Boost your brand in the new normal
Working from home with perhaps intermittent visits to an office is our new normal. More than ever, we need to be intentional about our visibility to our managers and our peers. Those days of networking at an office conference or industry seminar or through after-office drinks, are for the time being a thing of the past. However, the need to network to build visibility in order to progress your career has not gone away. So in a remote-first setting, how does one stay top of mind is an important question.
Here are some tips to stay on top of mind:
Pre-Prep For Team Meetings: Remote working can be a great leveller in the sense that it can reduce the participation gap between extroverts and introverts. With bit of proper planning, you can shine through positive, well structured thoughts and contributions. Remote collaboration can be intimidating to many people, planning is your secret sauce to ensuring you are not one of them.
Career Planning: Some people have a great internal network that is forever connecting them to new opportunities. Others don’t. That was OK perhaps before Corona; now it is simply a recipe for failure. In a remote working model, you will have to be intentional about networking. Periodic sync ups with your manager, getting involved with high profile projects, investing effort in reaching out to colleagues and sharing updates — all of these will have a role to play. Beyond your immediate team, get to know people from other areas of the business. Send an email asking to connect and schedule brief half -hour interaction to do so and find out more about their work profile. Equally be willing to reciprocate. Be genuinely interested in creating a meaningful connection. See if you can be of any help to them.
If you are a manager, you can also bring this mindset to your interactions with your reports to make sure people are not getting left behind or stagnating.
Professional Development: Now is a good time to up-skill yourself with new certifications and capabilities. Online learning has never been easier. You can also use the many webinars being organised to connect to new perspectives or explore new professional interests. You could also share interesting learning opportunities, in-house or available outside the organisation, that may be complementary to your work or a skill set.
Mind The Culture: Do note down and circulate a quick email to appreciate a colleague’s help or achievements or collaboration with you. Be proactive in giving someone a compliment or shining a spotlight on good things that others are doing.Come up with initiatives for team building exercise (yes, virtually!). It could be a Friday Fun Quiz evening, or a virtual karaoke evening. Be creative and plan an event with some of your colleagues and then let everyone participate.
In conclusion, do make a conscious effort to network and yes, networking virtually with relative strangers is possible. Make the effort and reap the benefits.