Now that I have your undivided attention …
We all know them … or at least “of them”. You know — those people who command a room as soon as they walk in the door. There’s just something about them. It’s not their clothes, haircut, or fashionably late arrival. It’s more about the way they carry themselves; something about their very essence demands to be noticed.
For the rest of us, the act of getting noticed does not come as easily. It’s something only achieved through careful thought, planning, and practiced action. But with today’s ever-growing collection of mediums for social and business connections, networking has never been more relevant. Knowing the right people — and forming a solid relationship with each of them — can, at times, have a greater impact on your business trajectory than your educational background and experience, combined.
In short, when done right, the act of getting noticed can change your business. So how, you might ask, can you get noticed? Last year, in Forbes, I discussed some of the lessons I learned from the World Economic Forum at Davos. Today, getting noticed really boils down to six easy steps, outlined in my ‘How to Get Noticed‘ Slideshare, as follows:
Support someone in exchange for time and attention.
Simply asking for a business card, or becoming someone’s new contact on LinkedIn, does not get you noticed. Asking the right questions and providing immense value does. Prior to introducing yourself to a person, think about what you have to offer. Relationships (or, at least healthy ones) are two-way streets; there is some give and take. With that in mind, don’t establish relationships when you need something. If you already have a solid connection with someone, you will find yourself in a better position to ask for help when the right time comes.
Stop comparing yourself.
Think about it: when you compare yourself to others, you lose. You dampen your light and fail to realize your own strengths. Comparison also tends to drain your creative potential. Instead, think about what makes you so excited you can barely stand it. Then remember that you’re a unique person with a mind that works unlike any other mind out there. You are an individual. Don’t let what everyone else is (or isn’t) doing slow you down.
Don’t make ‘busy’ excuses.
There’s always time for things that matter. Actually, let me rephrase that: Life isn’t really about time, but rather about commitment, connection to outrage, hope, and a belief that your leadership will lead to real change. Don’t ever stop evaluating the connections you make; ask yourself, “Am I spending my time and energy connecting with the values and people that inspire me to act?”
Make good use of your energy.
Time is constant; you really can’t manage it, or stretch it to accommodate all of your projects, commitments, etc. You can, however, manage your energy. Don’t waste energy — reserve it for things that mean the most to you. Say “no” to things that do not excite or benefit you and your career. “No” isn’t always negative; sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise!
Commit to greatness.
First acknowledge that you don’t need to be perfect. If you want to dream, innovate, and create world-changing ideas, you need to live your experiments out day-by-day. It’s hard to deny the fact that we learn the most from efforts that fail; it’s how we improve, by tweaking and readjusting as we go. If you commit to greatness it will show. Ultimately, people are more interested in connecting with someone who is confident, driven, and focused on the big picture.
Start with your story.
Your story evokes values and creates an emotional connection. Don’t be afraid people will not care about your story or values. It’s more than natural to be a bit nervous — Was I bold enough? Have I accomplished enough? Will he care about this anecdote? — but fear is a product of the mind. Overcome fears of being judged. Remember: people like being reminded of the stories and moments that make us human. And if they don’t, perhaps you must ask yourself: is this really someone with whom I want to build a relationship?
Erica Dhawan is the Founder and CEO of Cotential, a global innovation firm that helps organizations unleash the connected potential of people everywhere to solve their most pressing challenges. Follow @cotential and @edhawan on Twitter for innovation updates.
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