Lights, Camera, Action!
Networking is a type of performance. Professional relationships are different from friendships in that the fundamental purpose is mutually benefitting each other’s careers. This means that networking conversations are not exactly about getting to know the other person. Instead, a networking conversation consists of several people performing to each other as more valuable versions of themselves.
This sounds dishonest, but it isn’t. Every job requires some form of performance, from pretending to be more excited about your company’s products, to performing friendliness to coworkers and bosses, to even performing as accessible and fun on social media. Acting as a better version of yourself is part of every job.
You Catch More Flies With Honey
When networking, professionals perform as their most trustworthy, most likeable, and most important selves. It’s no surprise that Jimmy Fallon, who performs as likeable characters, is a master at networking.
Fallon’s roles and personas are all based on likeability and accessibility. Even his Southie teen Sully is based on an open, good-hearted style of humor. His celebrity impressions, from Adam Sandler to Neil Young, are friendlier, more honest versions of the real celebrities.
What Would Jimmy Do?
All his characters, in real life, would be excellent at building professional relationships. In this lesson, students will use these characters as foils for developing networking strategies. They will decide how to approach the Weekend Update guy, how to impress Jarret of the slacker webcast, and even think about what they could offer Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon himself. Finally, students will act out a networking event with their classmates.