Networking Is A Commitment.
This post is not what you think it is about. Nope. Not about the time or effort it takes to build a network or show-up to three events in one evening. It’s about the brand called you (read Tom Peters classic post from 1997 on this ’cause like it or not we’re ALL doing it, so do it right) — and YOUR brand, the image / reputation you’re cultivating is growing by how you show up or don’t; YOUR brand is not some imaginary brand you’re planning to craft in the future but the one you’re actually crafting today and every day by day with each hello, email, RSVP, tweet…
Building relationships (or networks of relationships aka how I think of networking is about committing). Committing to a cause. Committing to job. Committing to being the person you’d like to hang out with. Making a commitment to show-up everyday in every interaction — IRL or digital — authentically, genuinely as you. Being someone others can commit to.
AOL’s digital prophet writes about corporate brand love as commitment in How your business can work for and win brand love, as he says:
…if a customer feels connected, supported, listened to, challenged, understood and known, a brand can win their love. The brands I love reflect my personal values, provide exceptional service and experience, and continue to surpass my expectations, while making life easier. They know they want to be loved and understand why people should love them — they not only know who they are, they know what they need to do to stay unique and relevant.
Why should our personal brand (which is a reflection of our daily, human interactions) be thought of any differently?
Do your daily interactions show your commitment to the people around you? You may think you’re networking but is your network “connected, supported, listened to” by you? It’s a lopsided-lacking-full-commitment-network-building relationship if they don’t — and that’s not the personal brand I suspect you want to build.
-- J. Kelly Hoey