You have this huge opportunity with networking, no matter which networking organisation you are a member of, to massively influence your personal brand.
And it is a threat as much as an opportunity.
What I’ve learnt is that your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re out of the room and your opportunity, and responsibility if you own your own business, is to continue to build that, so that people move along the Meet – Like – Know – Trust scale.
What I mean by that, is that if you aren’t showing up, you’re invisible. Not just showing up at networking events, but showing up online in your use of social media and content.
Once people have met you, or connected with you online, if they are at all interested in you or what you do, they’ll continue to check you out, and it is a busy and noisy world.
Some of my online stuff I get right, and sometimes I get it wrong, but I’m there.
Sometimes I get my networking right and sometimes I fluff up my 40 seconds (I’m human innit) but I’m there.
You see, and this is a different take on the personal brand thing, but spotted by Oscar Wilde a long time ago, having an invisible personal brand, just not being there, is damaging. For any effort you put into networking, if you don’t show up when you’re not at breakfast meetings, if you don’t put the tiny but cumulative bits of extra effort into keeping those relationships alive, your personal brand is just dwindling and evaporating.
Keep yourself visible, present and, hopefully, engaging to the people checking you out. Rinse, and repeat.
Stefan Thomas is the founder of The Networking Retreat – 24 hours to improve your results from networking, forever.