Building Relationships with Better Networking
On this week’s episode of The Leadership Habit podcast, I sit down to talk with Carol Parrish, all about building relationships and networking. Let me tell you a little bit more about Carol. Carol Parrish helps female leaders and male-dominated professions like aerospace manufacturing and tech achieve financial freedom and peace of mind around their wealth so they can enjoy life now and still not have to eat cat food in retirement. I mean, I think that’s what we all want to make sure we can avoid! She describes herself as an air traffic controller of finances. Financial life is like an airport with airplanes taking off, landing and flying in all different directions. At different times, Carol manages all the air traffic to create a flight plan that is easy to understand, execute and adjust as needed. Carol earned the retirement income certified professional designation. The R I C P. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in sports management from the Ohio state university. When not working, Carol is usually watching softball, baseball, basketball, or football with her two kids and husband. And I hope you enjoy the conversation as Carol and I talk about how you can build relationships through networking.
Meet Carol Parrish, Wealth Advisor for Women in Male-Dominated Industries
Jenn DeWall: Hi, everyone. It’s Jenn DeWall, and I’m so excited to be sitting down with Carol Parrish to talk about an extremely important topic that I think is arguably important to everyone— understanding how to build our relationships or build successful relationships and also what we can do in networking to facilitate that genuine conversation to make people actually want to get to know more about us instead of maybe just making it all about us. But to be here, to talk about this topic of relationship building and networking. I’m so excited to welcome Carol. Carol. Thank you so much for joining The Leadership Habit podcast. It’s great to have you.
Carol Parrish: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
Jenn DeWall: So Carol, tell us a little bit about yourself. I love to start with a good origin story. Tell us a little bit about who you are and how you came to be.
Carol Parrish: Sounds good. So right now, I’m a financial advisor who helps establish women in Aerospace and other male-dominated fields achieve financial freedom and just have peace of mind around their money. So they can actually enjoy themselves right now and not worry about having to eat cat food in retirement. <Laugh> so because I work in Aerospace a lot of times, I like to say that I’m the air traffic controller of finances because you can picture airplanes coming in and taking off and trying not to crash. And there are so many different moving parts. So I come in and manage that air traffic and create a flight plan for my clients. So I kind of have a weird beginning. I actually started in college athletics doing marketing, which was a love— and still is a love of mine— is sports. And then, at the time would say I was a victim of the economy and an O-16 football season at the school I was working at. And, of course, in hindsight, like many things, it was a blessing in disguise because I love what I’m doing now. And working with people and meeting people and helping people, which is kind of what we’re gonna talk about today.
Jenn DeWall: Yeah, well and helping people with, I mean, our money, that is something that is, that is the result of our hard work time, like to actually build trust with someone. You know, that sounds really important. I feel like you have to be a master at that because it is something where if I don’t trust you, I won’t even buy a hot dog for a dollar if I don’t trust that vendor. Right. So it’s, I won’t even spend the smallest amount. And so I love just really being able to leverage and understand how you approach this because it is so important. But okay. We had talked about this in the pre-call. There was a point in time when you actually were like, ah, I dunno how I feel about conversations. Yeah. How did you get outta that fear? Because I think a lot of people can relate to maybe feeling awkward or insecure or just avoiding those random conversations. How did you get over that fear, or what was that experience initially like for you when you were actually going out thinking about networking to build relationships?
Overcoming a Fear of Networking to Build Relationships
Carol Parrish: Yeah. So that’s a great question. And I like, I think back even when I was a kid, I was really shy, which nobody that I know now believes that I was ever shy. But then, once I got to know people, I kind of come outta my shell and whatnot. And then when I first, you know, started in my real first career where I had to actually get to know people, it was really awkward at first, but then I realized looking around the room that everybody else was in the same situation and feeling the same way. So they didn’t wanna go up and talk to anybody either. So I figured if I did it, it’d be breaking the ice, then they feel better because they don’t have to be the one that initiates conversation too. So whenever I’m feeling uncomfortable, I kind of remind myself about that, and that’s in probably more, a more formal setting.
But I know we also talked about just casual encounters were just starting a conversation with someone. As I mentioned, my love for sports. Well, thankfully, my kids have inherited that same love for sports. And we spend so much time watching them with other parents that I’ve built some significant relationships with people, just chit chatting, sitting in the stands and you know, oh, what do you do? What do you do? And, and you learn a lot about them and find, you know, areas we have in common, you know, clearly you and I both like red. So is that a <laugh> topic that we talk about? But just reminding myself that other people are in the same situation. So
Jenn DeWall: I love that if we just went to a networking event. So this is to our listeners. The next time you walk into a networking event, remind yourselves that everyone there is probably like, I’m uncomfortable. I don’t wanna be judged. I’m not sure who to talk to. There are very few people I think are overly competent in networking because most people I think are. Also, they’re just concerned with like how they’re gonna be perceived. But yet we compare or somehow assume someone’s mastered the awkwardness of it. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and chances are if they just haven’t articulated it or you just can’t see it because you haven’t gotten to know them, but I love your approach of embracing the random conversations. Yeah. Then, the natural conversations that just occur in the day-to-day, whether it’s at a soccer game or I can think of an example recently where I got connected with a really cool nonprofit organization to volunteer with them, all because I met someone through a friend casually at an event, she was like, Hey, we’re looking for someone to coach our students. Would you help? Perfect. Yeah. Let’s work with them on speaking. And it was amazing, but that never would’ve happened if I didn’t get to know my friend’s friend through a random conversation.
Carol Parrish: You know, that, that brings up a good point too, about just volunteering. Like, I just gave blood yesterday, and I didn’t meet anybody there that we stayed in touch with after a day. But we’re all sitting around there with nothing to do because we’re having, you know, we have a bag attached to our arm, and we’re talking with the people that are working there. We’re talking with other people doing that. Boards that we serve on. You get to meet people that way, but it’s also, it’s a way to combine two things at once. So kill two birds with one stone where you can still spend your time doing something you’re passionate about and then meet other people that are passionate about the same thing. So you have an automatic connection right there, and you get to do something you like doing.
What Makes Networking and Building New Relationships so Hard?
Jenn DeWall: Yes, the win-win. Now let’s talk about what makes relationship building hard because whether you’re a new leader and you’re responsible for maybe meeting new people and influencing them, or whether maybe you are in sales or you want to influence a customer, let’s talk about some of the challenges that leaders will run into in your perspective, or from your perspective, what makes relationship building challenging?
Carol Parrish: Well I think depending on the person, it could be one of a number of things, but for a lot of people, as we just talked about, it’s just a kind of the fear of the unknown. You know, people generally want to be liked, and they don’t wanna walk up to somebody and say something that they think is stupid. And I think that’s a huge concern, you know? Well, I’m less concerned about it now because, in my old age, I just realized I am who I am, and sometimes I’m gonna screw up, and sometimes I’m not. People are, I, I know it’s a hot topic now about trying to be your authentic self, which is great because it makes people more comfortable. But sometimes, people are afraid to show that side of themselves too. Yeah. So it’s that fear of being authentic and just being yourself too.
Jenn DeWall: Gosh, I can see that in like, in that way of just feeling like, but will they like me? What if they don’t like me? Why would I show up as my authentic self? What if they think I’m weird or strange or dumb, right. Not even smart, like how we all naturally have that negative self-talk that gets in our way. I mean, that’s what I think.
Carol Parrish: Same, same self, negative self-talk we had when we were kids, and oh my God, there’s, you know, Bobby across the playground, and I wanna go say hi, but what’s he gonna think of me? And oh, that new girl really seems really cool. It’s the same thing. It’s just now we’re adults, and we’re, it’s our professional lives.
Normalize Feeling Awkward!
Jenn DeWall: When do you think we’ll actually normalize that? It’s okay to be uncomfortable. Like it’s totally normal. Instead of, because I still think people have done that situation so many times, but yet maybe you’re still like, I don’t know why, what if we just accepted that? It’s, it’s awkward in the beginning. Right. You’re getting to know someone.
Carol Parrish: You and I start it right here! Here it goes, you have to be uncomfortable to grow and do things. So the other, one of the things that I was with COVID hitting, I think has caused an interesting challenge too, is virtual relationship building versus in person. And some people that were really natural at an in person don’t like talking in front of a computer like we are right now. And then the flip flop was some people that would get really nervous and didn’t want to attend anything in person. Now they feel, I think a sense of security because they have this screen between them and the other person too.
Jenn DeWall: I’m one of those people, and I’m an extrovert, but the being on a screen, I’m like, okay, this feels so much more comfortable. I feel like I don’t, maybe because I have a tendency to maybe sweat when I’m nervous or talk really fast. And for some reason, in that virtual setting, I don’t know if it’s the cutoff of their non-verbal cues or maybe the other noise in the environment, but it’s so much easier for me to meet people virtually than it is in person. I just am less in my head with it.
Carol Parrish: <Laugh> well, I think now people have realized that it, well, maybe that’s not the right word, but like a lot of people when COVID hit, organizations and companies were trying to find ways to engage their employees or their association members more easily. So I feel like people were more inviting in general, trying to encourage people to speak up, which I think is helpful too. Like there were a number of calls that I was on through Elevate- how you and I met- through the Elevate network where we would, I don’t like the term single out, but we would ask for feedback and input from people and invite them to speak, which I think made them more comfortable. And then once they realized that it was a welcoming group, then they became a little bit more open when you are at an in-person event. And there are a lot of people around you who are trying to have a conversation, but you’re also thinking about all the other people around you that might be looking at you, or you might get distracted looking at someone else, which you don’t have as much in the virtual world too.
Jenn DeWall: Yeah. Oh my gosh. So much of that noise is cut off, but you hit on a really important piece of, of creating that psychologically like safe space, that welcoming environment that, you know, what makes it hard is when we aren’t intentional about that. And we just assume that maybe we’ll start talking without actually laying the foundation or the groundwork for a conversation. Oh, and you’ve got a dog! Yeah, no worries. That’s real life. We’re, we’re talking. We have a little break with the dog. No problem at all. But trust. I mean, knowing that, yeah, it is hard to go into a conversation with someone to feel like I want to confide in you or even tell you about myself. I know for me, for some reason, and earlier in my career, it was harder to actually facilitate relationships with executives because of the fear of maybe, you know, that imposter syndrome feeling like they’re looking at me like, are you sure you can do your job just a little intimidated? And I still get a little in my head if, if I’m with someone that’s achieved a lot in their life or they have a high level of authority, I can get super intimidated by that because I know that I’m awkward. And so then I don’t know what to say.
Carol Parrish: It totally, it totally reminds me of, I don’t know if it was people magazine or us magazine where they show the celebrities out, like at the grocery or going for a jog and it’s like celebrities, they’re just like us, which is the same thing, like with an executive or a president or CEO or somebody that we were nervous about talking to. I mean, they’re people too. Right? And I have found that in many cases, they don’t want to feel like they’re on that pedestal per se. So sometimes they’re easier to talk to because they have more practice at engaging people and are trying to what’s the word I’m looking for to just have a level conversation or interact more with people too.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Networking Conversations
Jenn DeWall: Let’s, let’s hit on some of the pitfalls to avoid because I know that there’s the awkwardness, but yet when you find yourself in that networking conversation or in that room with someone, I feel like I just had it. I don’t even know. Two days ago, like had someone trying to build a relationship in a digital way, right over LinkedIn. And then, they sent the initial message that I didn’t ask for. And then they follow up with a, and you aren’t paying attention to me. And I’m like, why would I ever keep following up on a passive-aggressive email from someone I’ve never met? And I see that as a sales practice in so many ways, and I’m actually very shocked because it’s counter to getting to know the human. From your perspective, what are some of the pitfalls that you need to avoid?
Don’t be a Walking Sales Pitch
Carol Parrish: Well, I think you just hit on one of them right away, not being a walking billboard or sales pitch. I get those same messages too. And, and I love to connect with people, but if they’re just trying to immediately sell me something or it’s obvious that they just sent out 200 messages automatically and didn’t have any interest in relating with me, it’s, I’m not even wasting my time on it. I have also been in conversations with people where they only talk about themselves over and over and over again. And you can’t get a word in edgewise. So I always try to remind myself, that I want to hear them talk, but it’s supposed to be a two-way street, too.
Remember Conversations Are a Two-Way Street
Jenn DeWall: So I love you saying that, I just met someone for the first time two weeks ago, we had done maybe three weeks ago. Now we had done this meet and greet. They had asked to connect like, Hey, let’s, let’s just do a 30-minute meeting to get to know each other. And we did the Zoom meeting and I asked a lot of questions and I’m not kidding the entire time. She asked me zero questions about myself. Yeah. And so at the end of it, I was like, I probably will not pursue any further relationship or friendship or working relationship with you because you seem kind of only into it for yourself and who you are. I mean, that’s real talk. Like I just don’t, I don’t love that I’m rubbed the wrong way when people always make it about them or, Hey, let me just fill the space with all the great things about myself I get fatigued and I start to think what are the things on my to-do list right now.
Carol Parrish: People love to talk about themselves, I mean I’ll be honest, I’ve been guilty of it too where I realize, you know, I need to shut up. I need to tell myself to be quiet and then ask more questions. And usually like, I’m genuinely interested in getting to know them. And so I, you know, I want to ask questions. But there have definitely been times where, like you just said, it just puts you in such an awkward position too.
Jenn DeWall: It’s yeah, no, that’s, I mean, ask a question, ask a question. And if you’re not asking questions, chances are, you’re not engaging in a dialogue or you might just be listening but asking questions. It allows you to do that. I mean, that’s a brilliant piece. You get to actually know them when you ask questions. And if you’re not asking someone questions, you’re not getting to know them, which means you’re not building trust with them. Yeah,
Carol Parrish: <Laugh> for sure. And, and like you said before, especially like in my industry and financial services, people aren’t going to work with you if they don’t trust you, like you talked about how, I mean, nobody wants to talk about money, and half the time they don’t wanna talk about it with people they do trust <laugh>. So you have to like take it even to another level. And it’s not just trust, it’s becoming comfortable. Like people need to feel comfortable talking with you and sharing information. So it’s, it’s easy. Just easier. I should say. I shouldn’t say easy, but to start with, you know, simple questions and prompting them to talk about themselves, but maybe not too much. <Laugh>
How To Start a Better Networking Conversation
Jenn DeWall: I’m curious, what’s your take on, you know when you’re going into a networking situation is the first question, you know, tell me what you do? Or do you recommend people to even think about asking them a nonwork-related question? I don’t, and I’m just curious what your take on that is or how you approach that in those settings.
Carol Parrish: That’s a really good question. And I, I feel like in a professional setting, people always say, oh, where are you from? Or what do you do? But I think that’s one thing that in my mind can cause people to be uncomfortable. Yeah. Because they can feel judged, you know, especially if there’s someone that’s insecure about their position or whatnot. I personally like the more casual conversation, but the old, you know, oh, are you enjoying the sunshine today? Kind of that gets really old, fast too. So something creative or, you know, we immediately, like I keep, I talked about the red earlier, but we immediately got on the call and noticed we were both wearing red and that could be like a fun icebreaker, like, oh, where did you get your red? And it’s, it’s just kind of random things.
Or if you see somebody that is with a company that you’ve wanted to learn about, or you have a friend that works there, you could, that could be a conversation starter too. Or something about if there’s a speaker, it could be, Hey, I saw so and so’s ready, you know, speaking about blah, blah, blah, today. I’m super excited to hear about them. You know, what made you come today? Kind of thing too. So I’m, you know, eventually people want to get to, you know, what they do and not do, but it’s not always about our jobs and careers.
Jenn DeWall: Well. And especially, I feel like today, and maybe I’m sensitive to this because I’ve heard, especially if you’re looking or if you were furloughed or, you know, temporarily laid off or something, and then you go to a networking event because you want to connect with people. And then that’s the first question. That can be a question that’s very uncomfortable that can put people into, okay, well, I, you know, I was laid off or I’m looking for work, like not, everyone’s gonna feel comfortable saying that and you know what, we’re, we’re more than our jobs anyways, right? Yeah. We’re so much deeper than whatever title or what we’re going to say. So I, I appreciate the perspective of like, you know, we don’t always just have to start with work. It’s a pretty, you know, it’s, it’s not really, sometimes it leads to really exciting conversations, but it’s typically not the, the question that’s like, yeah, well, we’re connecting, we’re having so much fun together right now because it doesn’t necessarily leave space for a two-way dialogue because there’s not necessarily always going to be that common ground in our line of work, but we might have common ground in other capacities of our life.
Start with Fun Icebreaker Questions
Carol Parrish: <Laugh> for sure. I, I can think of it, like in several situations where I’ve gotten to know people just some random hobbies of theirs. And, and I just, one of the things I really like is just trying to connect people. It that doesn’t necessarily have to be connecting people that are looking for a job or connecting someone that’s looking for a coach or whatnot. I have, you know, just connected two women who one runs a robotics organization and one helps lead her daughters, like first robotics team, which is totally random, but had I not met both of them and connected them, they never would’ve met. And now they’re having conversations together. So robotics, wasn’t the one woman’s profession. And just, you know, I know so many runners, well, a lot of times the runners wanna get together and go for a run together. Again, it doesn’t have anything to do with work, but they’re building relationships and having other people in their network that they can go to with questions and to bounce ideas off of and things that we don’t always wanna talk to people in our industries either or our company. So having somebody outside of that is just a good thing.
Jenn DeWall: Broadening your perspective. Broadening your view, expanding your opportunities. But I like even thinking like, you know, outside of the workplace find the hobbies, but also think about finding the hobbies inside of the workplace, because it’s sometimes in the workplace, we talk at people as their position, like, hi, Jen, you’re blank. And that they don’t see anything else beyond the position. And <laugh> that, that doesn’t necessarily make me feel connected to you. Like, hi, do you know that I’m a person that’s underneath this spreadsheet? I’m just curious if you know that it’s okay if you don’t. So how do you,
Carol Parrish: Do they have kids? Do they, you know, like to play cornhole? Do they part, you know, where, where do they like to volunteer? Where do, where do they spend their time? You know, what do they like to read? Do they read?
Jenn DeWall: <Laugh>? Yeah. Do they listen to podcasts? Maybe they listen to The Leadership Habit!
Carol Parrish: Do they host their own podcast? <Laugh> I love, are they in a band? Do they karaoke? I mean, there’s so many, we’re so much more than that.
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh. I love you. Just gave a lot of great icebreaker questions. One of my favorite ones for some reason lately is what’s your favorite karaoke song? Just because I like hearing the diversity and responses. And I think it also shows a funny side right. Of us to be like, oh, that’s your song, no kidding. Or you of course get the, like, I am not going anywhere near that. There’s no way. I mean, what, what is your favorite song, Carol? Do you, do you, karaoke?
Carol Parrish: Actually it’s of karaoke is on the tip of top of my mind right now because I going to karaoke tonight, which is especially on a weeknight is rare, but we’re having a going away party for somebody. And you’re gonna laugh when I tell you my song. I’m not a good singer, but I am very entertaining. It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls. <Laugh> and it’s a fun one
Jenn DeWall: It’s raining men! <Laugh>
Carol Parrish: Hallelujah!
Jenn DeWall: <Laugh> I love it. See, it’s just fun. My favorite one, Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror. I love it. It’s my go to it makes me so happy! But I fell like people usually have a point of view. Like I had to do it for a party, or I love it, I have a favorite song.
Carol Parrish: You’re not gonna karaoke. You can meet a lot of people randomly who are there just like singing along or hanging out. You don’t have to actually go up on the stage. So my,
Jenn DeWall: Yeah!
Carol Parrish: Another place to talk to people!
Jenn DeWall: <Laugh> yeah, you can talk about like, I cannot believe they just did that, perhaps to them, that may not be me. Relatability right there with the other person that’s sitting there. Like, I’m not doing it either. Yeah. I mean, that common ground you talked about.
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Carol’s Tips for Building Relationships by Networking
Jenn DeWall: So let’s talk about your tips. How do you go about building new relationships? It’s incredibly important to your line of work. You’re meeting new people all the time. What’s your kind of like philosophy or framework or practices for how you approach building new relationships.
Know Why You Want to Network
Carol Parrish: So that’s a, oh, that’s a good question. For me, I feel like some of it just happens organically because I am around people a lot, and like to ask questions. There are other times. And in the past I had to be more intentional about it, where like, for example, if I was going to an event, I went in with like a strategy of, okay, you know, what’s my goal going to this meeting? Is it because I wanna hear the speaker? Do I want to meet three new people that work in X, Y, Z? What is that? And then it, it gave me kind of a framework to, to work the event while I was there. When I’m working, when I’m doing it more organically, it’s the thing is just the two, my two biggest tips are- be yourself, and ask a lot of questions. And yeah, some of the questions might be dumb questions, but it could also, you just never know. Sometimes you could find out a lot about somebody by asking what, what you think is a dumb question. That ends up being a great question, too. It gets the person talking, and people like to talk about themselves.
Jenn DeWall: Well, and I feel like you can preface it with like, Hey, I’m, you know, just learning or I’m not as familiar. I’m gonna ask you a question. It might sound a little silly, but I just honestly don’t know. I think it’s okay to admit that we don’t know. We don’t know. And that’s where we can be curious about asking that. But what do you do if you ask a question and someone gives you like two words? Because I feel like that’s happened to me where you sit there, and you’re like, this is gonna be a long networking event. How do you manage those situations?
Carol Parrish: You just turn around and walk away! Just kidding! It’s definitely happened to me before. And I think I’ve probably been the person that’s done that too. And I just try to ask a more open-ended question to try to get a little bit more information, or maybe someone I know is walking by and pulled them into the conversation too. Like, Hey, have you, this is my friend, Jenn. Have you met Bobby? Bobby’s back. You know, you guys both blah, blah, blah. And that could strike up some more conversation and make it a little less awkward too. It could just turn into the, you know, what, you know, have you been here before? Why are you, you know, and then you may get a, I was forced to come and you just, sometimes you just have to dig yourself out or it just doesn’t happen and you move on and it’s water under the bridge. You dunno what that person’s going through either. So yeah,
Jenn DeWall: Maybe just have an exit line, like, Hey, it was so nice to meet you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time here. You know, I’m gonna go.
Carol Parrish: I’m gonna go grab a drink of water.
Jenn DeWall: Yeah. <Laugh> but being yourself, I mean, I’m a pretty extroverted person. I would argue that authenticity is super important to me, but yet I don’t actually attend a lot of networking events in person because of my own fears. Like I do get in the way of like comparing myself or maybe I might know someone in that group and I might know that they’re really successful and really accomplished. And then I can get a little bit of that. Like, am I even supposed to be here? So like, how do you kind of balance or to that line between showing up as your authentic self when you actually really don’t want to? Because you kind of feel like maybe I need to try and be someone I’m not just actually fit in in this place.
Get in the Right Mindset
Carol Parrish: I think personally for me, I try to get myself in the right mindset before I walk in the room, like where it could be on my drive to the event. It could be stopping in the bathroom just to have some, you know, peace of mind and clear my head before I go in. And sometimes it may involve a little self talk, you know, it, you know, it works for some people. It may be not so much, you know, not for everybody, but by doing that before you go in and again, knowing why you’re there and what you’re trying to achieve and that everybody else, again, back to that first point I made everybody is in the same boat as us. They’re trying to meet people and have conversations too. So why not be the go between the facilitator to it easier for everybody,
Jenn DeWall: Let’s say that we meet at a networking event and you wanna be your authentic self. You’re excited to maybe have a conversation because we’ve all probably been on the other side where it’s like, maybe you shouldn’t have shared that. So from your perspective, like what do you think is appropriate to share when you’re first meeting someone versus not share?
Carol Parrish: Oh gosh,
Jenn DeWall: You’ve got, I’m sure. You’ve probably heard a lot of stuff where you’re like, <laugh>,
Carol Parrish: I’ve probably said some random things too.
Jenn DeWall: I’ve definitely,
Carol Parrish: Honestly, I, I don’t know that. I don’t think there’s a, I mean, to me, there are some pretty obvious things that I’m not, you know, I wouldn’t even say on here. Yeah. But depending on the audience or what type of event it is, I think that makes a difference. And there’s been times where I’ll be really open, and maybe it’s talking about kid stuff or female stuff or just things because it’s a more open environment, or I feel more of a sense of community. You know, I think some people will say, well, don’t, you know, don’t talk about politics. Don’t talk about religion. Don’t talk about blah, blah, blah. But who, you know, everything’s on the table in my mind,
Jenn DeWall: That one was ingrained to me, like do not, when you were out. And it was my aunt that taught me when I was younger. She said, do not talk about three things when you’re out with people— personal problems, politics, or religion. That was, those three were just ingrained into my brain. But it’s interesting because those are still parts of who we are like, you know,
Be Aware of People’s Boundaries
Carol Parrish: And I honestly, I think times have changed too. And it’s some people you talk to, you could have conversations about all three of those things, and they will be totally comfortable. Some people want to have a conversation with someone with differing views because they wanna learn the other person’s perspective. Now for me, I talk about money because that’s what I do. I’m not necessarily saying, oh, I make this much. And oh, I cost this much. But the topic of money for me, of course, is not off the table. Where for others, they may say, you know, my husband for example, is super, super private about anything, money-related. So it just depends on the person. I’m pretty much an open book. So.
Jenn DeWall: They love that, which brings it back to like one of the first things. I think you said, like being curious, asking a lot of questions because, and I, maybe this is a poor example, but I think, you know, I play volleyball on Tuesday nights. We’re a rec league. We’re not that great. We haven’t been for the last seven years. And our friend brought other friends to play on our team and this person much better at volleyball than our whole entire team. Okay. We play on a rec league. So we’re not even kidding ourselves. Like we know where we’re at. This person maybe wanted us to be somewhere different. And she came into all new people, right. New relationships, and then started yelling at people for how they were showing up or how they were lined up on the court. And in my head, I just am like, oh my gosh, like the leadership coach in me was like, you are not even getting curious about the environment that you’re in or the people that are here or, you know, what the dynamic is. Too often, I think people stop. They don’t even think about the intention, what you’re saying. And they don’t even start with curiosity. They just start with, well, this is what I know. And this is what might be right. Without even trying to understand the circumstance or environment. I mean, have you seen that? Like she was not, she didn’t necessarily create the best first impression. Let’s just say that when you kind of lead with that, it took the fun out of it.
Carol Parrish: Yeah. And I think that you bring up a really good point with that and, and it getting kind of back to what topics and things, and with that, you know, maybe she would’ve come in and said, you know, my friend said, you know, this is a rec league, which is great. It sounds like you guys have a lot of fun. I’ve been playing volleyball for 25 years and I could give you guys some pointers if you’d like some, or I can just, we can just play for fun, but like preface it with some sort of question. And the same thing could be used like at a work event where maybe instead of just spilling your guts or something, or maybe I ask you something that might be sort of personal maybe instead of just, oh, tell me this. Maybe it’s, you know, do you mind if I ask blah, blah, blah, or are you comfortable answering blah, blah, blah, where it makes it a little bit more friendly and give, and you’re inviting them to answer, but not necessarily prying too hard. They can opt out per se,
Jenn DeWall: I love that you give that option, like you’re getting their permission before you’re moving into it. Right.
Carol Parrish: That’s a great way to put it
Jenn DeWall: This individual. It was like, I, I don’t even wanna talk to you. I’m gonna talk to my friend about maybe like assessing like the attitudes of others before you bring ’em into our fun rec league. Because we all understand that none of us were sponsored to play any professional sports we had to actually pay to play this. So I need everyone else to understand that before they start maybe criticizing.
Well it’s, you’re true. It ruins the, it can ruin the whole dynamic and yeah, that is not obviously what we’re going for, but so lessons learned!
Jenn DeWall: Well, and I’m sure you can think of, like, you have been to countless networking events, that person that can zap the energy and fun out of a conversation. Now I feel like that’s the person that’s like, it’s all about me. Lemme tell you about me, got everything about me. I mean, it’s, what other things do you kind of notice that make people shut down in a conversation when that person comes in? Is there anything that comes top of mind for you of like, oh, here they come! Or is it when they keep bringing the conversation back to themselves? Like, let me just make it more about me. Oh,
Be Aware of Your Body Language
Carol Parrish: I think both. I think both of those for sure. And sometimes, just the way that people carry themselves can be off putting in my mind too. It’s hard to really describe, but sometimes you just feel it when you see it, like, oh, I got a steer clear of that person. <Laugh> too.
Jenn DeWall: But I think that makes sense, like this month or last month at Crestcom we were talking about leadership presence and you know, it’s a felt presence. You feel it. Yeah. And you know, it’s, I think that kind of ties to it. You can probably sense is this someone that I wanna actually talk with, is this someone that has the hidden agenda? You know, and I mean, I know that people have to go to networking events to hopefully like grow their business and make it happen. But what’s the way that you can even talk about yourself without making it feel like you’re just pushing it all on someone.
Carol Parrish: Well, and I think some of that by you, some of the questions you ask can help get to what you want to say, because a lot of times, like you may ask them a question of, yeah, I’m trying to think of one just off the top of my head, but they may give their answer. And then you, it gives you an opportunity to say, oh yes, I’ve experienced the same thing, except when it happened to me, blah, blah, blah. Or yeah, I have the same question. How do you handle that or when that has happened to you, how do you handle it or where do you go? So it gives you a chance to continue the conversation and kind of answer, get answers to your own question.Or, oh, it’s interesting. You say that that’s something that I just started doing and, and then you can talk about it that way too. You can ask leadign questions, too. I think it comes with practice.
Jenn DeWall: Well, when it comes with what you had said earlier, it’s the preparation, like if you’re going to go about networking or meeting someone new, it’s your preparation in your own foundation of what is your intent? Like, what do you wanna get out of this? How are you going to work together? What do you want that relationship to look like? What is your intent of this and how are you going to measure or assess that or determine whether or not you’re getting it right?
Carol Parrish: Yeah. Measurement’s a good point too. And we have such limited time that if we’re using our time to get to know these people we wanted, you know, let’s make it worthwhile, too.
Jenn DeWall: I mean, it doesn’t always have to be about work. And I feel like half the people I do business with, that part comes after the relationship is formed. It’s not the relationship doesn’t start necessarily because we’re doing business. It’s after working together. Like then I want to invest in that.
Networking to Build Relationships Can Happen Anywhere
Carol Parrish: Well, and there’s, I, there I can count on, you know, more than two hands, the number of conventions and conferences and work events that I’ve been to that were good events, but I didn’t really get to having a great conversation with someone until after the cocktail party or the, you know, the bus trip to the football stadium to check it out, or the polling event afterward where people are kicking back a little bit and you can actually have a, a good relaxed conversation.
Jenn DeWall: There are so many opportunities that are much more or more available to you than just walking into the room and going into the small two-person group. Yeah. It’s the little things finding it in the day-to-day or when you’re going up to grab a water or grab some food! Carol, I’ve loved our conversation and just like getting back to the basics of how do we, how do we connect? How do we build these relationships? What are, do you have any final thoughts for our audience? I know we have to wrap up what would be like last-minute tips or any final closing remarks that you would have for our audience?
Introverts Can Be Great at Networking Too!
Carol Parrish: My one thing we, you and I had talked about before that we hadn’t touched on yet today was that you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at networking to build relationships. I know a lot of extroverts that aren’t, that aren’t great at at networking actually. And I know a lot of introverts who are very good at it because they’re intentional and they, they know why they’re doing it. And they also try to limit well limit. Maybe isn’t the right word, but they know how much energy they can put into it. And they know when it’s time for them to kind of take a break and step away from it. Some of the best salespeople I know are very good at their job and building relationships, but when they need their downtime, they take their downtime. And again, be authentic– we’ve said multiple times– and ask questions.
Jenn DeWall: I love that. I love the final reminder to the – if you’re an introvert– you can figure this out. You might just want to be a little bit more intentional with it. Like, what are the questions you wanna ask or what are you doing? And extroverts definitely may not be the ones that steal or steal a spotlight all the time.
Carol Parrish: Yeah. Start with one person at a time. You don’t have to meet everyone in the room, just think, okay, I’m gonna go meet one person and have one conversation.
Where to Connect with Carol Parrish
Jenn DeWall: Just one conversation that should be everyone’s goal. Just one person, one conversation that is a success. Carol. How can people connect with you?
Jenn DeWall: Carol, thank you so much for giving us your time and your expertise because you have been to more networking events than probably many of us, right? So you have this experience and insights that a lot of us don’t have because we might avoid it. So thank you so much for helping us just get a little bit to
Carol Parrish: Have me
Jenn DeWall: <Laugh> it was great to have you.
Carol Parrish: You too. Thank you.
Jenn DeWall: Given the nature of Carol’s role, we do have to share with you this disclosure: Investment advice is offered through WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Utor Wealth LLC is a separate entity from The Wealth Consulting Group and WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC. Utor Wealth LLC, The Wealth Consulting Group, and WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC do not offer tax or legal advice.” WCG-21-0021
Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of a leadership habit podcast. I really like my conversation with Carol Parrish. Just talking about how we can approach these relationships and how we can be more intentional with networking. Now, if you want to connect with Carol, she is offering a free tool download, Hey, everyone deserves to be financially independent at some point, and I’m assuming that’s what you want too. So you can use the link that’s in our show notes as the retirement calculator that you can use to figure out if what you’re doing today is going to help you get to that retirement that you want, which we as leaders do need to be thinking about retirement. It’s not that thing that we need to avoid because it’s going to come up faster than we know it. So if you head on over to UTORwealth.com/#services, that’s where you can find that retirement calculator. Of course, if you know someone that could benefit from this conversation, share the podcast with them, and don’t forget to leave us a review on your favorite podcast streaming platform.