IMG_3751Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know how adamant I am about the importance of networking.

I’ve written quite a bit before about my Spiderweb Approach to networking, how I teach it to my clients, and how you can apply it to your work and life.

Basic networking, however, is only part of the story of your success.

Why? Because it’s what you do once you’re connected to folks who take an interest in your success that matters most.

Which brings me to the story of how I ended up PMing with Perez Hilton on Twitter about technology management, my speaking engagement tonight at the 92nd Street Y, and being bicoastal with a family.

But first, a little backstory.

About six months ago, a longtime client of mine who is a major name in tech introduced me by email to his friend Ivanka Trump.

This was, in essence, a very traditional networking intro despite the big name at the other end of the email– one that mirrored introductions I’ve made and that have been made for me to others thousands of times, and one for which I remain profoundly grateful.

After that initial email intro, I suggested to Ivanka that we set up a phone call to talk about our respective endeavors, and she agreed. A few emails later, we had a date.

What happened next, however, is a prime example of what makes or breaks a good introduction, and how what you do with that good introduction can make or break the next stage of your career.

Did I just sit back thereafter and wait for the day when that call took place, and hope for the best?

Heck no. I prepared for that phone call like I prepared for the Bar Exam nearly twenty years ago.

I researched Ivanka’s new campaign on behalf of #womenwhowork.

I read every article I could find on her new website, platform, her launch, and her team.

I reviewed the profiles of all of her team members and all of her contributors, and began to evaluate what they had in common and how I might fill any gap.

I consulted with every member of my team as to what we considered might be an ideal working arrangement with Team Ivanka.

I drafted an outline of the call and the points I wanted to cover.

I envisioned how I wanted the call to go, and my ideal outcome.

And last but not least, I practiced my ask. Over and over and over again. In front of the mirror, behind closed doors, and in the minutes before the phone call actually began.

You’ll notice two things about this story: first, that I was extremely well-prepared for that first meeting, and second, I knew my ask backwards and forwards, and was entirely comfortable with speaking it out loud.

These two factors are key to using your most powerful networking connections.

Preparation and knowing your ask are mandatory to networking success. (tweet this)

You too may recognize how your preparation for a key meeting with a powerful networking connection might make or break the possibilities on offer there.

But that’s not all.

To return to our story, my initial call with Ivanka went extremely well– so well that she suggested a follow-up meeting at her office with her team. Shortly thereafter, she proposed that I write a few blog posts for her platform, and do a Facebook Q&A with her readers, over the next few months.

And this is where, to be entirely frank, I had to take my game the next level.

I had to do the best work I’d done in years in order to make sure I wasn’t squandering this enormous opportunity for my own professional growth.

I had to be rigorous with every deadline for Ivanka’s team, and uber-professional in all of our communications.

I had to show up earlier and better and stronger than any contributor they’d worked with before.

And I had to be creative– with my content, with my time, and with my goals– to give them everything they were after and more.

In other words, I had to show up, BIG.

Big opportunities require you to show up and do big work. (tweet this)

And if you can meet the challenge, the payoff can be huge.

Cut to the chase, and this initial relationship was so successful that I became Ivanka Trump’s first “Entrepreneur in Residence” for her #womenwhowork campaign, and inked a deal to write for her platform for the next year at least.

My latest post for Ivanka hit the wires this morning, and one of her readers happens to be Perez Hilton.

Yes, THAT Perez Hilton. He of the 6 million Twitter followers.

He who responded to Ivanka’s Twitter post about my latest offering with a thank you for the “great tips/pep talk!”

And with whom I’ve since been PMing about how to work smarter, and manage technology well, even when parenting young kids.

None of this would have been possible without my willingness to take a basic networking introduction, and maximize it for every single opportunity it presented.

And then, to do it again, at the next level, with the next person, the next time.

This serves as another great reminder: your network is not just as big as those you know– it’s as big as the networks of all those you know, communicate with, and share on social media. It’s exponential.

Every connection leads to a bigger, more expansive place.

Every connection leads to a new opportunity.

Every connection is another opportunity for you to shine.

Every connection is another opportunity for you to grow– whether that’s your career, your creativity, or your belief in yourself.

And when opportunity knocks, if you truly want to take your career and your life to the next level, you have to open the door and show up– even when it scares you.

Today, I ask you to consider this: who in your network is offering you a great chance to take your professional life to the next level? How can you meet that opportunity head on, and step up your game to get to where you want to go, and fast?

Now’s your chance. Play big. Play for keeps. Prepare and know your ask.

And remember: your best work will lead to even bigger and better opportunities. Show up, commit to the work, and get it done.

What’s your next big ask? Share it with me in the comments below, and make sure you commit to it.

Have a great week.

All the best,

Elizabeth

PS. Want to know how private coaching can help you take your game to the next level? Reach out here.

 

 

 

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