Lisa Chau (Wellesley, Dartmouth '06) is the author of Small Talk Techniques: Smart Strategies for Personal and Professional Success. She founded Clover Canal to guide international clients in content creation, digital strategy and the development of compelling narratives to showcase professional leadership. Her writing has been published over 130 times in Forbes, Buzzfeed, Thrive Global, US News & World Report, as well as Huffington Post. Since pivoting into entrepreneurship in 2009, Lisa has built a strong network of entrepreneurs, investors, and executives across a myriad of industries and judged pitch competitions.
Lisa's important words:
"It's extremely important to be flexible in response to ever-evolving landscapes of unprecedented & inevitable change."
"Add value always by volunteering without the need for instant, or any, reciprocation."
"Time management is extremely important, as is a constant effort. All of my commitments are built upon work I've done in the past."
What was your plan after completing your graduate degree from Dartmouth College? If you had a plan and you didn’t follow it, how did you let go of that plan?
After completing my undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, I had a very untraditional and non-linear career trajectory. I've had to pivot and reinvent myself many times. It's extremely important to be flexible in response to ever-evolving landscapes of unprecedented & inevitable change.
Content creation and digital marketing are relatively new fields, especially online. Why did you decide to go down this career path?
Innovation invigorates me. I've always been fascinated in cutting-edge technology and science. I decided to make content creation and digital marketing my career path because it leverages online tools to connect people and cultivate community. Most recently, I've been working with cryptocurrency and NFT enthusiasts.
What do you think are some of your greatest strengths that make you fit your role in speaking, leading, and teaching on content, marketing, and communication? How did you develop them?
Practice, practice, and more practice of my Clover Canal Principles:
1. Cultivate intellectual curiosity by constant reading across topics, learning and applying new knowledge. Being a better thinker will make you a better communicator throughout your network. Always keep the mindset that you have something to learn from everyone — From toddlers to the most successful CEOs. There’s always something more to know.
2. Articulate ideas effectively through practice, integration of feedback and reiteration with the evolution of progress. As I mentioned in Forbes, Tuck School of Business corporate communication professor Paul Argenti states, “You can’t be a great leader if you’re not a great communicator. You can’t execute it if you can’t communicate it. It’s that simple.”
3. Nurture a purposeful community by connecting with others who will support you in the short and long term. Strategically expand your circles but remember that Networking Should Never Be Forced, as I co-authored with Harvard Business Press author & Forbes contributor, Dorie Clark.
4. Add value always by volunteering without the need for instant, or any, reciprocation. If you add value, your offer to help will rarely be declined. Use your efforts to open doors. Money should not be the only form of payment you accept — Access can be much more valuable, and indirectly lead to money in the long term.
You’ve written in multiple news outlines and magazines including Forbes, Buzzfeed, US News, and the Huffington Post. How were you able to establish yourself as a credible writer and have your writing be published?
Again, practice, practice, and more practice of my Clover Canal Principles. Also write across multiple platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, newspapers, etc. Engage with reporters to build rapport.
In our day and age, why do you think it’s important for high school students to begin thinking about entrepreneurship, communication, networking, etc.?
We are in an era where entrepreneurship is growing, and to be successful, the skills necessary include effective communication and long-term networking. The earlier these skills are meaningfully developed, the greater the advantage students will have in their future endeavors.
In terms of networking, how do you think high school students can go about doing that and what benefits do you think it’ll have for them?
Talk to everyone, not just fellow students. Exist beyond the bubble of high school and be curious about the people you encounter off campus. Regularly. Make a schedule -- Maybe talk to a new person every week. If you live in a small town, use the internet to connect with others globally. Converse with people unlike you.
You’ve taught a summer course at MIT, been a speaker at Smith College, spoken at numerous Ivy Leagues, and been on the Board of the Dartmouth College Club of both Upper Valley and New York. How do you juggle all of these commitments in terms of timing, preparation, effort, etc.?
Time management is extremely important, as is constant effort. All of my commitments are built upon work I've done in the past. Think about each new project as an extension on of what you've already done and will do.
Connect with Lisa on her LinkedIn.
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