Recap (February 28, March 14 and 28, 2019) Storytelling, Networking, and LinkedIn

March was a crazy month with being co-chairing a conference in Asia and then going on vacation. I’m very sorry for the delay getting the recordings out to you. Here are the last three webcasts:

On Stories… All stories comprise 3 parts:

  1. The Hook – set the time, place and circumstances; establish the conflict, contrast or contradiction
  2. Challenge and Change – the longest part of the story; describe the main journey and what happened at the end, what changed/was different at the end
  3. A Clear Theme – think of this part as your answer to “So what?”; what’s the purpose of your story, what are you trying to illustrate to your audience

A related element to a clear theme is how you choose to end your story: open-ended or closed. Use an open ending if you wish to engage your audience in a discussion or to solicit their insights. Use a closed ending if you want to drive home a point and avoid any ambiguity regarding the message of your story.

There are 5 basic plots in business communication:

  1. Origin Story – founder’s story, or how a person, business, idea, product, service, platform, movement or opportunity came to be
  2. Rags to Riches (variation: David vs. Goliath) – challenging beginning with circumstances stacked against individual, but surprises everyone with a dramatic turnaround
  3. Rebirth – this is about second chances, redemption
  4. Overcoming the Monster – any overt or covert entity or situation that can threaten survival of some sort or thwart someone from reaching an important goal
  5. The Quest – stories about reaching an inspiring goal; aiming for a seemingly unattainable prize; doesn’t have to begin from a point of challenge; in fact, many are enjoying a good life, but are not content with the status quo and strive for something bigger

In a recent blog post, Esther Choy talks about how to utilize 3 of these plots in presentations.

In the chat room, one of you asked whether it was a good approach to tell multiple nested stories when communication one’s value; in other words, telling a story inside of another story. Esther’s advice is “No.”

Because audiences tend to have fairly short attention spans, it’s best to avoid nested stories. Instead, I encourage people to follow the National Speakers Association’s advice: tell a story, then present the main point. Then another story. Then the main point. Story. Point. Story. Point. The different stories should all illustrate the same main point.

For more on how to Let The Story Do The Work, visit Leadership Story Lab.

In our conversation on networking or, as I prefer to say, “building relationships,” Ngee Key Chan challenged us to evaluate our mindset when we approach networking: do we see it as a transaction to get something from the other person or as an opportunity to give first? Ngee Key advises approaching networking from a mindset of giving first in order to create a strong and authentic relationship with the other person.

To learn more about networking strategies, visit (this subscription is provided through Gies Online Programs).

Finally, when it comes to using LinkedIn to advance your career, Hannah Morgan suggests 4 different tactics:

  1. Create an engaging profile, especially your headline and summary. In your headline, do not rely on the default job title from your current job. Say more than “MBA Candidate” in your headline. Instead, state what you can do, what skills you bring or what industry/functions you are targeting. In your summary, elaborate on your skills and accomplishment. Target your summary to the function and industries are are aiming to get into.
  2. Turn on your Career Interests to be visible to recruiter. Let recruiters know that you are actively seeking. Use the given text box to share a note with recruiters.
  3. Include a personalized note when inviting others to connect with you. Make this a habit, even when you know the individual.
  4. Make one post (not merely “Like” someone else’s post) each day to increase your visibility in LinkedIn. Increasing the frequency of your posts increases your ranking in LinkedIn. However, do not get carried away with multiple posts in a day as that will annoy your followers. Keep your posts relevant to your brand or target industry/function.

In the chat room, someone asked about whether international students should write a note to recruiters about their status, informing recruiters that they are open for offers. Hannah offers the following advice:

…adding something about H1-B Visa or even STEM in their “Note to Recruiter” within the Open To New Opportunities section (under Career Interests) sounds like the best place for this.

I know a student who didn’t even mention needing sponsorship until the end of the interviewing process, when the hiring manager asked her. It wasn’t a deal breaker at all. The company typically doesn’t sponsor, but they made an exception for her. So, I lean towards not stating anything on LinkedIn and bring it up during the interview when asked. Once they love the student’s skills, they are more likely to want to jump through hoops for sponsorship….(fingers crossed).

Visit for video tutorials on maximizing LinkedIn for your career. You may also want to enroll in the MBA LinkedIn Intensive found on the left hand menu bar under Focus Programs. (If you have difficulty accessing the videos from the URL provided above, please go to then click on Beyond B-School Career Mgmt Videos.)

Additional resources:

I am trying to edit a recording we did with MBA 2013 alum Sarah Zigman who now works with LinkedIn. In the video, she demos how recruiters use LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions platform when sourcing for candidates. The demo provides good insights into how you should update your Career Interest section within LinkedIn so that it is aligned with how recruiters search for candidates. I will upload that video to this site once it is ready to be shared.

Please join me on Thursday, April 18 for our final career development webcast when I speak with Jenny Rae of Management Consulted about Interviewing for Fit.

Thank you.

Jerome Ng,

Recap (January 31, 2019) – Personal Branding: Why You Need One and How to Go About Building One (Part 1)

Our guest on Jan. 31 was Michael Seaver, a leadership and executive coach based in Arizona. You can find the full video recording here. If you would like to listen to the audio recording only, you can listen to our interview here.

Before we started the webcast recording, some of us started talking about chronotypes. Below is the page I held up on the screen camera. You can find the web link to that story here.


According to Michael, our personal brand incorporates our values, motivators, experiences, and strengths. They come together as patterns that exist through how we live our lives. It is the 3-5 things that make us unique. We then express our personal brand through the work we do, how we conduct ourselves, the color(s) we choose, our body language, what we choose to say in our resume, LinkedIn profile, executive biography, interview, and even when we are out networking. We have to consciously use that same language repeatedly; if it is not utilized—whether on paper or in electronic format—then it is hard for others to understand what is true to us. In other words, our personal brand is expressed both verbally and non-verbally; and it has to be expressed in a consistent manner.


When Michael works with clients on developing their personal brand, he begins the process by having his clients complete a behavioral profile using the DiSC assessment. He then works with them to identify their motivators and value structure. Once he has compiled that information, his clients draft three guiding statements: an intention statement (similar to a mission statement), an ambition statement (goals, vision), and finally their value proposition, which becomes the foundation for their personal brand.


All of us should develop a personal brand, including introverts. All of us, including introverts, should focus on the alignment between thought, mission, what it is that we are and our actions. The greater the congruence and consistency in those aspects of our life, the easier it will be for people to know us for our brand. Introverts can share their brand (this is typically with smaller groups of people) by producing content, for instance, by writing a blog or posting on Instagram. Introverts can also demonstrate their brand within organizations by getting small groups of people together to make sure that those in the group are moving towards a common goal. Additionally, introverts can showcase their brand by getting involved in non-profit organizations within their community.


Job search and career advancement aside, personal branding is also relevant from a job satisfaction standpoint. In a 2017 study of the global workforce, Gallup found that only 13% of the global workforce were engaged. In other words, 87% were disengaged or actively working against their organization. As organizations, this is a huge loss of productivity. As individuals, it means that 87% of the global workforce were working in environments in which they are not satisfied. If we do not know what it is that we want (including the type of environment in which we will be our best) or if we cannot articulate the value that we bring to an organization/team, it will be challenging for us to proactively engage in and be satisfied with the work that we do.


If you would like to work directly with Michael on developing your brand—whether for your job search or career advancement—you can find him at To sign up for Michael’s newsletters, visit For those in the US, you can text the word “discovery” to 66866.


As iMBA and iMSA students you also have free access to Beyond B-School, including their videos on personal branding:

* If you encounter difficulties accessing these videos, go to Beyond B-School first before clicking on the links above.

** To access these videos, go to Register for an account using your e-mail address. Follow the instructions to set up your password and then log in. Note that the password you set expires every two weeks, so you may need to re-set your password after that.


As an Illinois student, you have access to content on To access, go to and sign in using your Illinois NetID (the portion before and password. Once you are logged in, you can access the videos accordingly. However, you must first log in through Illinois.


Additional Resources:


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For upcoming events, please bookmark and follow our blog. See you at our next event on February 14 when I speak with Ross Macpherson, expert resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile writer.