"The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate - for the good and the bad." Colin Powell
"Janet spoke so highly of you, I’m ready to make an offer."
I'm speaking to the VP of operations and after only 30 minutes of discussion, she's ready to sign me up as a consultant. 2 days later I'm invited to join the executive team’s strategy session. It's one of 3 opportunities I'm juggling. While some of my colleagues struggle to get noticed, or land a job offer, I'm having an amazing amount of success in a very short period of time.
The difference? My network is actively referring opportunities to me that are leading to offers.
I'm riding the branding-by-association wave. Have you caught it yet?
Branding-by-association is the halo effect from my network to me. Their reputations extend to include me. Their endorsements give me instant access and credibility that I wouldn't have on my own.
My network is me: amplified.
Is your career stalling out? Maybe it's not you. Maybe it's your network.
It's not too late to catch the wave.
Here are 4 great tips to jump start your branding by association.
Have the "right" branded network.
Does your network overlap with your target industry? A small circle of trusted friends and family might work for personal decisions, but if your circle of advisers doesn't have a reputation or contacts in the industry you're interested in, their branding might not help much.
Be "great by association."
You know the adage, "guilt by association"? Well, this is the opposite. Take an honest look at your network: what are their attitudes, values, and goals? If you associate with a lot of negative people, you will become more negative, and others will think of you as negative.
On the other hand, if you associate with a lot of up and comers, or entrepreneurs, you'll become like them and be branded by them. Choose to be "great by association."
Use your network. NOW.
The single biggest thing you can do right now is ask someone in your network for help. Don't discount anyone - you NEVER know who has contacts in your extended network until you ask. My friend's son's swim team coach's sister works at Apple and I have a friend looking for a contact at Apple.
Try a simple question like this: "I'm thinking of going out on my own as a consultant. Is there someone in your network that started their own consulting business that you can refer me to?"
In order to keep riding the wave, you have to keep connected. Make networking a daily part of your job. I connect to a few people a day in one of 5 ways:
- I check in and give a brief update. No pressure, no requests, just a brief status, and ask for an update from them.
- I update someone who gave me a lead. I express appreciation and let them know that I followed their advice.
- I send links to articles that I'm reading or recommend something that I think is relevant
- I ask for help or I ask someone if I can help them
- I reconnect with someone I haven't spoken to in a while
Ready to catch the wave?
Need a little networking help?
- How I Beat my Networking Nerves
- The Introvert's Guide to Getting Great Mentors
- Overwhelmed and Overthinking it: How to Find Focus and Move Forward
Check out the Unlock Your Potential page for more insight and inspiration.
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