Getting to Yes, And

Melanie Katzman: Connect First


Melanie Katzman

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Dr. Melanie Katzman sits down with Kelly to discuss her new book, "Connect First," which provides smart and practical ways to ignite success, meaning, and joy at work.

You write about the scientific evidence that smiling is an extremely effective way to make connections in business, but I wonder if you had concerns about that idea as a sexist trope that gets put on women in the workplace?

“So in the book I really wanted to be careful to say on the one hand, smiling is a neural ignition key. It gets people activated and if you want to connect with someone biologically, we can't resist a smile. So you want to have that in your toolkit, but equally you want to be able to use it like any other tool effectively and in the right places. So I wanted to caution women in particular who have been coached to be pretty and smile, to not see this as a superficial or sexist reminder, but more of an invitation to use something at their disposal when it feels right for them.”

We spoke to Dolly Chugh on the podcast and she cites the research on how vital it is to pronounce someone’s name correctly, I was so pleased that you doubled down on that in your book.

“Yes, thanks for asking me about that Kelly, because knowing someone's name is so important and actually using it correctly and pronouncing it - even if it is foreign to your tongue - is really important to show respect. Our names recognize our individual identity. They say, 'I see you, I acknowledge who you are.' And without a name you're allowing somebody to move into the shadows, so a name activates the individual you were addressing and also honors them.”

We have a tradition at Second City before every show or workshop we go around and pat each other on the back and say, “I got your back.” 

“Love it, love it. So my team, what we do is right before we start a program or go into a facilitation for a company is we just check in with them and they go, 'what do you need to shine?' And we just whiz around really quick and sometimes somebody will just say, 'you know what? My throat is sore and please just make sure that you speak more than me.' It can be very tactical, you know, when somebody else might just say, 'give me a thumbs up if I'm on the right track.' Or someone else would just say, 'just make sure I have a glass of wine when I'm finished.' But it's just that quick check in to say again, 'I see you. I'm here with you. We're in it together.'”

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