Confidence communicates competence. Forget about weak handshakes, a weak personality kills business possibilities before an individual approaches! Just like wild animals smelling fear in its prey, polished business professionals recognize weakness from a distance. However, power and prominence communicate extremely well in advance. In the case of effective networking, a personal brand communicates competence well in advance of a professional’s arrival. Individual power, positioning and performance comes from actions, not vocabulary!
Too often, mediocre business people try to define their professional skills through clever conversation. They expect their command of the latest buzzwords and quick-witted communication techniques to prove their worth. But, astute business professionals clearly understand that value drives business success. Beyond degrees, accolades and titles, the ability to communicate and deliver to the other party’s expectations drive success. A major reason that storytelling emerges as a powerful, value-driving tool is that a well-positioned story’s power, imagery, and connectivity overpowers fancy analysis and industry-speak. Spreadsheets do not close deals. Understanding what the analysis communicates does!
The other essential aspect of effective communication is listening. Too many professionals miss opportunities because they do not hear what the other side said. Their own words were too loud! Effective communication absorbs what is not said. Subtleties from grooming habits to sustaining eye contact contributes to effective communication. Such nuance strengthens effective networking because all these cues contribute to interpersonal signals resulting in like and trust. Rehearsed scripts do not convey the emotional connectivity that drives trust and successful deals. Genuine smiles, focused eye contact, open body posture all while listening contribute to the emotional connection that facilitates enduring transactions.
While these communication techniques strengthen possibilities to transact business, at some point the deal must continue when the original parties are separated. A brand speaks for an organization or individual when parties are not physically present. Branding is communication when the parties are absent. So, who actually speaks in these instances? More importantly, how does an organization sustain branding consistency in a world where communication is experienced and evaluated via print media, social media, text messages, and Zoom calls. Branding has more marketing responsibilities under its communication duties than ever. How does a brand keep up?
First, intentionality supports a brand’s pace and progress; then consistency operates at a very close second. Social media has quickly emerged as the accelerant for brands racing beyond an enterprise’s purpose because business leaders do not always corral the images and words that described the business. Flaming is any party spreading unflattering imagery in any public or private forum. The ability to spread lies, or painful truths, has never been so prevalent! Control requires faithful and consistent monitoring of all brand conversations. If that sounds hard, try damage control after a brand has been smeared! Effective branding requires controlling the conversation at every point in the ever-expanding marketplace.
Whether ugly comments come from print, broadcast, podcast, soundbite, Zoom-bombing or social media, effective brands prepare in advance with clear talking points to interrupt negative commentary by re-emphasizing brand strengths. Brands must be actively engaged in every reasonable channel where a business operates in order to influence messaging in victory, or catastrophe. The right processes are equally important as the right words and images. Networking’s main purpose is to establish positive relationships so that business can be deliberately, intentionally and intelligently transacted as a direct result of confidence in both parties’ reputations. Establishing, then reinforcing, individual and organizational reputations relies on communicating with images, behaviors, relationships, reputations, and even words when necessary.
Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC