career advice, career management, Careers, leadership, Networking, Personal Branding, Sales and Marketing, self employed, small business

9 Steps to Building Your Network: Learn From Strong Leaders

Mary Rosenbaum | November 29th, 2011

One of the benefits I derive from working with clients on their 360 assessments is the ability to see how certain skills and talents appear consistently in the assessments of many successful professionals and leaders.

One of the key brand attributes that usually ranks near the top is their ability to build vast networks and communities across their companies, their industries, as well as outside their immediate sphere of influence.

What is it about them or what do they do that makes them such great networkers and community builders?

Based on my analysis, I see it as a combination of specific actions geared to building a network, modifying some behavioral traits so you are someone who is sought out by others, and leading with those values that makes others want to be in your network or community.

Actions:

1. Provide great follow up. Timely follow-up is the first step for turning a casual encounter into a strong tie.

2. Develop good listening skills. Communication must be a two-way street. Some people have said the ratio should be 80% listening and 20% talking. Real relationships are built on learning how others think and what they need.

3. Be helpful. In order to build relationships, giving is even more important than getting. Provide assistance, make connections, and reach out on behalf of others. Make sure that your helpfulness is not geared to getting something in return.

4. Stay committed. You must be committed to building and growing your network- it takes a lot of energy to seek out those who you can help and who can ultimately develop into your brand ambassadors.

5. Be dedicated. Building a strong network across the various areas of your life takes time and patience – and lots of it. Make sure you dedicate the time necessary each week to building your community.

Behavioral Magnets:

6. Be positive. A positive attitude is a magnet. People like to be around you when you give off positive energy. The glass half-full always trumps half-empty.

7. Spread your enthusiasm. A can-do approach makes you someone who others seek out. It is like putting out a welcome mat. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious and helps motivate others to action.

Lead With Your Values:

8. Be trustworthy. Trust is the basic building block for growing any relationship. It is also the basis for doing or being in business with anyone.

9. Be sincere. Inauthenticity is easily seen and felt. Give, help, listen, and befriend, because it benefits them, not you.

So whether you are a salesperson, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, a manager, a small business owner, or new to your leadership role, following these steps can help you grow your network, build out your community, and achieve the success you want.

I know there must be others to add to this list. Please share them with us.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


Personal Branding: It’s All About the Suit

Mary Rosenbaum | November 16th, 2011

Since when did personal branding become the same thing as putting on a new suit, having a change of heart, or changing your hairstyle? It seems as if there are many opinions and just as many misconceptions of what personal branding is about. Some of them include:

Personal branding is about

–     how you dress and how you look

–       how your website looks

–       how you want other people to see you

–       who you aspire to be

–       packaging so you can sell “you”

–       fascinating others

So what is personal branding?  It’s about knowing who you are, what your strengths and talents are, aware of your distinctions and differentiating qualities and abilities, and the value you provide. It’s about having the confidence to live in your own skin and be who you are in all you do.

Personal branding is important in today’s culture because people want to take control of their lives, their jobs, and their careers. Knowing your strengths and how you are unique and memorable – and living it – is a place we all want to be – a state where all is good with the world. It’s a place of authenticity.

Having a strong personal brand is not a guarantee but it is a major advantage in moving you forward in your career or your business. At work and at play we are attracted to people who are confident in who they are and what they can deliver. Confidence is the result of self-awareness, and that is the basis of a strong brand.

Personal Branding is not about packaging or fascinating or deciding you want to be a different person. It’s not about that new suit. It is about putting in the work to learn how you can leverage those areas of strength and distinction so you can be all of who you are in everything you do.

On another note, I am really excited about a one-day in-person workshop I am presenting at the end of January in NYC – Personal Branding Boot Camp.  This one day event is for professionals who want to develop greater clarity on what makes them memorable and their service or product unique so they can stand out from the competition. Whether you work in finance, law or real estate, are in sales, or are an entrepreneur or small business owner, here is a great opportunity to learn more about what makes you stand out and how to leverage it.

I usually deliver this workshop inside organizations for their high performing professionals. For the first time I am offering it to you. I will be limiting the number of participants in the group and keeping it small enough to allow for everyone’s participation. More information on this event will be forthcoming in a few weeks. In the meantime please email me with any questions.


Grow Your Network – Leverage Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 2nd, 2011

Part of leveraging your personal brand is communicating it to and connecting with people who are in your target audience. After all, you want those people who are in a position to be your brand ambassadors to know about you.

The key is to expand your target audience beyond its current parameters – but in a meaningful way. This is not a numbers game. I am not encouraging you to increase your followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook or contacts on LinkedIn. Instead I am advocating a deepening of those relationships if they merit it and expanding your circle to include others that fit your parameters.

What do I mean by that?  Take a look at your existing network. A good way to do that is to look at your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts and how they aggregate. Are they relationships that can expand your reach into communities that include your target audience? If so, do they have a good understanding of the value your bring to your organization or your clients? Can they be your brand ambassadors? A broadening and deepening of your relationships will ensure that the answer to those questions is yes.

Clients always ask, “how can I expand my network?” If you work inside an organization, don’t make the mistake of just focusing on your managers and co-workers. It’s just as important to communicate and ultimately develop relationships with those outside your organization. When you think about it the people you know and communicate with regularly (those you work with and for) already have a pretty good idea of who you are and the value you provide. It’s those people outside your organization and outside your close friends network that are the ones who can provide you with:

–     new information

–     new ideas

–     new contacts

–     exposure to different opportunities

Here are some ideas for expanding your network.

–     Join an organization – professional or not for profit. Participate in a meaningful way so you can form relationships and allow your personal brand to shine through.

–       Increase your communication with people you see only once or twice a year. If possible, off-line always trumps on-line.

–       Introduce your friends and professional contacts to each other. Be generous with your contacts and they will be eager to reciprocate.

–       Contribute to the success of others. The goodwill that generates from this practice is priceless.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Being a strong leader means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru