I wanted to share my thoughts on self-promotion as it’s a mistake I made, many times, when I quietly said to myself, my managers will know how hard I work and what I am achieving by my results! NO, THEY WON’T!
I’ve written about this before, but thought it’s so important, especially for women, or for men who manage women, to speak a little louder again!
Building a strong professional network and effectively promoting your accomplishments is vital to a successful leadership career. By attending networking events, being proactive in sharing your achievements, and maintaining relationships with your connections, you’ll create a solid foundation for career growth.
The effort you invest in cultivating your network will be well worth it, as you establish yourself as a respected leader.
May 9, 2023
For an executive in any sector, I cannot stress enough the importance of networking and self-promotion for those beginning their leadership journey. Business is constantly evolving, and to stay ahead, it is crucial to cultivate relationships with peers and colleagues in the field. I wanted to dig alittle deeper into the strategies you can employ to maximise networking opportunities and effectively promote yourself.
Reflecting on my own career, I spent years believing that my work would speak for itself. However, I eventually realised the importance of being proactive in sharing my accomplishments and ensuring my manager was aware of my contributions. Failure to do so may result in being overlooked for promotions or having your work attributed to someone else.
Attending conferences, trade shows, meet-ups, and social gatherings are invaluable opportunities to expand your professional network, showcase your talents, and learn about the latest trends in your sector. These events serve as platforms where you can connect with like-minded professionals, share experiences, and explore potential collaborations.
To make the most of these events, consider the following strategies:
- Research and prepare ahead of time: Familiarise yourself with the event’s agenda, speakers, and attendees. Identify potential connections or partnerships, and be prepared to discuss topics relevant to your field. By understanding the event’s landscape, you will feel more confident and ready to engage in meaningful conversations.
- Practice your elevator pitch: Be ready to briefly and confidently present your accomplishments, goals, and the value you bring to the table. Your elevator pitch should be concise, engaging, and tailored to your audience.
- Dress for Success: Your appearance creates the first impression, so ensure you dress professionally and appropriately for the event. This will help you feel more confident and convey a polished image.
- Engage with others: Approach conversations with genuine curiosity, ask open-ended questions, and actively listen to others’ responses. This helps build rapport and fosters deeper connections. Demonstrate your interest by taking notes or asking follow-up questions, and don’t be afraid to share your own experiences and insights.
- Offer value: Rather than focusing solely on your needs, consider how you can provide value to others. Offer assistance, share relevant resources, or make introductions to your contacts. By being helpful, you will establish a positive reputation and create lasting connections.
In addition to networking, self-promotion is essential for career growth. Striking a balance between self-promotion and humility can be challenging but is necessary to ensure your accomplishments are acknowledged and appreciated. Here are some strategies to help you navigate this delicate balance:
- Recognise your accomplishments: Develop a habit of documenting your achievements, whether it’s successful projects, positive feedback, or industry awards. This will help you become more comfortable discussing your accomplishments and provide a solid foundation for self-promotion.
- Emphasise team contributions: While highlighting your achievements, also acknowledge the contributions of your team members. This demonstrates your appreciation for collaboration and your ability to lead effectively.
- Understand the gender dynamics: Be aware that men and women often approach self-promotion differently. Women may be more hesitant to discuss their accomplishments due to societal expectations, while men might be more forthcoming. Regardless of your gender, it’s essential to be proactive in sharing your achievements and adopting a self-promotion style that feels authentic and comfortable for you.
- Share stories: Instead of simply listing your accomplishments, share the challenges you faced and the strategies you employed to overcome them. This humanises your experience and showcases your problem-solving skills.
To maintain relationships with the connections made at networking events, consider these tips:
- Follow up promptly: Within a week of the event, reach out to the connections you made, expressing your gratitude for the conversation and your interest in staying in touch. Personalise your message by mentioning specific topics you discussed or any shared interests you discovered during your conversation.
- Connect on social media: Add your new contacts on LinkedIn or other professional social media platforms. This not only expands your network but also allows you to stay updated on their career progress and share relevant industry news and insights.
- Engage with their content: Show genuine interest in your contacts’ work by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts on social media. This demonstrates your ongoing support and helps strengthen your relationship.
- Offer assistance: If you come across a resource, job posting, or event that might be beneficial to your connections, share it with them. By being helpful, you’ll foster goodwill and deepen your professional relationships.
- Schedule regular check-ins: Periodically touch base with your contacts to catch up on their career developments and share your own updates. These check-ins can be as simple as sending an email or setting up a virtual coffee chat.
- Leverage your network for mutual benefit: As your network grows, you may be able to connect people who could benefit from knowing one another. Facilitating these connections demonstrates your commitment to the success of others and can lead to valuable reciprocal introductions in the future.
Building a strong professional network and effectively promoting your accomplishments are vital to a successful leadership career in any sector. By attending networking events, being proactive in sharing your achievements, and maintaining relationships with your connections, you’ll create a solid foundation for career growth. Remember to be encouraging, confident, and professional as you navigate the world of networking and self-promotion. The effort you invest in cultivating your network will be well worth it, as you establish yourself as a respected leader in your industry.
I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and I hope you find these insights valuable. I wish I’d known this 10 years ago as it would have changed my career no end. Remember, your professional development is an ongoing process, and by actively engaging with your industry peers, you’ll continue to expand your knowledge and opportunities.