NOTE: This is a book excerpt with minor edits from You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works by Marcy Twete. When it comes to your network, you have to strike a cool balance. To ensure you’re building the right kind of network, it is important to note that adding people to your network for reasons both substantive and shallow is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. Why? Because your network, when strategically built, should also be well balanced. I’ve created the “Seven Layers of Your Personal Network” to help you evaluate your current network and determine where you might need to add a few people here and there.

1. The “Move A Body” Friend

Brene Brown once said we should all have at least one friend who would, without hesitation, “help you move a body.” Now, let’s hope you never call anyone looking for a shovel. But if you did, ask yourself this: Who would you call? We sometimes forget to include these people in our network because their connection with is intensely personal and not professional. Big mistake!

2. Cheerleaders And Shoulders To Cry On

Hopefully, you’ve collected quite a few people who rest in this second layer of your personal network. They’re the kind of friends you’d call if you went through a break-up, needed help moving across town, or wanted someone to look over a cover letter before you apply for a job. They’re the first people you’d call when you need a boost or had a bad day, and the easiest people in your life to show your true feelings to.

3. Cheers To You!

This layer consists of people you’d invite to your birthday party at the hot new restaurant, the people you’d call when you’re in the mood for a Wednesday night happy hour, and generally fall more into the “friend” category than the “business connection” category. They’re an important part of your network because their relationship with you is largely personal, but they’re usually willing to act as a reference, connect you to someone they know at a company you might be interested in, and if they’re a social butterfly, even better!

4. Coffee Mates And Lunch Dates

When you’re thinking about the kinds of people who reside in this layer, you’ll think about former co-workers you continue to keep in touch with, individuals you may have met at a professional luncheon or event, potential employers you’re networking with intentionally, and others you’d consider close to you, but in a professional capacity only.

5. Conjunction Connections

Any child of the 1970s or 1980s will remember School House Rock. One of its most famous ditties went like this, “Conjunction junction, what’s your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.” It’s exactly that reason that the fifth layer of your personal network is labeled “Conjunction Connections.” The people in this layer aren’t “hooking up words and phrases and clauses” but they are hooking up people and information and opportunities. They don’t know everybody, but the people they do know, they’re always linking to one another.

6. Stand Still, Look Pretty

We don’t always want to admit it, but we all have these people in our networks. They’re, for lack of a better word, decorative. You’ve done work with them, and they tend to have a good name in their field, but you know and so does everyone else that they’re all talk, little substance. Why is this person valuable to your network? Because she knows everybody! Usually, these “Stand Still, Look Pretty” types are also pretty big gossips, and you don’t want to be on her bad side.

7. What’s Your Name Again?

The seventh layer of your personal network is clear. You met someone, you took their business card, and maybe you even added them as a LinkedIn connection or followed them on Twitter. But the truth is, you would struggle to remember their name or their face if casually asked. If you wanted to get in touch with one of these connections, you’d begin your email by reminding her where you met or a little about yourself because you know that, for her, you’re likely a seventh layer connection as well. You’ve hopefully taken the time to both think through and list out a number of your connections in each of the seven layers of your personal network. Which layers are you heavy in and which have fewer connections? None of these results is good or bad. It simply helps you to see the current diversity of your network specifically related to their proximity to you and your ability to immediately connect with them on certain issues and needs.

Watch This FREE Webinar!

When we think about networking, we often think about mixers, events, conferences, and coffee meetings. While in-person networking is key to your success, you can also build meaningful relationships to enhance your professional networks by using various social media channels. In this session, Marcy Twete, founder of the Career Girl Network and author of You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works, will lead you through the process of developing your professional brand online and using it to build the network of your dreams. The workshop will tackle the fine line between the personal and professional on Facebook and LinkedIn, using Twitter to develop friendships and become a thought-leader, and dive into lesser known social media channels specific to the nonprofit sector and other fields.   WATCH NOW ►   Photo Credit: Shutterstock
NOTE: This is a book excerpt with minor edits from You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works by Marcy Twete. Julie Cottineau left her position as VP of Branding at Virgin in 2011 not only to become an entrepreneur, but also to help other entrepreneurs. She realized that the kind of branding expertise she could cultivate and access at Virgin simply wasn’t available to small business owners and others who couldn’t afford massive branding and marketing teams. The idea for her company, BrandTwist, came to Julie in an airport terminal (for my money, a much better place to brainstorm than a conference table). In the distance, Julie saw the McDonald’s golden arches on the tail fin of an airplane while she was running from gate to gate. She wondered, “What would it look like if an airline took on the brand persona of McDonalds?” Simple, right? She told me it would be “consistent, would provide good value, be family friendly” and all of the other brand traits we might associate with the golden arches. The golden arches and the plane turned out to be just a mirrored reflection of an airport McDonalds, but this “brand mirage” gave Julie the idea for her company and the signature twist she provides to her clients. You can begin to practice the BrandTwist as you look at corporations you easily interact with every day. What would it look like if Best Buy adopted some of the brand persona of Starbucks? Stores might get smaller, and production would get faster. They might consider being less sales oriented and more process oriented. Where Starbucks greets you with a big smile and a quick “get you through the line and out the door” mentality, Best Buy takes a longer sales process and browsing time into account. Could you fundamentally change its success by applying a completely different twist to its brand? Julie thinks so! And I agree.

It’s All About YOU!
 The BrandTwist Concept In Your Own Career

Julie knew when she launched her business she couldn’t simply differentiate herself within the field of branding experts – there are just too many. Julie looked not to her own field, but to one far away from hers for inspiration – cooking. Her personal BrandTwist became Julie Cottineau + Rachel Ray. “Rachel Ray makes cooking fun. She stands out against all the other chefs because she’s accessible. She’s not too serious. She’s colorful. She’s fun. She has long hair! And above all, she has a ‘make it work’ mentality. Don’t have shallots? No big deal. Grab an onion!” Julie’s model of Rachel Ray’s brand inspired her to launch her business with a full infusion of fun and a dedication to accessibility. You don’t have to try to emulate Starbucks or Apple or McDonalds. You can get incredible brand inspiration from an individual whose brand truly shines – someone like Rachel Ray.

Finding Your Own “Rachel Ray”

Close your eyes and walk yourself through the statements you’d make about the brand you want to cultivate. How are you positioning yourself? What are your key skills and personal attributes? Then, begin to think through a Rolodex full of celebrities, high-level women in business, authors, and so on. Who pops into your head? Who might you want to twist your brand with to make you even more powerful? From there:
  • List the brand traits that represent that individual.
  • Make a second list next to that one of the ways you might incorporate those traits into your own brand.
  • Find commonalities. Even if you’re a lawyer comparing your brand persona with Angelina Jolie, you might be able to find similarities between you to make your brand even more powerful (maybe you both love giving back and volunteering or you have a strange affinity for bad boys). Note these commonalities.
The great news about these exercises is that you won’t need them forever. Julie Cottineau has created a brand phenomenally strong in itself, even without her Rachel Ray comparison. Before talking with Julie about this narrative, she and I had never met, but I’ve followed her BrandTwist blog for years. Before our conversation, I described Julie to my husband as someone who has a “fun approach to something that’s normally difficult to understand” and even remarked to him that her brand was “colorful.” Clearly, I hit the nail on the head with her branding promise and the persona she includes with it. I’d say Julie has reached her aspirational branding platform!
 It takes time, though, so keep your own Rachel Ray around for as long as you need her!

Watch This FREE Webinar!

When we think about networking, we often think about mixers, events, conferences, and coffee meetings. While in-person networking is key to your success, you can also build meaningful relationships to enhance your professional networks by using various social media channels. In this session, Marcy Twete, founder of the Career Girl Network and author of You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works, will lead you through the process of developing your professional brand online and using it to build the network of your dreams. The workshop will tackle the fine line between the personal and professional on Facebook and LinkedIn, using Twitter to develop friendships and become a thought-leader, and dive into lesser known social media channels specific to the nonprofit sector and other fields.   WATCH NOW ►   Photo Credit: Shutterstock
NOTE: This is a book excerpt with minor edits from You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works by Marcy Twete. It was October of 2009 when the idea for You Know Everybody! first came to me. I had been dating a man named Charlie for just a few weeks (he would eventually become my husband). We ventured one October evening to Minneapolis’ newest hot spot, Bar La Grassa. After opening just days before, a friend of a friend made some calls and got me a 7:00 p.m. seating, which thoroughly impressed my new not-quite boyfriend. As the host escorted us to our table in the back corner of the bustling dining room, I scanned the faces of those around me. I smiled, nodded, waved here and there, and, upon sitting down, immediately turned to Charlie and said, “This place is like a who’s who of Minneapolis/St. Paul.” He laughed uncomfortably and asked, “How do you know?” For the next few minutes, I covertly drew my date’s attention to the man across the room to the left in the blue suit. That’s the CEO of one of the Twin Cities’ largest companies. Next, the group of girlfriends dressed to the nines—all members of families with what you’d call “old money” in Minnesota. And at the bar, hoping for a table, was one of the city’s best event planners, sipping a martini with a Star Tribune editor and a fashion designer who was rumored to be cast on Project Runway. Those people weren’t just faces to me. They were my friends, my colleagues, all of whom I could call in a moment’s notice if I needed something. After I gave Charlie the skinny on at least half the room, he turned to me and said the words that would shape the course of my life and, ultimately, inspire this book. He said, “Wow, Marcy. You Know Everybody!” He was right. I had amassed a network in Minneapolis/St. Paul that included everyone from corporate CEOs to chefs, artists, actors, and those you might call socialites. I didn’t know that night, or in the months to come, that my networking abilities would soon be tested beyond any measure I could imagine. I had no idea that the appearance of the You Know Everybody! idea in my life would actually be an invitation to the universe to throw down the gauntlet: Less than a year later, Charlie and I would pick up our furniture and our cat and move to the Windy City of Chicago. Fast forward to December 9, 2010. Around noon, I walked into the Union League Club in downtown Chicago, looked around the room, and experienced one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I scanned the faces of the 200 women gathered for the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago luncheon, and my feelings were the exact opposite of those at Bar La Grassa the year before. Not a soul in the room was familiar to me. I knew nobody. Despite the fact that I would eventually look back on this PWCC luncheon as a success, that evening I sobbed to Charlie. I asked him how would I ever make friends, how would I ever build the kind of network in Chicago I had in Minneapolis? “How,” I asked, “am I ever going to get through this?” I won’t lie to you—there were many more evenings like that one. Evenings when I sobbed and shook and wondered how I would ever get through such a huge transition in my life. But I embarked on a process to create the same kind of network in Chicago that I had in Minneapolis. And between the tears and the fear, I had to believe if I did it once, I could do it again. Fast-forward again to November 16, 2011. That evening, I walked into a room filled with hundreds of Chicago women at the Step Up Women’s Network annual Stepping Up in the City event. I closed my eyes and thought back to that evening in Bar La Grassa and then to that terrifying first luncheon at PWCC, and compared the two. I realized I felt more like the former than the latter. And at one moment in the evening, I was standing next to a new friend who turned to me and exclaimed, “Wow, Marcy. You Know Everybody!” I realized then that my network in Minneapolis wasn’t created accidentally and my new network in Chicago hadn’t been, either. When I moved to Chicago, I attacked networking intentionally, and with a clear, well-thought-out plan. In less than a year, I went from knowing nobody to knowing (again, as well as anyone can) everybody.

Watch This FREE Webinar!

When we think about networking, we often think about mixers, events, conferences, and coffee meetings. While in-person networking is key to your success, you can also build meaningful relationships to enhance your professional networks by using various social media channels. In this session, Marcy Twete, founder of the Career Girl Network and author of You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works, will lead you through the process of developing your professional brand online and using it to build the network of your dreams. The workshop will tackle the fine line between the personal and professional on Facebook and LinkedIn, using Twitter to develop friendships and become a thought-leader, and dive into lesser known social media channels specific to the nonprofit sector and other fields.   WATCH NOW ►   Photo Credit: Shutterstock