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Tuesday, 18 December 2007 00:00

Creating Name Recognition using Social Networks

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Professional networking comes naturally for many people. They don't think about it or agonize about it, they just do it. They're the ones people listen to and whose names everybody knows. Take for example, my friend and colleague Cornelius Fichtner. Does that name ring a bell? If you are familiar with Project Management Podcast's or PMP Exam Prep it certainly should.
For those of you who are saying Cornelius who? Cornelius Fichtner is the creator of The PM PrepCast™ (www.pmprepcast.com) which is an essential audio series geared toward preparing you for the PMP® Certification Exam. He is also the creator of The PM Podcast™ (www.thepmpodcast.com) which is one of the premier podcasts related to Project Management with over 1.5 million downloads and counting.
 
But Cornelius didn't stop there, he's built a name for himself in the niche project management social networks. You can find him online at places like The International Community for Project Managers and PM Hub and at high traffic blogs such as PM411.org and PMHut and many more... Why? It's an important component to establishing a global presence in the industry and having a positive impact on the lives of others. Cornelius doesn't approach his business with a "what's in it for me" attitude, he takes genuine care and consideration for the well being of others in his industry and that's a big part of what makes him successful.
So just how do you build a name for yourself using social networks?
 
1. Build and maintain your profile: With a Social Network Profile, you can post updates relative to your interests, business, services, post updates, events or other information and stay connected with clients and colleagues in a simple and easy to understand channel. Your profile becomes your online identity so use it wisely.
 
2. Make contacts and acquaintances: Professional friendships often begin as acquaintances, co-workers or mentors, and evolve over time into lifelong friends. Sometimes this includes participating in social events, but often it just means that the relationship has endured the test of time, through different jobs and opportunities as each of you grows to new professional levels. These are the types of relationships that you will most likely cherish and nurture. Don't let these relationships slip away through busyness and lack of contact. Contacts and acquaintances are people you meet at networking events, whether online or at conferences and trade shows. When making new acquaintances, make sure you introduce yourself, trade business cards and follow up if you say you will.
 
3. Make it a habit: In order to be successful in online social networking, you have to make it a regular thing. That doesn't mean daily or that you need to let it consume you. It does mean that your presence needs to be "felt". Let others in the community know that you are there and that you have not forgotten about them.

4. Offer your insight: A wise man once told me "It does not matter if you think you have nothing to offer, that's not for you to decide". What he meant, or rather what I took away from that was that you don't have to be a world renowned expert to share your thoughts or opinion. Some people will share your opinion or have one relatively close which aids you in building name recognition. It make it easy for this group of people to associate with you. Others will have an opposite or opposing opinion. These are an important component of building name recognition as it gives you a chance to further explain the reasons behind your opinion or comment and win them over. Even if your not successful in winning that particular person over, you will have won over many more who were waiting in the shadows to see how you rebutted. The moral of this story is, contribute something - gain something.
 
5. Mentor others, but don't be afraid to ask questions: If you've ever gone through an MBA program, you've probably been told that you need to "broaden your network". Niche social networks are a great vehicle for doing just this. It can even be a catalyst in career growth and opportunities. Don't be afraid to pose questions. Research shows that people who are coached are 3 times more likely to be coaches. In addition, sometimes the best way to coach someone is to pose a question, even if you know the answer, and then steer them toward the right deductions about the question at hand.

6. Grow Professionally and build partnerships: You have an opportunity to build relationships every minute of every day. Potential partnerships are people who have complementary skills or interests that present an opportunity to collaborate. Many long-lasting professional friendships begin with a collaborative project. Your personal and professional success depends on the diversity and quality of your relationships with others, yet most of us don't spend enough time building, nurturing and quantifying the key relationships we need to achieve success. Professional Social Networks, such as the International Community for Project Managers are a great place to start.

So it bring it full circle, you can build a name for yourself in your industry by leveraging social networking sites. Follow these simple rules:

  • Participate, offer your views
  • Be Honest and Sincere
  • Don't burn bridges
  • Make it a habit
  • Maintain the confidentiality and privacy of others
  • Make contacts and Keep building (ask for referrals)
  • Don't worry about "what's in it for me"
 


Shawn T. Futterer, PMP is the executive director of The International Community for Project Managers, sponsored by TenStep Inc. a project management, training and consulting firm. Shawn is a tenured project manager with a strong track record of success. 
Read 7498 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 November 2008 11:54

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