Networking: The hard facts and real deal with Lisa Mattam

Posted July 11, 2011 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights, Networking

Recently, our members had the opportunity to connect with the smart and savvy Lisa Mattam of The Mattam Group to get her top tips on networking.  Lisa shared her own experiences on building and maintaining a network as she transitioned from fast-tracking young executive to one of the top up and coming entrepreneurs in Canada.  For those who missed it, here are the highlights:

Lisa framed up her conversation by sharing with us her four big ideas on networking.  Here they are with a couple of my own observations thrown in:

  1. What is your brand and what is your message?… before you start to run around trying to build a network, make sure you have clarity on who you are and what you can do.  This idea of personal branding isn’t new, but in the context of how you can leverage your brand to build your network, it’s important.  A brand is a short-cut to help people make the right decisions.  What’s the decision you want them to make about you?
  2. Assess your network… don’t just consider how many people you know.  Think about the breadth and depth of those relationships.  Do you know a lot of
    people, but all of them are in your own company?  Or connected to your employer?  Your network may not be as wide, or deep, as you think.  And remember, because you have 500+ contacts on LinkedIn doesn’t count as a network unless you actually know each and every one of themYour
    network is your net worth.
  3.  Get the message out there… Think about who you want to meet and then think about where you might meet them.  Associations, committees and Board work are all great ways to expand your network strategically.  Attend events and use the rule of 3… have 3 high quality conversations with 3 high quality people and leave with 3 business cards.  Then follow-up.
  4.  Review, reinforce and renew… networking is a marathon, not a sprint.  Relationships develop and over time and need attention and nurturing to grow.  Check-in with contacts on a regular basis and look for ways to help others
    in your network.  Pay it forward.  You never know when someone will be able to
    help you in return.

Personally, I loved Lisa’s observation about networking being a marathon, not a sprint.  Too many times, I see people frantically networking when they need something (usually a job) and then they disappear into the new gig completely forgetting about the people who helped them along the way.  In my position, I get asked for advice quite a bit… and I’m happy to give it.  However, when I come looking for some help in return and get a polite brush off… well…let’s just say I may not be so quick to help the next time.  After all, at the end of the day, although many networking relationships can blossom into friendships, they’re often primarily about business.  By practicing, as my friend Tim Cork would say, “net giving” vs. “net taking”, you can find yourself with a robust network of people who are willing to help you all the time.

Happy leading!

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