Handling Risk: Three Decision-making Strategies for Consultants

Another in Our Continuing Series on Consulting After 50

When making a critical decision like starting your consulting practice, fear of failure is top of mind. “It’s risky!” you think. We associate risk with unsafe or harmful activities like racing fast cars, scaling craggy peaks, and abusing drugs. It’s the potential for negative outcomes that worry us. But risk can also have a positive impact. It can lead to growth, independence, and success. So when thinking about risk in a consulting context, let’s be clear—entrepreneurship may be risky but it’s not harmful, and further, there are ways of turning risk into opportunity.

Sociologist Jens Zinn (2008, 2017) has explored the relationship between risk and decision making. He outlines three general ways to make decisions: 1) Rational strategies; 2) Non-rational strategies; and what he calls 3) In-between strategies. We need to use them all!

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Using Social Media: Wallflower No More

Another in Our Continuing Series on Consulting After 50

If Facebook were a place, it would be the pub you go to on Friday nights. LinkedIn would be a job interview room. Twitter would be your local coffee shop. So says Nature. The best way to energize your business profile is through social media but the speed of change and number of apps available probably make you dizzy. Facebook is okay connect with friends and family, but who needs the others, right?

Well, you need them! Social media and digital marketing grow more powerful by the day. With a little preparation, your on-line presence can promote your skills and expertise even before you launch your business. Start small, be persistent, and you’ll soon be joining the digital dance floor.

Some suggestions:

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Cat Got Your Tongue? An Elevator Pitch for You

Another in Our Continuing Series--Consulting After 50: Your Audience is Waiting!

Find a tall building and ride the elevator to the top. Time yourself. That’s how long you have to explain why someone should hire you—in simple and catchy language. The elevator pitch is a popular networking and marketing tool but it’s more than that. Creating this mini-speech will help you clarify your skills inventory. When you want to explain what you do, the words will just flow.

There’s a lot of information out there on how to make your pitch but not much on what to say. It is even more challenging for evaluators and applied researchers because we tend to talk in jargon but the pitch has to be in simple layman’s terms. It’s harder than it looks.

Here’s a template to create your basic pitch. Complete the following table using your skills assessment for key topics.

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