Welcome to part two of my series on navigating social networks in the workplace. In this post, we’re going to talk about what it means to be an influencer – it’s the “getting known” part of my framework, and a very important element. If you’ve earned the trust of the people you really want to work with (we explored that in my previous blog post here), then your next crucial step is to become known by the people that can help you advance your career.
The Role of Influencers
In today’s world, influencers are people who make connections and build relationships that create mutually positive outcomes for the parties involved. Your ultimate goal should be to become one of these influencers – someone whose ideas are capable of changing the status quo. The best way to achieve this is to connect to other influencers within your network – people who believe in your work and are interested in sharing it.
If you work independently, this could be someone who has a podcast or an online magazine you want to be featured in, or it could be a venture capitalist with the ability to help you grow your idea or business. In a corporate setting, this is a person in senior management or leadership that is looking for new solutions to boost productivity or profit.
The Influencer Advantage
Maybe at this point you’re wondering, is it really necessary to worry about all this? Won’t my career naturally advance based on my merit and work ethic? Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that. Research-based evidence clearly demonstrates that influencers in the workplace consistently earn more, are promoted more, and are respected more than their peers. In addition, becoming an influencer puts you behind the wheel of your own career, allowing you to choose the direction in which your efforts take you.
Closing in on the Connection
So if being an influencer requires you to be known by other influencers, how do you go from not being known to being known? This is the question that needs to be answered in order for you to be able to capitalize on your ideas and abilities. Personal business coaching can help you locate the best solutions, but in the meantime, the easiest way to get started is to engage, engage, engage.
Networking studies reveal that social advantage is often a direct result of personal engagement. In other words, when you’re wondering how to get the right people to know who you are, it could be as simple as introducing yourself. Growing your network contributes to becoming an influencer in another way, too: the more information you glean from others, the more awareness you’ll have regarding what types of solutions could contribute to their work. These are the solutions that other influencers are looking for, and you’re understanding of them will make you a much more valuable part of the social network around you.
Your other path to getting known will involve becoming familiar with the barriers that are keeping your ideas from reaching the right people. Is the leadership in your network exclusive? Is it comprised of all men who don’t seem to value female input, or all old school thinkers that aren’t open to new ideas? These are examples of communication mismatch.
In order to overcome such a mismatch, you need to become familiar with your audience’s preferred style of communication. Maybe you have a natural humor that helps you in sales relationships, but doesn’t appeal to your supervisor. Maybe a lack of familiarity with the right jargon is keeping you from getting your foot into the right circle. Whatever the case, becoming an influencer is all about translating your ideas into the solutions that people want to hear.
Once you’ve become adept at doing this, your well on the way to becoming someone worth knowing. Armed with your trustworthy reputation and your ability to influence, you’re now ready to become respected, as well. We’ll tackle the ins and outs of becoming respected in my next and final blog post of this series.
For more information about navigating your social networks, or for expert business coaching services, please contact me today!