195: Meet new friends in a new city - with Christina Somerville
About Christina Somerville
Christina Somerville is what you’d call a corporate refugee. Last year she decided to walk away from her 20-year sales and marketing career to better utilize her talents for connecting well with people and coaching others to do the same. She launched ConvoConnection - a resource of instruction and encouragement to help people have more genuine and enjoyable social connections. She feels passionate about empowering people to believe in their own social self-worth.
Every week through her blog she shares ideas, tips, and best practices for eliminating social awkwardness and self-doubt to make way for projecting social ease and confidence. Because socializing happens all day long, her topics can be easily applied to both personal and professional interactions.
Why did you decide to leave the corporate world and start ConvoConnection?
“While I was in sales and marketing for 20 years and in my personal life kind of, you know, offline, I would have friends and colleagues come to me and say ‘You know, can you help me with, you know, preparing for this interview?’ or ‘I’ve got to talk to my boss about this topic, what should I say?’ And so that kind of happened very naturally.”
You decided to enter the tech industry AND move to a new city. How did you both launch a new career AND find a new personal network?
“My husband and I, this is back in 2013, we were living in Cincinnati, Ohio at the time and we both were like, you know, I don't think this is our seed like I think we were ready to move on to something else. We had really kind of scraped our way through the recession of 2008. And we're just ready to kind of move on. So, before we decided to move on geographically, both of us kind of made a pact with one another. And we said…”
What one question can you always ask to open up any networking conversation?
“I read an article about Terry Gross from NPR. And she says that she always asked this question at the start of her interviews, and I'm like, this is brilliant. And she says all she has to say is ‘so tell me about yourself.’ And what's so brilliant about that question, in my opinion, and she even acknowledges, is that it puts the onus on the interviewee to share what they want to share.”
Can you share with me your most successful or favorite networking story/experience that you’ve had?
“One of the best outcomes of my work, it wasn't actually to my benefit. It was to my husband's…when you interact with a whole bunch of people, sooner or later you're going to run into super connectors. And these are people who are usually like recruiters. They just know everybody. There's this other gal who I met who she is like, she's the mayor of Portland. She knows everybody…”
How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?
“What's right in front of you takes your attention. And if you don't keep up on it, time passes on and when time passes on the relationship kind of grow stale. And this is both personal and professional. So, what I do is I kind of set appointments for myself.”
What advice do you have for the professional on growing their network?
“Think about just being kind of the outlier and just make the first move. People would really appreciate it, that you go up and introduce yourself.”
Digital networking or traditional networking?
“It probably is a hybrid. But yes, I would lean more on in-person networking…it's very efficient to make those initial connections today via LinkedIn or any kind of social media but like, let's go further than that.”
Any final words of advice for our listeners?
“Remember that almost everybody wants to connect and you making the first step, it pays dividends and people really do appreciate it. So, put in a little bit of effort, lean in a little bit, and you'll be really pleased and surprised about what you find.”
You can get in contact with Christina at:
LinkedIn: Click Here
Check out Christina’s blog post about making friends in a new city! Click here.