You are in a job. You want to get ahead. What do you do next? Well if networking is the best way of getting a job in the first place, it is important for you to know that networking is also a great way to accelerate your career. If you continue to network externally to your company, you will grow your credibility in the broader marketplace which can only serve you well when it comes time to ask for a different role, a more important project or even a raise. Networking is a lifelong skill that will serve you well as long as you continue to do it.
Networking within a company or organization is also important. Chances are your next career move will actually involve working for someone else and they are far more likely to hire someone that they know. So, phone them up and invite them to coffee. Networking inside an organization, particularly large ones, is a key skill set to master.
Once you have that covered, it is time to focus on the "second best" thing you can do to accelerate your career and that is...
It should be no surprise that being a confident and influential speaker is critical to career success because it is the most obvious way of getting your ideas across and influencing the people who matter.
Now in this context, I am not necessarily thinking about giving a keynote address to a 1000 delegates at a conference (although this is a great idea!). Public speaking is as simple as addressing your team, asking a question at a meeting or conference, or selling a proposal to a client. They all involve the same nervousness and all require the same sort of poise, confidence and comfort to support your career aspirations. This link will take you to some key tips on how to become much better at public speaking.
Of course you also want to be noticed. Doing very good work will get you noticed. Being a responsible and keen employee will get you noticed but sometimes, just being good isn't enough. You have to stand out.
So how do you go about doing that? This link shares some thoughts on how to make sure you get noticed and it is actually pretty easy - but most people don't do it. If you have already become a very powerful networker and very good at public speaking, knowing how to manage your presence and get noticed is the next best thing you can do to accelerate your career!
The important factor to standing out in a manner that supports your career is to be competent and credible in doing it. There is no value in standing out if people think you are full of hot air, don't know what you are talking about or are seen as all style and no substance. This can actually work to your disadvantage! You will not get ahead by being a clown.
To make sure that doesn't happen, spend some time understanding the business you are in. Not-for-profits, charities and even churches can be considered "businesses" in this context. It is important to have a solid understanding of how your organization functions. This section on Business Acumen can get you started.
It is often easy to think about your business from the perspective "ins and outs", i.e., what is coming into the business, e.g. cash, raw materials, labour etc. and what is going out, e.g. products, services, expenses and event waste.
Another important model is to understand your organization's value proposition. Why are people engaged with your organization? What do they get out of the relationship? Why is your organization preferred over others that are doing almost the same thing?
These simple questions can really set you apart from others not only because you will know more about your organization than other people but also that you have demonstrated an interest in learning about how things work and by implication, how to make things even better. What a great way to stand out and accelerate your career.
The importance of managing meetings as a skill can not be overstated. Many organizations run on meetings and/or efforts of collaboration so knowing how to make these events productive, meaningful and effective is critical. Click on the heading to learn more.
There is no surrogate for getting good business results and I have found it quite interesting how many poor behaviours are tolerated when an individual "gets stuff done" or can "do a good deal". Often the critical element in both cases is negotiating with other parties. As Chester Karass is known for saying, "In life you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate".
While it may seem old fashioned, there is still a lot of business that happens outside normal business hours and business locations and one of the best examples of this is the golf course! Knowing how to conduct yourself well on the course can be a real path to career advancement.
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