Join Lida Citroën for an in-depth discussion in this video Networking your personal brand, part of Creating Your Personal Brand.
- When you think about networking, where are some of the place you imagine you can network? I believe you can network anywhere. At company meetings, sitting on an airplane, at a business event or even in the elevator of your own office building. When I teach networking, I call it intentional networking. Because I want the emphasis to be on designing a networking strategy for you that meets your personal brand goals. One of the first things that I like to emphasize is that often times when we think about networking we look to connect with people we call decision makers.
These are the people who can transact with us, hire us, offer us that promotion and of course they're important to our strategy, but there's other types of people that we want in our network who are going to add value to our strategy. The second category are what I call information sources. These are people who may or may not be decision makers. But they know stuff and they have insight and industry information. Maybe they know a lot about trends in different areas of your business. And they can really add value when you try to be competitive in your positioning.
Another type of person I would look for when you're out networking are supportive people. People who are encouraging, who are going to be your allies and your advocates. Because it takes a lot to build a personal brand and getting a support system in place is really important. When we look at networking as a concept it's all about win win. The networking relationship has to be mutually beneficial. It's not just about what I can do for you or how you can help me. It has to be reciprocal. So when you identify who you need to know and where they are, then your networking strategy allows you to build relationships to connect you to those people or those communities.
Networking is a relationship tool. It allows you to highlight your value proposition and stand apart from a competition in a way you design. So let me share three tips for building an intentional networking strategy. First be a resource. Focus on building the relationship and meeting your contacts where they are. Not just by focusing on what you need. I've built great networking relationships by helping somebody in my network connect to a colleague that they're really trying to get in touch with.
Or providing some type of resource that maybe I don't even charge for. And they're so grateful that they stay connected to me and they see me as valuable. The second point is stay in touch with your network. Don't just think of networking as a one time thing that you use to get something. This is about building a relationship and it will come back to reward you over time as your career grows and you find additional ways of building synergy with those contacts. And third, always be genuine.
Authenticity and genuineness is critical for networking. If you show that you're real and human and you have hopes and dreams and you have questions, people are going to want to help you. They'll want to help be part of your journey. If they suspect that there are ulterior motives or somehow you're not being genuine and that helps us put the guard up. So show your authenticity and engage your network in helping you build this career and this professional life for yourself that meets your objectives.