Having the right people in our network can help us to up level our income, open up career opportunities and elevate our personal impact and influence. Some people seem to do this with ease but many of women I speak to either do it poorly or not at all.
We women are generally good at using our networks for friendship but we are not so good at using connections for influence and power, asking for help or positioning ourselves for the next perfect opportunity.
It is time for us to stop waiting for the right connections to land on our doorstep and waiting for the phone to ring. It is time to start taking action. For more on this check out last weeks article “Who’s on your A Team?”
The time you spend creating and nurturing relationships now, will pay off in the long run. Networking is not about the quick wins. It is not about having hundreds of passive connections on Linked In or fleeting conversations of 180 characters or less on twitter. It’s about developing quality relationships with people who, over time will have your back and care about your future.
I was reminded of the power of connections recently at the CBA Women In Focus Conference. Firstly, this was a rich melting pot of power, influence, generosity and warmth. These women cared about the success and growth of everyone else in the room.
The photo below is a representation of just some of the powerful connections that emerged during the conference in previous years; women helping women to grow their careers and their businesses. It is a reminder that there are countless opportunities out there and at the core they are all connected to people.
The best and most exciting opportunities are not being advertised on Seek or in the Saturday papers. They are discovered through having conversations. We must be brave enough to let people know where we are at and what are goals, dreams and aspirations are.
I heard recently that putting yourself out there is a bit like putting your business card out to the universe. I have seen this in my own work with a stream of opportunities coming my way in recent weeks after a jam packed diary of conferences, courses and breakfast events over the last month or so.
So my question today is “Are you networking in the right rooms?”
Are you attending conferences and events, getting involved in the high profile projects or being part of a committee etc where you get to meet, connect with and form robust genuine relationships with people who will propel your career forward.
You are in the wrong room if there aren’t people who are smarter than you or have the influence to help you achieve your goals and aspirations
Is it time to get into some new rooms? It is through these rooms that you can form powerful new relationships to make things happen for yourself and for other people.
Here are 5 Keys to creating powerful connections
1. Be strategic. Networking and nurturing relationships take time and energy, something that many women don’t have much to spare. So let’s be strategic about this.
Get clear on where you are heading and types of people who have the power and influence to help you achieve those goals. Although this might sound a little icky or inauthentic for some… I know as women we have the skills and care to think relationship first – business second.
2. Pay to play. Networking is an investment in your future. Seek out conferences and trainings where you will not only learn and grow but also where you may meet the types of people who are likely to open new doors for you.
One of the most rewarding elements of the events I run is to see relationships develop throughout the event and to receive emails and phone calls long after the event is over to thank me for introducing them to someone new that has now resulted in securing a new role or opportunity. The generosity of women to help, support and offer up solutions and opportunities always brightens my day!
3. Up close and personal. We build stronger relationships, more quickly when we meet people in person. We can look people in the eye and see their heart and soul, feel their energy and build a deeper level of trust. It is time to get out from behind your computer and into face to face meetings and events.
4. Play the long game. Just like dating, good relationships take work and strengthen over time. If you have aspirations of being on boards or want to head down a new career path some time in the future, start to nurture connections now with people who have influence in this area.
5. Kick fear to the curb. Many women use the excuse of “I don’t have time” when I ask about the strength of their networks but deep down I think it is more closely linked to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of asking for help, fear of not being good enough to do it alone, fear of letting go of their fiercely guarded independence, fear of … insert here any number of unfounded terrors.
Career growth comes from taking bold action, putting yourself out there and being courageous enough to allow your network to support your aspirations.
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