I recently gave a presentation at a HLB Mann Judd breakfast entitled Networking for Professional People. I shared some of my own experiences and learning using networking for the last decade to grow two businesses from scratch, and how I developed a strategic plan around networking that I use with clients as well as for myself.
A key difference in networking for people in professional services and in advisory roles is that traditional approaches to growing a client base, such as hard-line ‘sales’ tactics or having coffees with anyone and everyone, do not work. This is because these tactics fundamentally do not align with the professional personal brand.
“Many traditional networking tactics fundamentally do not align with the professional personal brand.”
A topic we can all relate to, there was much discussion and sharing of experiences during the presentation. We considered:
- What the good, bad and ugly experiences of networking can teach you about how to do it better
- Which of the ‘5 Misconceptions about Networking’ (H. Ibarra, Harvard Business Review) is holding you back
- Benefits of quality networking: information, innovation, sounding board, getting things done, open doors, make an impression, grow business, maintain relationships, stay top of mind
- Why networking is so powerful: Face-to-face, being known, being connected, being in the path of opportunities
- What works: yin/yang, quality not quantity, environment, selective & strategic, considering your personal brand & networking ‘style’
Audience members were asked to think about their goals for networking and how this might determine their networking choices, as well as activities before, during and after networking. There was also a consideration of target audience and determining which networking activities would be most effective to reach them.
Finally, I left participants with a homework task to help them develop an authentic, natural – but planned! – positioning statement they could use when introducing themselves in networking situations.
Networking for Professional Peopleproved to be an in-demand topic with maximum engagement from the audience. I trust that it offered insight as well as practical applications that can be put to use right away. Thanks to the fantastic team at HLB Mann Judd for hosting another highly professional and enjoyable networking event and inviting me to speak again this year.
I have been asked by several organisations about repeating this topic, so if you missed this event, get in touch so I can let you know where the next presentation on networking will be held, or alternatively, to explore holding your own keynote or team workshop.