Stand Out: Thoughts on Networking from Dorie ClarkNovember 5, 2015
Recently, I had the good fortune to visit with my friend Dorie Clark about her latest book, Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It, which follows on the heels of her wonderfully successful, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future.
Dorie is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, TIME, Entrepreneur and the World Economic Forum blog. She and I first became acquainted when she was a featured speaker for a monthly webinar series I hosted; plus, she and I hale from the same alma mater, Smith College, so we’ve had a special bond from the start!
Dorie’s two excellent books complement one another well in that Reinventing You is sort of a 101 guide for people who want to reinvent/change themselves particularly as it pertains to their job or career. Once they have gotten to the place they want to go, Stand Out helps the reader excel to be the best in their profession, company or similar entity.
I asked Dorie what key takeaway she hopes her readers get from the book. She had this to say:
“The reason I wrote Stand Out is I want people to understand that the old advice we used to get around just doing our jobs to the best of our abilities is what will get us noticed and help us advance through our organizations or industries is becoming less and less relevant. Today we live in a media saturated environment. In order to truly get noticed for excellence or expertise or innovation, we cannot wait and wish for it to happen. We must, well, stand out!”
In her book, Dorie includes an entire chapter dedicated solely to the concept of building an effective network. In fact, Stand Out has a separate companion publication on the topic: Stand Out Networking: A Simple and Authentic Way to Meet People on Your Own Terms. I love Dorie’s perspective on purposeful networking – in fact, it is in complete alignment with the Coffee Lunch Coffee approach to the topic. Here’s how she describes her “very different view of networking:”
“…the real goal, whether you’re meeting at a conference or online, is to turn a brief encounter into a real long-lasting, and mutually beneficial relationship. You can’t swap business cards at a cattle-call function and book a multimillion dollar contract a few days later. For any meaningful business transaction, trust – built up over time – is the essential ingredient. It’s premature and distasteful to focus on the end goal of wresting dollars from someone. Instead, with networking, the journey is the destination.”
Always excited to hear new ideas for connecting with others, I was curious to know how Dorie herself has gone about “meeting people on her own terms.” One of the best gems she shared was about a monthly dinner party she organizes each month built around common themes (e.g. publishing professionals, thought leaders, miscellaneous people she’s met from different industries). Her intent is to bring together interesting people who she wants to get to know and who she wants to introduce to each other. She picks a restaurant, sends out an invitation and voila! A dinner party is planned! A week before the event, she distributes a list of participants with their bios, confirms date and time, reminds everyone that it is “Dutch Treat” (i.e., each participant pays for him/herself) and answers any questions that come up. I love this idea so much, that I intend to “borrow” it myself!
In terms of standing out and finding ways to connect with others, as Dorie put it, you don’t need to have a million different strategies – instead, come up with one good one that works for you and max it out! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I urge you to check out Dorie’s work – read her books, follow her blog – you will certainly agree her approach is useful to you in order to “stand out” in whatever you pursue.
P.S. — Wishing a very Happy 68th Birthday to my awesome dad, Max Muller! You know, you’re looking good (“for a man your age…!”)!