with those you thought could help you get ahead.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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