This month I released my first book, Soft Skills for Young Pros. I wrote this book with the intention to help young people bridge the gap between higher education and the real world.
For new graduates entering the workforce, it doesn’t take long to figure out that winning or losing in the real world is far different to passing or failing in university. There are fewer compliments, your grades don’t land your dream job and there’s no such thing as a participation trophy.
A year after graduating my MBA from Hult Boston, I started discussions with the small handful of my former classmates who were tap dancing to work every day while everyone else was dragging their feet. I was intent on finding out why this group of 20 something-year-olds were more productive at work because I knew it had nothing to do with intellect.
I started blogging about these ideas and decided to write a book which decodes the most common themes. began reaching outside of my personal network to high achieving and purposeful millennials, including writers on Forbes Magazine, the UK Young Entrepreneur of the year and brand managers at Nike. These insights I uncovered along the way formed the basis for this book.
In this excerpt, I explain why young professionals need to invest in people over everything else.
The biggest investment a young professional can make is in people. By investing in people, you can open yourself up to mentorship and build a network.
The number one thing to keep in mind during this process is that people don't recall how smart or how impressive you are. People recall how you make them feel. Actions create more of an impression than words in every society. The most impressive thing you can do in every interaction is to make the other person feel good.
Here are three simple ways you can invest in other people.
Ask good questions
The most off-putting thing for me when I speak to a fellow young professional is when they're adamant about proving how smart they are. I'm more impressed by the questions that you ask than what you read about the stock market or the property prices or the presidential election.
The questions you ask people say a lot of about you and your character. It shows how interested and empathetic you are. Really, it's a reflection of your intelligence. Instead of trying to prove how smart you are, focus on asking good questions.
I'm even more impressed by how you make me feel during the interaction: whether you remember my name, my hobby or something I may have explained in an online article. If I'm going to be in your network or circle of influence, I have to first have positive vibes about you as a person. The way you can have this impression is simple – just make me feel good!
It’s the little things that matter. Remember things that people have told you and reference them in subsequent meetings or emails. This exhibits an attention to detail. You’ll be amazed how much people will appreciate your remembering things about them.
“It’s not what you know, it’s not who you know. It’s who endorses you.”
Damu Winston, founder of ULIQ
One of the benefits of investing in other people is that you can introduce them to one another and add value to each of their lives.
Don't be afraid to introduce people in your circle of influence to someone who may find the connection beneficial. It shows that you're genuinely interested in helping the other person, and indirectly showcases the quality of your network. Try to be genuinely helpful and don’t make an introduction and expect something in return.
“The ability to make meaningful connections with others and finding a way to add value to those people before needing anything in return is the most important skill.”
Bryan Teare, host of the Quarter Life Comeback Podcast
If you’re a university student, a student thinking about entering higher education, or if you’re a young professional, this book is for you. I hope you enjoy reading the ideas as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing them to you.
Reet’s book is available on Amazon.