According to The Amazing Business, “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know”. I beg to differ. For me:
“It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you” – Susan Roane
When I began my journey of self-discovery and rebranding (refer to my very first blog post), my initial plan was to share my journey as a young female professional, navigating her way in a big corporate. I wanted to inspire the modern career woman through this platform; and essentially use my blog as a creative outlet and to maintain a balance between work and play.
My blog received incredible support, and as I began to understand my brand, I realised that I needed to take certain steps to raise the profile of my brand, to ensure that I achieve the goals that I had set for myself.
I therefore, made the conscious decision to build my networks, and form meaningful relationships. This entailed stepping out of my comfort zone and really “putting myself out there”; walking up to complete strangers and saying “Hi, I’m Kim.” – which can be pretty intimidating for a rather reserved person. But, as the saying goes: “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” If I wanted to build by brand, I needed to make my brand accessible (refer to my post on Personal Branding).
In the past, I attended a few events, however I can’t say that I have really capitalised on the opportunities that have come out of attending these sessions.
Networking is NOT about attending events, this needs to be dispelled. Networking is about engagement.
Below are just a few examples of how networking can benefit your personal brand and career:
Contrary to what many may believe, attending events and networking has increased my self-esteem. Meeting new people, having my opinions sought on certain topics is really empowering. This is ideal for an introvert who’s looking to advance themselves in a particular business environment. There are many methods and techniques to get over the initial shyness and actually start talking to people, but the important thing to remember is that it can be done.
EXCHANGE / SHARING OF INFORMATION
I love learning new things and discovering new ways of doing things. Networking is a great opportunity to exchange knowledge, learn about certain business techniques from your peers, and stay abreast of the latest industry developments. A wide network of informed, interconnected contacts means broader access to new and valuable information.
It’s important to continuously expose yourself to a variety of people and information as possible. Not only do you absorb useful information, but you have the opportunity to impart some of that knowledge to others. I guess it’s fitting to say that “Knowledge is power”.
Networking is about sharing, not taking. It’s also about forming meaningful relationships and building trust. Networking also assist creates opportunities for you to help others, and vice versa. I am so blessed to have met amazing men and women, from different backgrounds and industries. Never take for granted the contact you make along the way, as they may come in handy at a certain point in your life. New ventures could emerge from forming such networks.
In closing, I am reminded of an empowering Women’s event I attended last year. Khanyi Dhlomo said:
“Build and nurture strategic relationships.”
I hope you found the above useful, and that you’ll take the first step in building your personal brand.