Archive for the ‘ Authenticity ’ Category

But, I don’t have a network!!

Well, you should be ashamed of yourself then.  Certainly there are people who know and like you, and people you know and  like.  That’s a network.  The question is, if they needed something could they call on you?  Would they know why they should?  If you needed something would the people in your “network” take your call and be willing to help?

4.5 keys to having a successful network (# 4 is really long):

  1. Be Authentic – I think I might say this in every blog topic I write.  Be the real you.  Don’t try to play a role you are unfit to play.  Learn the value you have to others, learn how to authentically communicate what you do, who you are and the value in knowing you.
  2. Cultivate relationships before you need them – A professional or peer network is only as good as the relationships.  Waiting to build the relationship until you need to ask someone for guidance, advice, a job or anything when they havent heard from you for years, or don’t even know who you are could prove challenging.  Set a goal to ‘ping’ valuable network contacts every so-often to keep the relationship alive.  My best advice – keep it about them, not about you. Always use a pay-it-forward approach and offer help / assistance.  They will then ‘owe you’ when you most need it.
  3. Know your value – what are you good at, what do you know? Who do you know?  How can you help.  Get clear about that.  A fun exercise is to keep track for a month what types of things people ask you for.  What are you best known for?  Keep a list.  If it is different that what you want to be known for, think about your personal brand.
  4. Use technology – LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter – whatever.  Use technology to keep in touch.

I personally use LinkedIn for business, Facebook for friends.  That line is blurring slightly, as I really like some of the people I do business with, and would consider them friends and welcome them to see under the hood of my personal life.  Define your own boundaries there.

Make sure your online profile that you use for professional networking matches the brand you want the world to see, then use the technology to congratulate people on new jobs or other updates you read online.

Build your own online network by searching for people you worked with in the past and present – think as high up the chain as possible, and to people who reported to your direct reports, vendors, partners, clients.  Stay in touch.  The world of business is small – you never know who you might cross paths with again in the future.

When you are inviting someone to connect, I suggest writing a personal message.  LinkedIn has their standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” text.  I like to use something a little more personal.  “it was great meeting you at _____.  I enjoyed your talk on______.  I would love to keep in touch via LinkedIn..”  or something similar.

After accepting someone’s invitation to connect, respond with a “thanks for reaching out” message.  Start building your online rapport and relationship the moment you hit ‘accept’

Having an established professional network can be incredibly valuable.  It is not about the # of connections or friends you have, but the quality of the relationships.

Written by Zack Clark, MBA

Zack is a Senior Consultant and one of the founding partners at Five Degrees Consulting. Connect with on LinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

This is a blog we share  between several of the Consultants at Five Degrees, guest authors and colleagues.  We work with companies large and small on People and Organization strategies.  Our work specializes in organizational development, leadership effectiveness and executive development. With a focus on working with leaders at all levels to create an intentional corporate culture, we help organizations increase employee engagement, energize working teams, develop critical leadership competencies and enhance strategic communications for more information about our services, please connect with us.

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Your personal brand: what are you known for?

“What do you do for a living? “ Probably one of the most common questions we are asked when we meet someone new.  I was speaking with a client last week and in the course of conversation asked what her husband did professionally.  Her initial response was vague, and ended with “I don’t really know”.    This got me thinking.  Could my wife really tell someone what I did for a living?  Could my father?  And is it important?

Several years ago, when my first patent was granted a friend said “I didn’t know you were that smart” I still think she was joking, but what if she wasn’t? Perhaps I had not accurately conveyed to her through the course of our conversations that I was a driven, smart individual.

These two issues are closely related, and have to do with personal branding. When we first meet people, they quickly assess our credibility, energy, trustworthiness and a variety of other really important attributes that, for them, define who we are.

Strategic personal branding starts by defining how you want to show up – intentionally.  Putting the real you, or best you out there.  This never means manufacturing a you that cannot be lived up to; it includes being open and letting people see who we really are and what we are capable of.  Part of how we brand ourselves, is to talk about what we do and establish credibility. Start creating your personal brand by writing down all the things you want to be known for, the things you are good at, and the things that others might say you are good at.  Is there a common theme?  Are there some consistencies?  Learn how to tell those stories well.  I have one client who decided he wanted to be known as the expert of a particular product line within their organization.  He started talking about the product whenever he had the chance, studied competitors, processes and market position.  He has the product on his desk, and if you ask will tell you all about it.  None of this was by accident.  He decided to be known for something, became the expert, promoted the fact that he was the expert, and now has senior executives coming to him for advice.

Defining how you want to show up, creating a strategic brand for yourself will not just ensure your spouse, parent or children can say in a sentence what you do for a living, but can lead to job referrals, improve your reputation within the organization and position you right where you want to be…

Written by Zack Clark, MBA

Zack is a Senior Consultant and one of the founding partners at Five Degrees Consulting. Connect with on LinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

This is a blog we share  between several of the Consultants at Five Degrees, guest authors and colleagues.  We work with companies large and small on People and Organization strategies.  Our work specializes in organizational development, leadership effectiveness and executive development. With a focus on working with leaders at all levels to create an intentional corporate culture, we help organizations increase employee engagement, energize working teams, develop critical leadership competencies and enhance strategic communications for more information about our services, please connect with us.

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