Growing your professional presence

I have spoke on two of the three legs of the model I have developed for describing your “whole life” and today I will spend a few moments on the professional component.

Last week I talked about the spiritual leg and ways to strengthen it and I also took some time to talk about how to shore up and strengthen your personal leg of your life.  Just like any three legged tripod or stool, you are only as strong as your weakest leg and you can have one or two very strong components and then fall down with a weak third leg.  Having a balance is of great value and those who don’t usually take a tumble before they fully grasp the value of balance.

I almost didn’t write this post because I find that most of the people I know spend more than enough time on the professional leg or vertex of their life.  Upon further thought, I then realized that many spend a lot of time, but just how effective are their efforts in growing and advancing their professional presence.  We will spend a few moments, or lines, today talking about some of the strategies I have found to be most effective here.

My experience tells me that you cannot have a strong professional presence without an active networking effort.  I find that when most think of networking they practice more of a “one time” contact methodology with little or no follow up.  That effort rarely works and there are a few basic guidelines I have found to be effective.  Here is my list (with credit to Keith Ferrazzi for some of these ideas):

  • Know what you want to accomplish-many just reach out with a shotgun approach and I believe you need to take more of a targeted or rifle approach-understand your end objective, or as Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind”
  • Know where you need to be-once you know your target, then you need to research and learn where to find the people you want to mingle or work with-Being in the right place at the right time is more than half the battle
  • Keep “pinging”-one time does not a contact make and you need to keep a record and know who you have contacted and when you reached them-also be aware that not everyone responds to the same kinds of messages-eventually you want to have that face-to-face contact, but some people will respond to phone calls while others prefer emails, texts or even social media such as Twitter and Facebook-know what your contacts prefer
  • Being social makes a difference-some of us just gain energy from other people and some of us do not-being in the right place at the right time is important and you have to put forth effort to connect and get to know others when you are present-most of us are not royalty; if we don’t make our presence felt we will never be noticed-you must make the effort

I will craft a second post on this topic to be shared later this week.  Just remember these four simple steps as listed above and you will be on your way to growing and sustaining your professional life.