Quick Tip – More effective meetings and gatherings by creating guidelines together

How many times have you left a meeting or social function feeling like it was a waste of time or not what you expected? Sometimes this could be due to hi-jacked or unfocused discussions (going off the rails and expanding the scope) arriving at no decision or an ambiance you really do not click with.

If you are organizing a meeting or social function with a purpose, an easy way to put things in your favor is by framing the context and setting the rules “to play by” or guidelines from the very beginning. This can also be considered a “social contract”.

This works, as no one wants to waste time or step on toes but sometimes we get lost guessing our role and the role of others and navigating invisible social rules. Materializing and clarifying these rules is also a great group bonding experience!

How it works

Where: Any get together: meeting, meetup, social function with a purpose. From 2 to 2 thousand people, though adapt the breadth of the rules to the size. Yes, even at the start of conferences! You will just have to organize a little bit more differently to get feedback.

Where not: If this is a holiday party with no objective to arrive at a result (unless it’s a speed dating ;p) this may be overkill. Also, yes, the rules for two people are different than those for 10. In fact, if small, may be best to create these rules together quickly in the beginning versus dropping an imposing structure on your collaborator(s).

Materials: Write the guidelines as you explain them and keep them visible throughout the full session. So any material to do so, such as a poster or white board, is necessary. Just having the guidelines in the first slide of a powerpoint is not as effective. Writing them with space for more items allows for people to voice their feedback and for you to easily add or modify the guidelines. You could have very easily not thought of everything, that is the power of the group.

Alert! Open and reusable: It is important (especially) when you do this the first time to see it as just a draft, open to feedback. In fact, crave it ! It is a social contract so the group must feel comfortable to continue. These guidelines often can be and should be reused like any contract. So once you set them together, just need to remind the group before each appropriate meeting, ask for feedback and adapt if context changes.

Steps (should take around 10 minutes max):

  1. First introduce the reason for getting together and the objective. Be sure to ask for feedback, modifications and if it is clear. Example: We are here to decide on the vision and next steps for the home-owners association. Our objective is to finish with a vision statement and list of first actions for the upcoming spring).
  2. Explain the Agenda
  3. Then reveal the guidelines, setting the mood. One by one is best. Ask for suggestions to modify, add or delete. Briefly also explain WHY each was chosen. Example (suggest you write only the title of each item and say the rest):
    1. Open Minds – No ideas are bad ideas. Judgmental free zone.
    2. Community in your image – Constructive feedback is welcome. Any ideas to improve our collaboration or initiatives you would like to own are welcome. To discuss at time allotted at end.
    3. Efficient Timing – Keep to the timing to ensure we get everything done. We can always adapt the agenda for next time if structure is too tight.
    4. Listening – One person speaking at a time. Please leave the room for side conversations or to answer phone. We will save time at end for discussions and catching up.
    5. Have fun! – Let your minds be creative.
Image by ThePixelman of Pixabay

Some notes:

  • I find these guidelines are especially important before a brainstorming session or soft-skills workshop to ensure everyone is in the right spirit.
  • Notice word choice for the titles is important (as they will be seen over and over again). I suggest positive wording over negative. Instead of saying what NOT to do (lots of research points to why this does not help behavior change) say WHAT you gain. Also, avoid any phrasing that is too authoritarian… no one likes to feel like you are back in school. So instead of ‘Do not go over time.’ or ‘Respect the timing’ I chose ‘Efficient Timing’. You will gain a more positive mindset culture and increase likelihood of engagement.
  • A bonus perk, is just in constructing these rules with your collaborators (perhaps in a planning pre-meeting or even live with the participants) you are also creating connections, removing potential communication roadblocks and solidifying your own vision.
  • These guidelines could become team guidelines or values. Great idea for a community with a long life and for building and promoting a specific culture.

Let me know if you try it out!

10 Unexpected Benefits of Buying More Consciously… or Not at All!

Saying no to treating myself to that new watch or stopping my Amazon Prime… What a sad world!

Actually, no! There is a transition period, but…

Becoming a conscious consumer has made me happier, healthier, freer, and more present.

Image by klimkin of Pixabay

I treat myself well. I just have removed “stuff as a solution” from the equation.

So, if you are considering becoming a conscious consumer (ecological and social concerns), minimalist, or zero-waste... Have no fear! Here are some of the benefits you could enjoy.

NOTE: I am not striving to be nor I am perfect. Nor do I advocate for “perfection.” These are some of my reflections mid-journey. I leave out the ecological and humanitarian benefit, which is ++++ but less obviously touches our daily lives.

1. More disposable income and time

Duh, I suppose. Buying consciously often means buying less which means more money at your disposal. This can then be spent on experiences, food (yum) or big ticket items that mean more to you. Better yet, it can be saved so you can work less! My husband and I have our own company and we have been able to move down to four day work weeks, partly in thanks to our spending habits and…

2. Realization how little stuff you need to be happy 

Sometimes I laugh at ads that try to convince me how their product will make me happier. It almost feels like a super power in this digital targeted-ad world to no longer feel the pull of consumerism. Though this perception shift does not come overnight, it is a gift in tough times:

Realizing you can be happier with “less” because you already have so much.

3. Super Sheila: Impervious against impulse buys

Cutting down on disposable plastic means you just breeze past half of the options in stores. I just do not consider it and now I do not even miss it.

My super hero pose

4. Eat fresher and healthier

No disposable plastic and limited to no packaging EXTREMELY cuts down on impulse buys of junk-food and processed food and over-shopping. Minimal packaging often means fresher, so if you buy too much, it will spoil.

Also, I stopped going to places for takeout unless I can use my own containers, so that means no fast food. You will be surprised how many restaurants love it when you bring in your own containers.

5. Move your butt

I have to be more active with my new lifestyle. I have replaced delivery with takeout using my own Tupperware. We carry our own containers to the bulk store (detergent, dry goods, …) which for us is a little farther a way. We have a bit more laundry due to using cloth diapers and cloth towels instead of paper towels. It is a great way to bake in some exercise.

6. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt… or not!

There are whole categories of items and businesses I have cut out of my field of options when I shop. The result is that it is easier to just pick something and go, less decision paralysis. Also luckily for everyone, in the past couple years there is a great ecosystem out there of vetted social/eco good companies to patronize, so you do have more options but not too many. 

In some cases, since I am buying with a long term vision (example: one coat for 10+ years) it may prolong the search to find that perfect item. But, when I do find it and I know it will last me a long time the gratification is 10x more than what I used to experience with retail therapy. And sometimes I even find.. that I did not need it after all, so do not even purchase! Pst… for those who love changing out their wardrobes there is still the possibility of clothing-swap events. Free, fun and social!

7. Get Creative! Scratch that innovation and crafting itch.

I have moved from thinking products are what I need to focusing more on solutions. This means I take the time when a new need arises to reflect.

Is it a product I need or can I solve this need another way?

Or better yet, thanks to upcycling and crafting, Can I make it? For example, I thought I needed an expensive breast-feeding pumping bra but ended up just adapting an old-bra to make one. I just put holes in it… lol.

8. Freedom!

I will not act like becoming a conscious consumer completely frees you, as it introduces a whole new parameter and existential dread that is not always easy to navigate (Hello, The Good Place). But I simplified the task by also reducing my consumerism. So now there are whole consumer holiday seasons and fads I just do not care about any more. No pressure to save or deal hunt for. Also, due to minimalizing my house it takes less time to clean… less things to maintain… less responsibility… more space to move all around. *does apartment snow angels*

Inspiration from my friend Jaqueline

9. Free your relationships up

Making the shift towards requesting and giving no gifts and prioritizing just time together, has been a big relief. Instead of scouring for the PERFECT gift that the person may or may not even want… Honestly, even if they ask for it it just may gather dust… I am moving towards instead spending time with and treating the other person. Could be as simple as just a dinner out together. Win-Win: memories on all sides!

10. Open up to your community

I am bonding and finding new friends as we share our tips and mobilize for a better future. I also am getting to know my local restaurants and vendors. I feel even more connected and invested in my neighborhood. It is getting easier and easier to maintain this life-style thanks to our collective efforts.

Finally… Treat yourself!

Most importantly, being minimalist, a conscious consumer, or zero-waste does NOT mean “depriving” yourself. It means just shifting to realign with priorities that were probably there all along. In fact, it often means more resources to treat yourself with, just in a different way. Whether it be a night out at the theater or that jar of really delicious organic macadamia butter….. mmmmm…….. or some extra time-off even if unpaid.

In fact, DO NOT go cold turkey. Much like a diet, it will not stick if you are too tough right away. Ease into it! It takes time to adapt to a new lifestyle and to see the benefits. We need billions of people doing this semi-well and not thousands perfectly.

Here is a nice website to give you some ideas of first steps you can take.

Did I miss anything in my list? Let me know in a comment!

How can I or my company have impact on the world? – Some inspiration from Pro Bono Day Paris 2019

The question I have been delving into lately:

And what if I use my professional skills for social/environmental good?


Are these two worlds so mutually exclusive?

Me ^ – Photo by Riette Salzmann of Pixabay

I am just at the start of my journey but so far from my ‘market’ and in person research (lol Product Owner habits die hard)… The answer is:

Yes, it is possible.

Not only is it possible, more than ever, but there are many people out there like me who want to do the same. In addition, companies are awakening to their societal and environmental responsibilities, if only for the reason that their clients desire it and it will increase their employer desirability.

I am increasingly convinced that the economy of tomorrow is one that is socially/environmentally (social good) conscious. It will not be a question but a fact for companies, that they must integrate social good into their DNA to survive. If we look purely at money, the market will demand this even though the environmental doomsday we are heading towards should be motivation enough. But, hey money talks.

So you desire to use your skills to have an impact? In this article I will give you one idea and some inspiration, but to see the full buffet at your disposition that is a post for another day. Though, if you speak french, here are some notes and ideas from a meetup I helped organize on the subject with some like-minded coaches, Nathaniel and Julien. Meanwhile, please reach out to me as I want to meet more professionals on this adventure.

Quick background: How to have an impact without switching jobs? And what is Pro Bono Day?

So in exploring all my options, one option came up called: Pro Bono or donating skills (without switching jobs) to causes that could not normally pay for them. Or for company owners, allowing and facilitating their employees to do this on company time and dime.

Some options for this (some France only): 

This is a great opportunity as not only is it an opportunity to share what we love to do at work but we can develop our skills further by using them in new domains. Also, often it is a write-off for companies providing it on their time, win-win.

Pro Bono Lab organized a day long conference on this subject called
Pro Bono Day with voices from a diverse set of actors and below are some of my learnings and reactions. My notes are not as complete as I would like, so apologies in advance if I do not give credit due. Please email me any corrections, for those who were there. Here is a the full program with all the names of some inspiring organisations and people. Shout out to my fellow coach friend Nathaniel Richand of Permagile who experienced it alongside me.


One of the many roundtables: Flavie Deprez (Carenews) , Anita Kirpalani (Epic Foundation), Adélaïde de Tourtier (PWC) et Emery Jacquillat (La Camif).

Some Big Ideas

On a personal level…

  1. All skills can be used for the betterment of society. We need all our minds on the issues at hand and not just our “best” minds. You may think your skills are unique to your job but often if you break them down into general know-how areas they are easily applicable elsewhere. Example: A project manager who manages CRM software system deployments knows: logistics, time management, detail orientation, systems thinking, interpersonal skills etc. So despite being quite specialized in their daily work, this person could share their knowledge with a charity that needs help structuring their supply chain or deploying an intranet. Do not forget, this arsenal of skills includes those acquired in your personal life. This same project manager organizes family meals for 15 people every Sunday?  Logistics and people wrangling again! This time for nonprofit…
  2. You are your greatest masterpiece, with no completion date. There is no expiration or prematurity of your skills. We tell the young they are not experienced enough to share their skills to help others… The old, too much experience or not relevant. The middle-aged too irresponsible… Must earn money, no? Enough, we all have something to share and gain. Often just a different perspective alone is an asset. Resource: Mélissa Petit of https://www.mixinggenerations.com/ is doing a lot of work to help us understand the unexploited power of our elder generations (a.k.a. us one day!).
  3. The best way to learn is to do and create, working on the causes that you relate to. Programs such as Toukouleur and Enactus believe in this power of learning and gaining confidence via launching projects from A-Z, especially for adolescents. So why not create your own local project or Pro Bono help someone with theirs? In addition, it is recommended to focus on the causes that motivate you most personally as they will keep you driven. There is enough diverse interests out there to cover our most pressing issues.
  4. The best way to gain understanding of others is to do alongside them. To do Pro Bono is to not subjugate your help on others but to come to the table to see how you can collaborate and elevate each other’s efforts. Those we are “helping” have key essential knowledge that must be taken into full account.
  5. There is no “too little” and each cause their merit.  Any drop of help is not too little nor should be shamed. Some can give an hour a year, some dedicate a whole sabbatical to helping, and that is fine. We are also not all motivated by the same causes and all enter this journey at a different time and from different places. What counts is we take a step and open up to and grow our spirits thanks to social good.
https://twitter.com/TheRialMichelle/status/1164644109081907201

On a company level…

  1. Pro Bono or social good programs should never be used as a band-aid for bad HR and unethical practices or to sway public opinion. (Anita Kirpalani – Epic Foundation) They should be done with the pure intention to inspire our employees and enrich their lives and skills. You may try to fake it but this is a type of “greenwashing,” where the intention is only to hide faults, will easily be recognized as false from within and around.
  2. True intention? With time people will tell. There is a lot of public apprehension when money enters the social good sphere, but be consistent in all actions and persistent and with time your intention will be clear. Even if you have to take breaks at points to rethink your approach, that is more than fine, it does not mean people will not understand in the long run your intent.
  3. One way to embody this intention is for the direction or company leaders to go out and move forward their social-good goals. This could be as simple as the leaders taking part of a Pro Bono or nonprofit initiative themselves. Lots of social good organisations or nonprofits may need your experience! As mentioned above on the personal level, this is an opportunity not only to share knowledge but grow and better inform the leadership of the company. It is valuable time spent.
  4. Set your intention… have a mission statement that is clear and guides all actions and products on all levels. This mission must be co-created, owned and referred to constantly by everyone involved and surrounding you. Perhaps this means reconnecting with an old mission statement or emerging a new one. This mission statement can be the driving force to go from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. Find or refind your mission’s pulse regularly by seeking the opinions of your employees, clients and society at large. They are the true meter and not your own opinions. Do not just stop at your clients but take in consideration the opinion of those in the locations where you produce and the localsphere of your clients.
  5. As often… When we build a product we think: will it work and can we scale? But we are missing an essential 3rd question: and how does it effect our society? There is no private-only sphere of influence… Everything has a societal effect. – Charlest Benoît Heidsieck of Le Rameau
  6. Forget the “perfect” model, we must all find our own “pertinent” model. Our strength is in our diversity. – Charlest Benoît Heidsieck of Le Rameau on finding the perfect social-good model. This principle can be applied to so many other situations! Best is to be inspired by others but in the end build a model to fit our, our clients’ and our localsphere’s needs and unique motivations.
  7. So that means… As organisations we must break down silos between government, public and charitable organisations. What was once a small microsystem is rapidly expanding and now an ecosystem. We can harness this power by collaborating and doing business between all types of social good organisms. Also, as consumers we must vote with our money.
  8. It bears repeating: Companies must engage or die. Impact + profit, not just profit. Consumers want sincerity and social awareness. And our children will (and already do) want even more.
Green Revolution – Photo by Michael Gaida of Pixabay

One last big question…

  1. “No, the question is not how can tech save us… But how can the Probono and sharing our skills for a societal impact save tech?” – Charlie Tronche of HelloAsso

Pandora’s Box

In the end the gift I got out of this conference and my recent adventures into this new world, is hope. Easy to be fatalist until you go out and see the doers. And we are amassing an army.

So go out there and do. And don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss in the meanwhile. If you live in Paris, our next meetup for social good curious and doers is November 20th. Join us! Allez-y!

What is a Coach? + Agile for small brands and UX research for all …

Part III is out of my sit down with my friend and research design extraordinaire, Nikki Lavoie (and overall inspirational BOSS). She is founder and CEO of MindSpark International and the UX(r) Factor vlog.

Part II in case you missed it is here, though it is ok to jump to this part. Part III focuses on: Agile applied to smaller brands, what in the heck I do as a coach and how qualitative UX research can help my clients (or anyone).

Would love to know your thoughts and questions. How did you apply Agile to your small brand? What are your unique needs? Have you worked with a coach before? What are the best practices for UX research + Agile? Discuss.

On the run? This series is now available as one full episode in podcast form here.

An American Agilist in Paris perspective: French vs USA agile motivations, what is the future of Agile and how can I get started?

Part II is out of my sit down with my friend and research design extraordinaire, Nikki Lavoie (and overall inspirational BOSS). She is founder and CEO of MindSpark International and the UX(r) Factor vlog.

Part I in case you missed it is here, though it is ok to jump to this part. Part II focuses on: Agile motivations in France vs USA, a little bit of the history of Agile, what is future and what is a small step forward if you are interested in implementing Agile.

Pst: the full article on first babystep towards Agile and the Agilist I reference around 10:00 is Nicolas Kalmanovitz.

Shortly the final video in this series will be released, which will focus on implementing Agile and it’s mindset in small companies.

Would love to know your thoughts and questions. What is your experience in Agile in other countries? What do you think the future is (Agile or other)? What did you do first in your Agile journey? Discuss.

On the run? This series is now available as one full episode in podcast form here.

Final vlog is out! Check it out.

Agile? What is it? All buzz? UX Research plays what part?

I recently sat down to discuss Agile and UX Research with my friend and research design extraordinaire, Nikki Lavoie (and overall inspirational BOSS). She is founder and CEO of MindSpark International and the UX(r) Factor vlog.

This video is a great little intro into Agile (or my view on it) ;p and also some of the pitfalls. Check it out!

This is the first in a series. Next we talk views of the international community and our experiences working in France. EDIT: Part 2 is here.

Would love to know your thoughts and questions. Agile all buzz? How have you applied UXresearch in your agile practices? Do you like superheros? Discuss.

On the run? This series is now available as one full episode in podcast form here.

Tuto – Animer Une Réunion – Et les réunions à distance ? Quels son vos règles ?

Réunions à distance ? L’horreur ! Je reviens sur ScrumLife avec quelques astuces pour aider installer la culture et l’engagement à distance. Beaucoup des règles peuvent appliquer même aux réunions en personne ! Autres idées ? Dîtes-moi !

Cliquez ici pour mon autre vidéo sur des équipes distribuées et ma présentation.

But wait ! Un exemple pour la route – règles de fonctionnement … cocrées

Commencer de mettre en place des règles de fonctionnement des réunions au sein de votre équipe (à distance ou en personne !). Pour faire, juste brainstorm en groupe (les gens à distance aussi) et voter. Puis placer les règles dans un endroit en ligne et visible pour tout le monde à voir. Tester et puis les revoir après un mois ou deux. Voilà !

En bas un exemple des règles de fonctionnement, mais tout dépend sur votre problématique et votre contexte :

  • Une personne parle à la fois
  • N’hésitez pas à clarifier : Faire un signe/boîte à Moo/bruit/function sur le logiciel … quand perdu pour signaler de la mauvaise connexion d’internet ou si vous avez une question
  • Coupez le micro pendant vous ne parlez pas
  • Utilisez la vidéo
  • Assurez tous les locaux ont de la bonne connexion d’internet, logiciel réunion à distance et capacité pour vidéo
  • Soyez à l’heure sinon prévenir l’équipe
  • Commencer à l’heure même si tout le monde n’est pas là
  • Toujours décrivez qu’est-ce que vous montrez pour eux à distance (sportscast)
  • Envoyer l’agenda en avant de la réunion (24 heures). Tout le monde doit le lire avant.
  • Toujours quand vous avez des supports, les envoyez en format digital à tout le monde au moins 24 hours avant la réunion
  • Utiliser des rôles délégués, tournant, les coéquipiers à distance incus
  • Fin de réunion, le scribe envoie les notes à tout le monde/placent sur le wiki/etc.
  • Quel d’autres ? Dîtes moi dans un commentaire



The New Worker

NOTE: I wrote this for a writing competition hosted by USI. It was originally posted June 2017 on this blog. I have left the content the same except removing one dead link.

I wanted to reshare this as more and more I see this article coming true. Are you a New Worker? Please share in the comments your experience with this “new breed.”


It is clear that a new type of developer has emerged, as described in Github’s Paul Saint John’s 2016 USI talk, but what truly inspired me is his hint that this new breed is also sprouting up in other domains. And that this rebirth was made possible thanks to the very platforms and applications created by the New Developer.

What is this New Developer… err…. Worker?

My view of the anatomy of the New Worker.

The New Worker thrives in a self-feeding cycle starting with a drive to innovate and differentiate, but no longer is this conception done in a vacuum. As Paul Saint John describes for the New Developer:

Learn > Code > Work Together (wash, rinse, and repeat)

Replace “code” with “create content” and you have the New Worker. Continuous learning and social collaboration is key to their success, often harnessing the power of the internet community. 

But where to find these creatures?

Here are just a few of the many examples of these New Workers outside of the development domain:

Science and Engineering

  1. Collective Intelligence initiatives are emerging in the sciences, such as Climate Colab which hosts contests in everything from land use to energy supply with the goal to “open up the elite conference rooms and meeting halls where climate strategies are developed today and allow anyone with a good idea to contribute.”
  2. An online forum of industry experts created to share trade secrets in order to innovate in renewable energy has enabled the founder Doug Coulter to advance towards creating a nuclear fusion reactor.

Medical Field

  1. While opening up clinical data so that the global community can work on it is still very taboo, there have been some initiatives which have already improved patient treatment. Such as a contest from the New England Journal of Medicine concerning blood pressure that was won by a team at Clalit Research Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  2. Communities of medical professionals are forming for those who want to share their expertise, find fellow trailblazers and create partnerships to navigate a world bogged down by bureaucracy. One of these communities is Health Innovators, which has gained 1,600 members since its founding three years ago.

Arts, Animation and Video gaming

  1. Twitch, a platform for gamers to showoff their skills live (45 million visitors per month as of 2013), has now branched off into live streams for artists. Not only did this platform further legitimize the ‘professional’ gamer and gaming coaches and boost indie video game designers, but now it is allowing for artists to real time create, transparently demonstrate their skills, and garner new clients. 
  2. Two student animators got the attention and job offers from Disney and Pixar despite no professional experience due to their animated short The Present shared at festivals and on Vimeo.
  3. DOTA which started as an open free mod created by a fan for WarCraft III now has over 10 million players as of 2015. This first mod was improved by several community members before becoming a sponsored game.

As for a personal example, as an Agile and organizational coach, I am starting to see more and more Agilists open up their tools for free use and feedback, such as Ajiro and Funretrospectives.com. John Saint Paul’s USI talk inspired me to continue to push forward and give my knowledge openly, even enable others to do “my job,” (much like the new developer who creates applications for others to create applications) as I am certain it will only open new opportunities and promote innovations in my field.

One final correction

Photoshopped ;p Strike out code and enlarge it to content

So, I would suggest one minor change to John Saint Paul’s last slide, to expand it to fit the New Worker: 

Those who enable the creation of content, whether by contributing or creating the space to do so, have the power. Numbered are the days of silos and CVs because the worker of the future needs to be part of a community to ensure their success.

Much like the communities initially pioneered or literally constructed by the New Developer. 

Product Thinking et toi (and you) – Why everyone should use it and apply to their professional and pro life + Best Practices of Product Management

(English below or jump there)

Les “best practices” de Product Owner comment est-ce que vous pouvez les utiliser pour améliorer votre propre vie ou vie profesionnelle ? Les découvre dans mon atélier j’ai fait hier à Agile Paris by Night de Agile Tour

Les diapositifs : https://lnkd.in/dXvRd58

Le feuille d’exercices : https://bit.ly/327AK0b

Chapeau à Agile Paris by Night … toujours un événement formidable et inspirant. Merci encore. C’était mon honneur d’anime mon atelier avec autres orateurs supers. Grand merci aux participants pour votre énergie, votre participation et vos éxchanges.

Svp, si vous les utilisez m’envoyer du feedback comment ç’a passé 🙂

— ENGLISH —

Yesterday I reawoke the workshop “Everyone is a Product Manager (Yes, even you!)” but did it completely in French. Just in case it may be of use to you here are the slides in English from when I did it at LeanKanban and AgileNord in 2017.

It goes over the best practices of Product Management PLUS how that can even be applied to your personal life. I crave your feedback!

Slides: https://www.slideshare.net/…/everyone-is-a-product-manager-…

Worksheet: https://goo.gl/YtNwt4

Please be sure to let me know if you use this, how your results were or any feedback! Thanks.

[Try this!] Introduce yourself with what you are currently learning and build your Learning Ecosystem

Image by Gunter Ladzik from Pixabay

I have been testing a new way of introducing myself, especially when at professional conferences and meetups. Though, I feel strongly you can use this throughout your life.

How many times have you talked for a long a while with a new person only to at the end realize there is a connection or opportunity to learn or collaborate? You then scramble to exchange emails and hope to connect and talk more later. You spent most of the conversation dancing around subjects or worse talking about the weather, when what most people want and need is connection and true exchange.

Let’s be frank, there is too often than not a lot of blah blah Rainy Outside blah that no one enjoys.

So I propose:

Instead of introducing ourselves by just our expertise, we should say what we are currently learning.

It is a bit of a way to create a skills matrix adhoc. It also engenders the mindset that we all (Yes, even consultants!) have something to learn.

Example (and a currently true one):

Hello, my name is Sheila. I am a business coach specializing in lean, agile and product vision. Currently I am delving into Lean Startup, working on my writing and practicing my Spanish. How about you?

Better yet ask them, “What are you passionate about?”

And perhaps, the person will respond, “Actually I am fluent in Spanish! Want to meet up practice? I could pick your brain on agile. I am passionate about…” Or, “I am also learning about Lean Startup! What books are you reading? I found this great one…”

Thoughts? Please, let me know your feedback if you try it.