Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why You Should be Networking Even If You Aren't Looking for a Job

You don't need to be looking for a job or trying to sell something to find networking useful. In fact if you wait until you are looking for a job then it is probably too late. There are many reasons why you should be networking whatever you do, but here are the top three:

1. NETWORKING IS A LONG-TERM ACTIVITY. Networking is not something you can start today and expect results by the evening. It is a long-term activity where the best results can come months or even years after your initial effort. And it's not something you can buy ready made, since every network is personal. To build a solid network takes time and effort and the sooner you start this effort the sooner you will have the benefits. If you start building a network today when maybe you are not looking for work that network will help you a few years into the future when you decide to change or someone else decides for you.

2. NETWORKING HELPS YOU IN YOUR EVERYDAY WORK. There are many ways in which your network can help you that have nothing to do with finding work, getting business or selling things. It will also help you in your everyday work by helping you to find information more quickly, making your life easier. You can Google the answers to many questions but there are many others where an expert opinion is more valuable. So, for example, if you just need the population of Finland there are many online resources, but if you want to know which stop motion animation software would be best for you then the opinion of an expert is more valuable. Through your network you will find it easier to reach people and, if you are doing the networking correctly, these people will be more willing to help you. Your network is also an essential part of your ability to influence other people. People in your network can help you to have the information you need and can also support you when you are lobbying for change. No network means no influence.

3. NETWORKING MAKES YOU MORE VALUABLE. An employee with a strong network is more effective than an equivalent employee with a weaker network simply because they can call on the help of others and get that help quickly. Most managers are aware of this so demonstrating a networking attitude makes it more likely that you will be promoted, assigned the most interesting projects or simply survive a downsizing. The employee with a strong network soon gets a reputation for getting things done and this is worth more than many qualifications and much experience but at the same time it is easier to obtain. Don't leave this low hanging fruit on the tree.

All of this assumes that you are doing the networking correctly. Just collecting contacts on LinkedIn or filling your pockets with business cards is not the way to do it. Serious networking is about building relationships of trust with other people and reaching out proactively to help them. This "payforward" approach pays back in the long run and will probably be the best investment you ever made, unless you invested in Apple in the 1970s.. For practical tips about how to do this try the related posts below or get in touch; there are contact details below.

For more about networking read my new book Payforward Networking, second edition available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching and Writing
For lectures, workshops, coaching and writing about networking and other communication topics visit, email or call 0046 730 894 475.

Related Posts about Networking

How Encouraging Networking Makes Your Workplace More Effective
How to Make Photos for Professional Profiles and CVs
Why Networking is About Building relationships
How to Use Twitter for Professional Networking
LinkedIn: Why Unanswered Messages are Wasted Opportunities
LinkedIn May Be Hacker's Dream Tool But Attacks Easy to Foil
Recruiters Not Only Check Social Media They Use Them to Identify People
How to Separate Work and Private Networking
Linkedin Etiquette: How to Approach People You Don't Know
Professional Networking: Five Sites You Should Be Using for Your Career
Three Keys to Networking
Selling Your Ideas: Influencing Your Way to Success

Monday, May 6, 2013

What Abba Can Teach About Social Media

In the social media course I teach each year at the IAE Aix Graduate School of Management I am pretty sure that I have never once mentioned Abba, the iconic Swedish pop group that peaked in the 1970s before my students were born. But this year I will be adding a case study about the interesting way that their new museum in Stockholm connects interactive exhibits so that visitors can save and share to social media their experiences.

I visited Abba The Museum and interviewed CEO Mattias Hansson in early April, researching an article for Eye for Travel -- Mamma Mia: Look What Happens When a Museum Harnesses Social Media. At the time the museum was still in construction but already it was clear that this is going to be a cutting edge development and an inspiration for other museums and attractions.

Inside the museum there are many interactive exhibits. You can record your own version of an Abba hit, singing along with a backing track in a replica of the original Polar Studios in Stockholm, long since closed and now a gym. You also remix Abba songs using digital copies of the original 24 track tapes, though you will probably find it hard to outdo the classic version by producer/engineer Michael B Tretow. You can also dance on a stage with life-size animated images of the group thanks to a Musion Eyeliner stage illusion, the same famously used to resurrect rapper Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival. There are many more interactive exhibits, some digital, some physical.

Where Abba The Museum is different is that the audio and video clips of these performances are saved to a temporary personal page on the museum website. Later you can access that page using your ticket ID and either save or share them to social media using conventional sharing buttons. This simple, effective approach means that the museum gives you access to your media clips without requiring any connection to social media site APIs and without any need for authentication to access visitor social media accounts. After a short time -- different sources have given me different numbers -- the temporary pages are automatically deleted so if you just want to try the exhibits and don't want to save or share you don't need to think about it.

This approach to saving and sharing is popular with visitors who are old enough to share their lives to social media and young enough to want to do it. But it also benefits the museum because every share is another free advertisement -- much better than a banner and better than any paid "native" advertising. Since it is also possible to retrofit this technology to existing exhibits -- many of the Abba exhibits have been shown in the past without this feature -- it's likely that the idea will soon be adopted by other museums, exhibits, attractions and much more.

On a roller coaster, for example, you could equip the ride with video cameras so that when you board you present a bar-coded ticket to a scanner then a short video showing your reactions can be saved to a temporary web page for sharing later. Multiple rides could also be connected together to add a new dimension of gamification, allowing users to win a "badge" for sampling many attractions and then share this badge to Facebook. A gym could add bar code scanners to equipment and allow customers to share what they have achieved, golf courses could allow players to share their scores and much more.

Abba The Museum is going to be one of the case studies in my social media course this year and in the months before the 2013 course starts I will be watching for new examples to mention, so if you implement any scheme like this please get in touch. Meantime if you'd like to see Abba The Museum yourself you can book a slot on the museum website -- everyone books a slot time so that there are no lines.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching, Writing

For lectures, workshops, coaching and writing on this and other topics related to communication visit, email or call 0033 6 79 61 42 81 (France) or 0046 730 894 475 (Sweden).