It’s been another long day of work. I think I’ll curl up with my I-pad and see what’s going on in my network of friends. Not so very long ago that wouldn’t have even entered my mind. The social web has definitely changed how many of us interact with each other. These days, we’re far less likely to call someone we know or even drop in on a neighbor because we now have the ability to reach out to anyone, anywhere, so long as they’re connected and are willing to connect with us. The same ease of connectivity can also be found in our professional lives today. We can have meetings with people across the globe without even leaving our homes. We can work from our vehicles or right in the office of a client, all because of the social web; the key to being successful in this world of digital contact is to establish, maintain and grow your network of friends and co-workers.
With connectivity at our fingertips it can be very easy to just “cocoon” and work on the issues at hand. Ignoring anything or anyone outside of what is immediately in front of us. I know this statement to be true because despite the fact that I’ve been in sales for the past 15 years I am a shy person. Everyday I have to get outside my comfort zone and nourish the relationships that I have. I have to maintain and grow my various networks in order to achieve success at what I do. There are a number of ways that I have been achieving that growth in my professional life. One of the first things I do is to make certain that I attend as many functions or courses that are made available to our employees and clients; relevant to my line of work of course. By attending these events, I’m able to put faces to the names and voices of the people with whom I converse daily on the phone or by email. Attending a functions means that I learn something about my business and I learn something about the people in my business. Being present, as I like to think of it, means that the opportunity to share outside the day to day is multiplied by as many members of my business or social community as are present. Annual Conventions and seminars are a huge boost to developing my network, so much more can be exchanged over a glass of wine or a beer than what often passes for conversation during the work day. This type of networking is absolutely a must in my line of work. You never know when a friendship will be struck that may someday prove to be a lifesaver in a tricky client situation! The people whom I have to come to know and work with on a professional level are all very accessible through electronic networking but that only lends itself to more pragmatic work situations. Face to face, they become real, more 3 dimensional and its amazing what you can learn.
Every day is filled with texts, emails, websites, Citrix meetings, teleconferences. All of them are important and then you move on to the next. I’ve learned through my studies that each is important and that each are a relevant part of my own social network. I’ve also learned that its important to have a plan and strategy for how I will utilize each aspect of my electronic networking. As a result of my recent studies I’m now building a Facebook page, distinct from my personal page, that will allow me to have a professional presence and a base for my professional communication, perhaps even a blog. With this page as my base I plan to become more involved in Twitter and Instagram, I might even experiment with a Vlog or two at some point. I know for a fact that I will be involved in more online events as they are something I’ve never really participated in outside of work. I can see a great many possibilities for learning and personal growth through participation. Recently, I opened up a conversation with our Director of marketing related to our company’s social media efforts, something which I never would have done before my recent studies and something I hope will lead to bigger things for me professionally. As I have been writing this blog entry I received an email from our Canadian President outlining the results of a Corporate Strategy session that took place the other day, number one on the list of takeaways….improve our online presence!
The social web is a wonderful tool to open up doors and make introductions. Through our contacts online we can go offline and have the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and learn so many new things. What we have to keep in mind is that we maintain a balance of work and personal involvement. Find pleasure in everything you do and the work will be just as much fun and the personal. It would be great if everyone we worked with was a friend, wouldn’t it? I have to go now, just got a text to go golfing with a work buddy, lol.