I have the hardest time walking the halls at clients. I simply don’t know what to talk about with people outside my direct stakeholders. It’s the part of this job I am@the worst at. What are some practices others use (especially partners) to do this and think about developing follow on work?

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Roaming the hallways of your client looking for someone to talk to isn’t a good approach.

Work through your direct stakeholders to broker the proper introduction or have your direct stakeholders invite them to lunch or dinner. Listen to your most senior stakeholders about where their challenges are and activate your own network to address those challenges. Nobody likes consultants rummaging around - make sure the stage is set properly for an effective and constructive introduction.

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Even figuratively I find it's been a struggle in a Zoom/Teams world. The quality of relationships is not as strong given you have fewer casual/social interactions. The impromptu introductions are also happening less frequently because the formality of getting added to a Zoom call vs. "hey I'm having a chat with our EVP of XYZ, why don't you join me as I'm sure he would love your thoughts about ABC".

Just remember that all those client ppl are in a way just like you and me—they are doing their best at their jobs and trying to make a jump to the next level. Unless they are the CEO there are upward opportunities internally. Put yourself in their shoes: What would help them make a name for themselves? What would a “step change” look like in their area of responsibility (finance, supply chain, HR, whatever)? If you can help them be successful they will want to help you be successful.

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Talk about doing hood rat things with your friends

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Just start with a smile and a hello. If that’s where it ends, you’ve already left a great impression. If not, then it becomes the beginning of a conversation about who you are and why you’re there.

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Ask them to get a coffee. And then don’t talk about work. Get to know them on a personal level. I often bring in donuts / bagels etc. Then I let them personally know so that they take a break and chat for a few min.

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I literally don’t talk to people in the halls of my client

I moonwalk in these circumstances

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