Everybody says you have to build a professional brand and reputation to succeed. But how do you distinguish yourself and be remembered when everyone else has the same goals? Add to that the fact that you’re busy, you want to network “the right way,” AND you need to get results for your efforts. You want to attract the right opportunities for you!
Everybody says you need executive presence and a personal brand to advance and attract the best opportunities. But how do you distinguish yourself and be remembered for the value you provide? Isn’t doing a great job enough? No! You need a personal brand. Learn the five steps to create an authentic personal brand and techniques for ensuring that every interaction reinforces your brand so that you are known for the value you provide and the type of problem solver you are. Ensure that every interaction leaves others not just recognizing your value, but appreciating and steering opportunities your way.
On March 7, 2016, Anne Collier will lead a branding session at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Las Vegas. The participants will leave this session with the beginnings of a brand, elevator pitch, mission statement, point of difference, and messaging. They will gain the necessary tools to enhance their online presence, build their network, and attract more opportunities.
If you’re a lawyer, you probably have already thought about the importance of increasing your professional network and visibility as well as impressing your target audience. You most likely strive for intellectual and professional growth and believe in making a difference. The good news is that you can address both of these challenges, and, consequently, advance your reputation, by establishing yourself as a thought leader. Continue Reading
Each spring the National Council for Behavioral Health holds a conference where thought leaders, behavioral health professionals and executives from the nation’s mental health and addiction care organizations come together to share expertise, expand their knowledge of best practices and find solutions to common problems. Among such problems is the challenge of presenting their organizations to the wider community, donors and the government: branding themselves. Continue Reading
Last year, I wrote the networking chapter for the book “Marketing Success: How Did She Do That?” The book features successful women lawyers who share their business development advice. I interviewed four women and the points I make below are based on their advice and my own experience as an entrepreneur.
Throughout the chapter I refer to networking as a way of life because, well, it is the way to live if you’re interested in building mutually supportive relationships. While the advice to network is typically couched in “you have to network to develop business or to move ahead in your career,” those who network successfully focus on giving to their networks, truly helping and becoming involved, not just reaping the benefits. In fact, those who adhere to the foregoing succeed because others see them as helpful rather than self-centered. Now that you’ve got the mindset, let’s focus on the “how to.”
First, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what your networking will yield and when. If you don’t, you’ll likely be frustrated and won’t enjoy the process, which will impair your effectiveness. Don’t go to an event and expect to get a new client or opportunity. Go to an event and look forward to seeing people you know and meeting those you don’t. Remember, the results of networking are not immediate. It’s usually the people you’ve known for years who refer business to you overtime. Besides, you’d better know and accept that not every person is going to give you a call. Problems arise on their time, not when you want clients.
Second, be a resource for others. Offer to help, even if the help has nothing to do with your work. When people know you are reliable and that they can trust you to follow through, you are more likely to be trusted with their most important matters, the work that you want. Don’t forget to share articles and materials you’ve written to stay in touch with former clients. Tell them about anticipated developments in the law that would affect their business.
Finally, get involved in organizations and events that you enjoy because when networking is fun, it’s not work. Not only will you build your business, but you’ll build relationships that enrich you in other ways!
October 1, 2015 – Anne Collier spoke on the importance of establishing a professional brand and the WBA Social Media Committee walked the participants through how to use the different social media sites. At the end of the presentations, there were small break-out groups where participants received individualized instruction and assistance with their accounts and profiles.
September 30, 2015 – Anne Collier led two programs for a law firm in New York. During the first workshop she talked about building a professional brand. During the second program, Anne helped the participants understand how to develop a strong reputation and relationships that lead to tangible outcomes including new clients, referrals and introductions, and fresh ideas.
Interviewing for a job? Well, then know you’ve got what it takes! You won’t get hired because you’ve brushed up on a lot of facts and figures. You’ll be hired because you know how to solve problems that arise in your area of expertise. What your soon-to-be colleagues are looking for is someone who knows how to wrestle with and solve tough problems. So when you interview, yes, brush up on the organization interviewing you, be prepared to discuss your expertise, representative accomplishments, and also think about your brand. What are you known for? What do you want to be known for? Use your key words and phrases to describe yourself and your work so that you are reinforcing your brand.
Talking about your experience or providing real life examples of your leadership qualities is a good start. You need to be confident but not arrogant. Talking your own brand – using your key words and phrases from your own messaging pyramid – helps you avoid crossing the line because your brand is much more than the simple, “I’m great, hire me!” Your brand articulates your value, your expertise, the types of problems you solve, the kind of leader and colleague you are, and the clients you serve. Selling yourself is difficult and people want someone they can trust, so remember: your brand embodies the authentic you, it’s not some cheesy rendition of who you think you ought to be.
People do have an opinion about you – whether you’re deliberate about creating your brand or not. Creating a professional brand will not only give potential clients and employers clarity about your professionalism and attitude, but it will also boost your confidence. (Read more on branding).
Just remember, you’ve got what it takes and are perfect as you are!
You ask, how did they do it – how do women build their own business through networking? A couple of years ago I interviewed four successful women lawyers for the networking chapter I wrote for this book. What all of them agreed on was that networking might be a premier, if not the premier, business development tool. That is our reality. You know others for their expertise and they know you for your expertise. Networking is a way of relating to the people around you and creating mutually supportive relationships within your communities.
Don’t be surprised, but the key elements of networking are the same as those of friendship: you have a relationship built up over time so that you trust each other, you know you have each other’s back and you are a resource to and help for each other! In fact, it makes sense to view networking as an approach to life rather than a thing to do.
Sometimes, we think (or worry) that networking might be hard, especially in groups where there seem to be cliques. Even extraverts can find it difficult to attend events where they don’t know anyone. Volunteering to help at events, especially if you’re shy, can help you get to know people. So don’t sit complacently at your desk because you already have the job. One day you’ll want another job or you’ll need your own clients.
Building relationships takes time (and being in the community often and consistently!) and the results are not immediate. Usually, it’s the people you’ve known for years who are more likely to refer business to you over time. But, you know, the more your name gets out there, the better it is for you. For some people, of course, networking can still be really awkward or difficult, especially if you’re unable to attend events due to childcare responsibilities. Jessica Adler, the owner of Law Officers of Jessica E. Adler, talked about these issues during our interview and recommended other ways of building a name for oneself, such as teaching or writing.
A good point that Celia Roady, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, made during our conversation was that a challenge young lawyers face is to be seen as someone who is really valuable to a client. Celia emphasized that even in her early days she focused on developing good relationships with clients by being very prepared for clients’ calls by creating an outline of the points she was going to make and what she wanted to accomplish.
More obviously, even though not immediately, networking pays off in terms of relationships, and less obviously in terms of building your confidence. And, remember, people are drawn to those who are confident!