This episode includes Julie's best tips and tricks for how to start or join a conversation--whether you need them for holiday gatherings or networking events. The tips Julie shares are actionable and can be used right away in a variety of settings and under many circumstances.
It can be intimidating to walk into a room in a new setting, especially if you know no one or where you don't really know more than maybe 1 or 2 people. How do you connect with someone, especially when you've got all these feelings of anxiety or worry? What do you talk about? We all have preconceived thoughts about who we're speaking to and what they've accomplished. Sometimes, those things are true. Sometimes, those things are not true.
Listen in for Julie's #1 super special tip. She also shares ideas for what to talk about, how to join a group of people you don't know, and how to best ensure that the people you talk with leave the conversation feeling like it was awesome and so worth their time!
Julie Berman - Host
Julie Berman (LinkedIn)
I absolutely LOVE being the host and producer of "Women with Cool Jobs", where I interview women who have unique, trailblazing, and innovative careers. It has been such a blessing to share stories of incredible, inspiring women since I started in 2020.
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When you ask someone questions, and you are listening, and holding space for them and you're genuinely interested, and who they are, what they do what they have to say, getting, you know, valuable insights. It's like amazing what you can learn. And sometimes even if it doesn't have anything to do with who you are and what your life is like, then you may never know like, it may come in handy that you got this really interesting tidbit of information or perspective that you made this connection, and have this new contact with this person. It's really incredible the way that we can connect the dots looking backwards. Hey, everybody, I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative crews. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path, or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big, and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who filled robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody. This is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So this is going to be a short solo episode where I thought there is nothing like all the sort of holiday events and things that we often go to. And many times we don't know a lot of people where we're going, whether it's for work, to some sort of team building, or corporate event, oftentimes we're going to events with family or friends. And at these gatherings, sometimes it can feel really overwhelming to walk into this room where you just you don't really know more than maybe one person or two people, maybe you don't know anybody very well. And it's like you've got all these feelings of anxiety of worry, like, what am I going to talk about? Click How am I going to make my way over to that person. So I have some tips that I thought I would share that I have developed partially from when I used to go to these, like networking and group events years and years ago. And I had actually gotten laid off, I had lost my job. And even before that, I started going to these networking events, because you always hear like, oh my gosh, it's always about connecting with people. That's most important when looking for a job and also just, you know, building a business or whatever the heck you're doing. So I started going to these events all the time. And I would get so nervous when I would walk in because I usually would not know a single person there. And I was at the time a very young woman I was in my young 20s, almost fresh out of college. And when I got laid off, I think I was like maybe I was so young, I think I was like maybe 23 or 24. So you know, I also didn't have that much work experience. And I always felt like I didn't know what to say I felt like I couldn't contribute that much to the conversation. You know, a lot of times people were older than me, and I just automatically associated that they must be so much more accomplished. And they were wiser, and they knew what they were doing in life. And, you know, they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. And that's, of course not always true. Like now I am older. I don't know that I do know what I want to be when I grow up. But I do love what I'm doing. So that's a perk. So we have all these sort of preconceived thoughts, preconceived notions about like, who it is that we're speaking to, and what they've done and what they've accomplished. And, you know, sometimes those things are true. And sometimes those things are not true. And these tips that I'm going to share, I hope that they help you go into spaces and places that you don't know what lunch people are that maybe you know you're overwhelmed by going into just to give you some practical tips on how to communicate how to go into this situation with little bit more confidence and not worry so much about the conversation that you're going to have. So my biggest secret and ready for it. My biggest secret is ask questions. Ask so many questions. And the key to this is actually people love to talk about themselves. When you ask someone questions and you are listening and holding space for them and you're genuinely interested and who they are are what they do what they have to say, getting valuable insights. It's like amazing what you can learn. And sometimes even if it doesn't have anything to do with who you are and what your life is like, then you may never know like, it may come in handy that you got this really interesting tidbit of information or perspective that you made this connection, and have this new contact with this person. It's really incredible the way that we can connect the dots looking backwards. Of course, it's hard to do so in the moment, but oftentimes, there's so many things in my life that I've been able to connect the dots on that, like, wow, I'm able to accomplish this thing, or I'm able to do this thing, or I'm able to make sense of something because of where I was in the past. And all these things that didn't necessarily make sense in the past. But now they came together, and I can connect the dots and make this beautiful picture. And it makes sense to me. So that idea of being able to ask questions, is really key. And of course, for me, if you're listening to this podcast, you know that I like to ask questions about what someone does, like, what is the careers that they've had? What did they do? Like? What are all the pieces to it? Where what were they doing before? If they got a degree or any sort of schooling or education, or training? Where was that from? I love to talk to people. Also, I'm obsessed with travel. So I'll ask people about where they've traveled. I'll ask people about I love food. So I asked people about like, oh, what's your favorite restaurant in this part of town? Or like, What's your favorite food in general? What's a new restaurant you've been to? So there's like so many different areas that you can ask people about depending on what interests you, like, if you're into sports, which I'm totally not. But you can ask someone you know, like, what is your favorite sports team, and the NFL or like basketball, soccer or whatever you are really passionate about, you can talk about family, you can talk about some of your favorite spots to maybe explore something new, like exploring museums, exploring art or festivals, just there's so much that you can touch on as far as topics. And there's nothing wrong with talking about a subject area that is actually not completely related to the event. So like, let's say, for example, you're going to a networking event. And it's the primary reason is to meet with other people, maybe you're looking for a new job, and you're hoping to meet with new people, there's really nothing wrong with getting to know someone as a human being first, you don't have to launch into the fact that you are looking for this new job right away, or what you do, you can always ask questions about like, what they do who they are, and sort of get those interesting tidbits from both of you about like what you love what you're passionate about, and then slip in the fact that like, Oh, I'm in this industry looking for this type of position. If you happen to know anybody, I would like be so appreciative. And it's really a beautiful way to have someone walk away from the conversation, when you ask a bunch of questions about them and show genuine interest where they're like, oh, my gosh, that was such a great conversation. It was so interesting. I was so engaged. And it was such a fun time. And you know, the reason is, because you were literally talking about them the whole time you were asking questions, you were being interested, you were being genuine. And so that person walks away with surprise, surprise, feeling awesome about that interaction with you. So this is a huge, huge tip that I have used for a very long time for over a decade, like 15 years, probably. That hasn't worked so well. And it's really fun for me, because of course, I love having conversations with people. And even if you feel like this isn't something natural for you, I promise you. The more you do it, the easier it's going to become because when I first started, like I said I was super young, I was not confident. I felt like everyone in the room was way more like way cooler, way more accomplished. They had just way more experience. And so I was really hesitant, but I swear it works. And as far as tips for people, like if you see groups of people when you first walk into the room and you're not sure which group of people to walk over to. I honestly kind of look for a group that's like maybe three to four people. There's someone there who seems like they've got kind of smile on their face, maybe some open body language. They're gesturing a lot like because usually that means they're excited about something they're talking about something and how I do it is I tried to insert myself into the conversation where I just walk over and I'm like Hey, is it okay? If I join you if it's a place where I can slip that in without interrupting, you know, if they like kind of stop when I walk over to them, and they're, they're like waiting for me to say something. Or sometimes I literally just walk over, smile at everyone in the group and wait for a break in the conversation be like, Hey, I hope it was okay that I came to join you. But I left introduce myself and Julie. And then I just started asking them questions about them. And especially if you overhear something, and you have something to ask about what that person said. In that conversation, that little small portion that you heard, you can always ask a question about that. You can ask about, oh, what were you guys talking about? Or do you guys know each other? There's a lot of different ways that you can end our conversation. And if they do know each other, you can be like, Oh, how do you guys know each other for how long? And then ask more questions about what you find out. So there are a lot of ways that you can get yourself involved in conversations in a meaningful way. And it's a beautiful thing to be able to hold space for someone and to have conversations. And I think that hopefully, by you doing it and practicing as well, using some of these tips, you will for sure, get better, it will become easier, it will become more second nature for you, it will be easier to think of other questions and directions to take the conversation. And another key thing is that, while it is really hard not to be thinking about your own answer, or your own sort of response, or brilliant things to say in response to what they're saying, try as hard as you can not to be crafting your answer while that person is talking. Because then it's really sort of splitting your attention. You're not holding that, that space for that person in the same way. And I actually think sometimes it's okay, we don't often give ourselves a moment or two in between when someone's done talking for us to gather our thoughts and respond. But honestly, if you take like a second or two or three to, you know, have a pause before you talk, it actually shows that you're being really thoughtful about giving that person the time that they need to share, and then that you're being really thoughtful in your answer of how you're responding. So I hope that this is helpful for you. And just having some nice conversations that may be coming up in your near future. This is something that I still do in my everyday life. Now whether it's recording a podcast, whether it's like starting out and chatting before after I hit the record button, whether it's when I go out. And I'm in a new setting where I don't know where I am exactly, or I don't know who I'm surrounded by, like I've never met the people before. This is really, really helpful for conversing and for starting those conversations. I've gone to two networking events that were like women empowerment events. This past two or three months, I'm going to another one this weekend. And it can be so daunting, and just sort of nerve wracking, honestly, to go into a room where you know, no one, and you don't know what to expect. You don't know how things are going to go or the timing or anything. It can be really nerve wracking. But having these tools in my toolkit is really helpful. And it makes me know that I have somewhere to start a conversation. And I love doing it because I've met some of the most incredible, lovely people. And I hope this allows you to do the same thing in your own life. So take care. I hope that if you are here in the United States, you are looking forward to a really beautiful Thanksgiving with loved ones family and friends. And that you use these tips if you do let me know I would love to hear about how things go. You can always reach out to me on my website WomenwithCoolJobs calm or find me on LinkedIn at Julie Berman or on Instagram at women cool jobs. Thanks so much for listening. Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you love the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it It would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women who will jobs again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day