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Do you know what to say and how to say it?

Aug 09, 2023

by Vern Schellenger, CEO Contacts 8/29/23

Chris created a successful video production company.   He created videos with a number of different themes and objectives.  Inspirational videos, videos that promoted the brand and/or customer service for a company and was beginning to find some clients who were looking to create videos on employee engagement.

 Looking to build his business and do more employee engagement videos Chris focused on attending local chapter human resource meetings.

At his first meeting someone asked the proverbially question, “What do you do?” 

Chris said he owns a video production company.

 The other person said, “What are you doing here?”

Chris did not know in that moment exactly what to say.  A bit taken back and frustrated he said to himself – this is not a very open and inviting place.


What Chris experienced is a common situation for a number of people when they begin to try and network and meet people.  Not sure what to say.  Not sure how to start a conversation.  They try something and it doesn’t go well.  They feel uncomfortable and soon are convinced this networking thing is just not something I really want to do.

After Chris shared his story with me, I provided him with the Contacts Count approach to answering the “What do you do?” question.  Chris agreed to give it one more try.  At the next HR chapter meeting when someone said, “so what do you do?”

 Chris said...I own a video production company.  I have created videos for organizations on employee engagement that have been well received.  I’m here to learn more about how companies approach employee engagement.  My goal is to create even higher quality videos that help HR professional communicate the importance of employee engagement in their organization.  What can you tell me about your efforts around employee engagement?

Guess what?  Rather than what are you doing here, Chris had a meaningful conversation with an HR Director who was more than happy to talk about her firm’s efforts to create more positive employee engagement.


Take aways:

  • Chris agreed to not give up after the first try. He got out of his comfort zone.  He wrote down what he would say to the What do you do question.  He practiced and refined his approach.  And he had a positive outcome.  Every skill and behavior that are part of the Contacts Count 8 competencies can be learned.
  • The HR Director is aware of Chris’s skill set. There is always the potential she might hire him.  There is also the possibility she might refer Chris to other HR professionals looking for employee engagement videos. 
  • Master networkers know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. And many master networkers started in the same place Chris did. You too can learn the key skills and behaviors that make conversations flow, lead to positive outcomes and build mutually beneficial relationships.


About the Author

Vern Schellenger, President and CEO of Contact Count.

 and training organization dedicated to helping you use the power of human connection to transform your career, business, and life.

Vern is dedicated to empowering professionals and entrepreneurs with the strategies, skills and tools to master networking (even if they are introverted and don’t like networking events). His vast experience includes such roles as HR VP and CLO at Dunkin Donuts, VP & Director of Professional Services at Lee Hecht Harrison, and SR VP of Human Resources at American Bankers Association.


Discover tweaks you can make to your networking approach that will help you dramatically improve your skills and reduce the time it’ll take to find that person who has the power to hire you!