Building Your Personal Brand Through Networking
Whether you like it or not, in-person networking is back. I have already attended a few in-person events, and after being apart for so long, these events now feel electric. There is nothing quite like the power of in-person conversations, collaboration, or the ideas generated during a meeting or conference.
While Zoom has done its best to keep us connected, virtual fatigue is real.
Despite potentially longer hours and less human interaction, the Harvard Business School found that most Americans enjoy working remotely and want to keep the option. A majority of the 1,500 people surveyed say they believe their performance excelled, and they even grew in their professions.
While I believe this to be true, I also believe that in-person networking is an important component to developing a network of trusted advisors and building your personal brand. Without this, professional development is limited.
Practice Your Personal Brand
Many people in my network say they didn’t miss in-person events cancelled during COVID. I get it. Too often networking meetings and conferences can be cold, fake, and sometimes painful to attend. But the skills you employ at these events are directly tied to building your personal brand.
As with my golf game, when it is terrible, I don’t want to go out and play. But I won’t get better staying at home. And unless you are a social media star, inter-personal business events are critical to growing your network and brand. So, if this wasn’t a strength of yours before COVID, you have a new chance!
Reframe Your ROI Thinking
Most people attend events without a plan and hope the food is OK. They don’t maximize their time, and generally leave with very little to show for their efforts. They talk to those they already know, meet a few new people, and schedule zero follow-up activities.
The main reason for the terrible ROI is that their PURPOSE is wrong. Successful networking is not distributing business cards or air-sharing your contact information. It is about CONNECTING and helping others, ultimately resulting in personal gain.
Adam Grant, a Wharton professor says, “Business success often depends on how we behave with others, do we give, or do we take?”
In-person events offer us a chance to GIVE, by sharing Connections, Opportunities, Resources and Experience (CORE). By making meaningful Connections, advising potential new business Opportunities, offering useful business Resources, and sharing our good and bad Experiences, we are helping others with knowledge and assets. We are connecting them to a stronger future, which will return under the adage, “Givers Get.”
Attend with Purpose
When you attend your first post-COVID event, do so with a new attitude and execute a plan with goals:
- Enter with a mindset to seek and offer helpful information and opportunities for others.
- Meet at least three new people and schedule three post-event follow-up activities or conversations.
- Be modest and authentic.
- Become comfortable being uncomfortable – that is OK!
With post-COVID networking events happening again, approach each as a new opportunity with a renewed focus producing valuable results. Effective self-promotion and personal brand development are critical for your professional growth and success and will be immensely valuable to those who meet you!!
Could you use some help building and communicating your personal brand? Contact me at email@example.com for sales leadership consulting and sales management.