By Guest Author Dan Schawbel
[In the first two parts of his series, Dan defined the concept of a personal brand and discussed how to build and maintain one. Here he elaborates on the social aspects of a personal brand with excerpts on visibility and networking.]
Visibility Creates Opportunities
A key part of branding is visibility—clearly displaying your value to the world. The more people who either know you or have heard about you, the better. Opportunities for advancement and success will arise through your connections and visibility—created through the repetition and strategic placement of brand messaging. Effective brand messaging allows you to maximize your potential to create positive opportunities.
Brand visibility and awareness are the first steps toward its acceptance by customers. Becoming aware of a brand is the first step in a customer’s purchasing process. If people don’t know about you, your brand will go unnoticed. Instead of hiding under your bed sheets, push them back and let people know you exist! Visibility allows you to spread your influence. This book will teach you strategies for communicating your brand, but the main idea is that if you want your brand to be known, you have to make it known.
Within an organization, the greatest opportunity for you to gain visibility is through spheres of influence. Your sphere of influence is an imaginary area between you and the individuals who have endorsed your personal brand. The goal of a sphere of influence is to capture the minds of as many of your colleagues or peers as possible and to convince them of your abilities, while establishing trust and mutual respect in the process.
Always Be Networking
To expand your sphere, you must network effectively. The more people who come into your sphere, the greater your chance of success. Furthermore, the object is to get influential people into your sphere—they already have large spheres of influence, which you share if you have good relationships with them. With a strong sphere, you can persuade an audience to support you on a project or encourage a recruiter to hire you. As your sphere continues to grow, over time it will turn into a powerful network that can further your career and even open unexpected doors.
How should you go about expanding your sphere? Find ways to interact with your fellow employees and network with as many influential people as possible across groups, departments, and corporate hierarchies. Networking occurs in every situation you encounter with friends, colleagues, family, and even teachers. As you befriend others, they will be more inclined to become part of your social life and extend opportunities, possibly in their own corporations.
Don’t forget to network outside of your company as well, because there is no such thing as job security anymore. Most people network only when they are searching for a job. When this happens, your intentions are obvious, and people won’t go out of their way for you. Be sure to indicate what you’re interested in, so when people hear of a job, your name comes to mind. Make your life one giant networking event!
[Here Dan offers good networking practices and ones to avoid.]
How to Network Successfully:
How Not to Network: