Beyond the Boardroom
No one is unimportant.
Make it your mission to discover the value in each person you connect with. Don’t make the mistake of discounting people or the environment in which you’re connecting with them in. In today’s world, everyone knows someone, and their networks could be comprised of valuable connections and knowledge you may have never thought would be useful. As you meet people, take the time to listen – not only to who they are and what they do, but what they need and are looking for. Is there a way you can help to garner goodwill for the future? On a related note, don’t go into networking opportunities with the sole mindset of collecting business cards. It’s not a numbers game, and those cards will be useless without some meaning behind them.
Know your desired outcome, but never lead with it.
They say timing is everything, but valued business relationships don’t just happen overnight. There’s something to be said for small-talk and putting in the time to create genuine relationships and connections with those you’re engaging with. It’s definitely a key step before coming to the ‘ask.’ Take it slow. Everyone is busy today. If someone has agreed to meet with you, take confidence from that and focus on nurturing the relationship before cutting to the chase. It could take a few meetings before finding the right to explore how you may be able to work together or connect each other in your various networks.
Look as good as you do online as you do offline.
Today, your first impression is often not face to face. Instead, more and more connections begin online. Social networks have dramatically impacted the way we connect with people. Consider the following when building out your online profiles, especially on professional networks such as LinkedIn:
- Identity: Who are you? Who do you work for and/or where have you worked in the past? What experience and skills do you have? What do you care about? Some of this information is already available online, and your personal profile gives you an opportunity to further build your story beyond basic credentials.
- Relationships: Who are you connected with? Do you share mutual relationships with the person you’re looking to network with? On Twitter you have 200 followers, but you only follow 50 people/brands. Who are those followers? The understanding of your likes and dislikes can be easily read from your online identity.
- Activity: What are you doing both personally and career-wise? What are you posting about or liking? What events are you attending? Your digital presence has never been more important.
About the Author
James serves as the Director of Emerge212, overseeing all operations, branding and strategic alliances for the full-service office suite provider. James has driven property expansion and has worked hand-in-hand with his business partner, Alexandra Bogen to concept and design each location with the modern entrepreneur in mind. With a background in business and hospitality, James understands how important one’s environment is—whether it’s in the home or at the office. James sees the office as a space that should always be elevating your company’s image and reputation as well as meeting your operational needs both today and in the future. Prior to joining Emerge212, James was the Marketing & Events Manager for the Time Warner Center at The Related Companies. There he focused on creating dynamic, experimental environments at The Shops at Columbus Circle. James holds a Master’s Degree in Real Estate and a Graduate Certificate in Hospitality Management from New York University. Follow James at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jameskleeman/.