Networking – Raising your PROFILE!

Nov 17 2015

I often work with leaders on ‘managing’ their career. Where terms such as ‘key stakeholders’, ‘stakeholder management’, ‘trusted advisor’, ‘mentor’, ‘advocates’, ‘sponsor’, and ‘networking’ come up in the conversation; usually followed by an uncomfortable shifting in the seat and a mental groan by them!

But is this the common reaction?

Everyone knows they need to do something about ‘managing’ their career, but either don’t know where to start, or feel uncomfortable about the idea of ‘self promotion’.

Because of this I have decided to create a quick guide to the terms, state what they actually mean and hopefully get rid of their scare factor.

  • Key Stakeholders – these are critical people who are influencers in your role and or business.
  • Stakeholder Management – proactively managing how you interact with key stakeholders.
  • Advisor – someone you turn to for advice (although infrequently).
  • Mentor – A constant presence that you can look to advise you on all aspects of your role. Typically someone who has a great area of knowledge of what that role requires.
  • Advocates – people who when asked will say positive things about you.
  • Sponsor – Somebody who knows you deeply, and will put their reputation behind you – he/she will spend time lobbying to promote and defend you.

One of the biggest things that I find come up again and again is the word “Networking” and all that it brings with it. Contrary to popular belief, it is not ‘glad handing’ or ‘working the room’…

Many organisations arrange events that have a ‘networking’ element, so what is networking and how do you do it?

Its simply, an opportunity to meet people, to find out more about them and what they do, and see if there are any areas of interest that are mutually valuable.

What to do: Meet, engage, say your name slowly, and briefly what you do – 30 seconds. Then engage in conversation for 2-3 minutes. Look out to invite and introduce others and then you can move on.

 Top tip: Don’t trap people and don’t get trapped.

Remember to ask specific questions and reply with specific answers – not just ‘fine’. Relax and breathe!

Oh and did I forget to mention that you need to be able to juggle a glass of wine, shake hands and eat petit fours all at the same time!

Have fun.




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