As we previously discussed, there are many reasons to attend industry association events. One of those is to have the opportunity to hear and introduce best practices.
Your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization AND your industry.
You could spend all of your time being visible within your organization at the expense of industry visibility. However, when you’re only visible in your organization, you miss opportunities for professional development and opportunities to build richer relationships with industry colleagues.
Your desire to attend meetings and events with industry associations probably feels like a dream. The ability to attend during your workday, after your workday ends, or on the weekend is likely compromised in the following ways:
When wanting to get more involved in your organization and industry, consider organizing your participation activities by contributions, engagement, attending and leading.
What story are you telling yourself?
As we’ve discussed, you are being asked to do more, faster, and with too few resources. You feel as though you are doing the jobs of three people. Your Outlook calendar is triple-booked. Recurring acquisitions add new responsibilities with no additional resources. Consolidations and downsizing shift the jobs, previously handled by your colleagues, to you. You wish a magic wand existed to take away all of the urgent email, last minute requests, and unexpected phone calls that are created by your colleagues.
Being accessible benefits everyone. Ram Reddy is the Chief Information Officer at The Rockport Group, offering high-quality dress and casual footwear to customers globally. Despite the daily challenges he faces in his busy workplace, Ram is committed to being accessible to those who reach out to him. “Being accessible is a key part of collaboration. Although many of us have offices that physically separate us from one another, it is important to act as though there are no walls. If a colleague needs me, I want her to be able to get to me. Likewise, I like getting out of my office and, rather than email a colleague a question, ask her my question or follow-up with her in person. This also allows my colleague to access me in ways that help her.”
One other characteristic of effective Introducers is that they are either naturally comfortable introducing themselves to others or they have mastered the ability to diminish any short-term discomfort that arises as they introduce themselves to others.
While I believe you can build your ability to be consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested when introducing yourself, I think it would be presumptuous to tell you to be comfortable when introducing yourself. Whether you are an Avoider, Fumbler or just plain unconsciously competent, some of you will not be comfortable introducing yourself, no matter how many books you read.
Introducers introduce themselves with energy, clarity, and confidence. Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s take a cue from our Introducer colleagues and practice some of the behaviors they weave into their introductions that make Introducers so effective when connecting themselves to others. Recall that, at their best, Introducers are the following:
Have you ever noticed that there are some colleagues who seem to remember names better than others? Do you covet their secret? Have they bought a DVD on the Home Shopping Network to build their memory skills? Do they picture a boat when they meet Bob and a house when they meet Harry?
For a variety of reasons, some of you are more able to remember names than others. I don’t know the secret, if there really is a secret, or if there is one secret that fits all of us. Colleagues who seem to remember names tend to be attentive and invested in the conversation. They have made a conscious choice that remembering a name is important.
Regardless of how strong your introduction started, your best efforts will be eroded without a strong finish. How you exit an introduction might be the last thing a new colleague remembers about you, so make sure you have a strong finish.