Michelle Tillis Lederman is the CEO of Executive Essentials and bestselling author of The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking…Because People Do Business with People They Like and the new book The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact. She has worked with clients ranging from government to academia to non-profit to Fortune 500 companies, including Madison Square Garden, Citi, Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young, Michigan State University, Sony, and The Department of Environmental Protection. She has been featured on CBS and MSNBC, and in the NY Times, Forbes and Working Mother magazine.

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is Michelle Tillis Lederman?

Michelle describes herself as a petite powerhouse. She grew up as a have-not, not that she was poor but her family knew what it was it like to struggle on the lower end of the financial spectrum. All she dreamed about as a child was financial security which directly influenced her choices later in life.

Michelle originally started out as an accountant because she was good with numbers and thought that would fulfill her desire for financial security. It didn’t work out very well so she explored other similar positions looking for the right fit and purpose. After finding herself as the only woman on a global venture capital team, she realized that communication in that industry was terrible. She began to explore the idea of effective communication and one of the first trainings she ever taught was how to give effective feedback.

You need to recognize in yourself what you really want to do and believe that you can do it. You have to own it and then go make it happen. Michelle wasn’t necessarily seeking her current career but she was open to learning more. Be open to those moments wherever you are.

You have to design your ideal. If you’re questioning whether or not someone will pay you for something you are considering offering, ask yourself why they need it and how can you tie it to their bottom line.

  • Providing Effective Feedback

You cannot make anybody like you. Once you accept that, you can enable them to see what is likable about you. It’s not about who you are in isolation, but who you are in relation to who you are trying to connect with.

When you have information to give to somebody that they might not take well, you should start the conversation with “Are you open to…” By saying yes, they put themselves into a position to open themselves up for the information that’s coming, even if the feedback is negative.

  • Connecting, Influence, and Mindset

There is an advantage to being a better connector, it makes things faster, easier, better. If you’re trying to grow your business, you’re going to do it better if you’re a connector. That means connecting with other people and helping other connect as well.

There are seven mindsets of a connector: open and accepting, they have a clear vision, believe in abundance, they trust, they are social and curious, they are conscientious, and they have a generous spirit.

The mindset of abundance may be one of the most difficult of mindsets. Reputational and competitive risk is always something to overcome because they come from a mindset of scarcity, which is very common for most people in society.

Having a clear vision is another common challenge for many people. How can you make something faster, easier, or better without knowing what that looks like?

When you ask for something, you don’t want the possibility of someone saying no putting the relationship at risk. You have to trust that what you give will eventually come back and that the spirit of generosity is in the other person.

Connectors follow up and follow through, so they don’t say yes to the things they can actually do.

These concepts can definitely be taught. They didn’t come naturally to Michelle but she evolved and grew as a person and an entrepreneur. You can’t outearn your personal growth, continuous learning and improvement are very important.

Reference: The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact, Michelle Tillis Lederman

  • Michelle’s Takeaway

Be your own best friend. You believe your own stories, be the friend that would tell you the things that you need to hear to believe in yourself. Pick three people, pick someone you want to strengthen a relationship with, someone you want to connect with but haven’t yet, and one other of your choice. Find a reason to reach out and start talking. Be social and curious, look for opportunities to add value, and share your vision and what you’re working on. When we share we tap into other people’s vision and desires and you can never know where a conversation like that will take you.




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