Whether you are considering a career change or looking for new business, networking is key to your success, be it attending conferences or events, or taking part in group discussions on social media. Showing yourself as part of the discussion and the socialising is what can help you further your business opportunities, says Michael Nord.
We are all busy, and it seems that business life post-2009 (the financial crisis) is putting more strains and demands on business people: we are expected to delivery faster, help break down silos, work in more collaborative ways and look for integration opportunities. At the same time many people’s jobs are at risk, and we must become more ‘employable’ as one of my clients put it.
This means ensuring your CV and your business profile is up-to-date and using the correct terms and words that will interest future employers, be it within or outside your existing organisation, industry or specialty.
And you must be seem as a networker or bridge builder. The world of business is becoming more complex due to the new disruptive technologies emerging, and getting your name out there as well as building connections can help you to reach the next level in your business career.
But how do we find the time do it? As one of my clients says: “The business environment is always changing and it is important to reach out. I try to set apart one hour a day to stay connected, both inside and outside the company. It’s about capitalising on opportunities, bringing the best ideas together in an organic, natural way.” This clearly demonstrates that being active and building your network is something you need to set time aside to do, whether blocking time in your work calendar or using an evening after work (every week), where you use the social media of your choice to reach out.
My own networking activities
As a Dane living in the Netherlands, working in an international environment, building and maintaining my business network is paramount to my success as a consultant (thefifthbusiness) and adviser to global companies.
I not only use social media (like LinkedIn, Twitter and others) but also interact in organisations and real networks. I try my best to accept invites to networking opportunities offered by embassies, organisations and so on, but if I have attended one or two events and don’t feel any value-add, I may be more selective with that particular organiser.
As a communications professional I am member of a local and a global network, and by volunteering for committees and taking on responsibilities such as board positions I not only expand my network I also gain knowledge I can use in my work life and sometimes in my private life (coaching etc).
My network of choice is the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I use my network if not every day, then every week. Having the right network gives easy access to people with knowledge different than mine. I follow the musings of my colleagues, I read blogs and tweets from clever people, and take part in online and real-time discussions and events of the organisation, both nationally, regional and globally; and every time I build up my network and add new skills.
So go network!
The IABC EMENA Region is hosting the 2016 EuroComm conference in Rotterdam from 18-19 April. Grab the opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the world. Register before 31 January and benefit from the early-bird rate. We also have a special bring-a-friend offer!
About Michael Nord
Michael Nord is the current Past Chair of IABC EMENA Region Board and has 25 years of international experience both in-house and consultancy: building, leading and facilitating multi-national teams, coaching leaders to maximise communication impact internally and externally; establishing strong relationships with executives, and providing strategic steer to internal and external communications/marketing projects across a variety of global regions.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @