Secrets of Power Networking

This post is a part of a 4 part series for Rising Tide, a community designed to give Millennials the tools and access necessary for career success. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

The word “networking” may bring up feelings of anxiety or confusion if you’ve been exposed to people who don’t really understand networking. The truth is that networking is essential to professional success. The sooner you learn to create and sustain meaningful business relationships, the sooner you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of amazing opportunities and connections.


Here are 4 tips to make you a better networker:


1. Networking happens between people.

Even when business is the main agenda, remember that you’re dealing with a person. That person has feelings, hopes, fears, and aspirations the same way you do. Approach every interaction with the other person’s goals in mind, and you’ll find it easier to connect with new people. The best way to make a great impression is to relax and put your best foot forward.


2. Value is networking lubricant.

It’s easier to find common ground and break the ice when you’re focused on providing value to the other party. Before a call or meeting, do your homework on the person and their company. Brainstorm ways you can add value to that person’s career. Think about expertise you have, people you know, and upcoming opportunities.


3. The fortune is the follow up.

It’s one thing to connect with awesome people and form connections. It’s another to build solid relationships that serve you for years. Forming relationships requires ongoing communication and exchanges. Be sure to follow up with new people shortly after you meet them and periodically check in to say hello and ask how you can be helpful.


4. Keep your digital identity current.

Take time once per quarter to check all of your social media profiles and be sure they’re current. This is especially important for LinkedIn where hiring managers frequently run searches to find talent.


Use these tips to become a networking master. Remember that it’s not just who you know; it’s who knows you.


Dressing for Success

This post is a part of a 4 part series for Rising Tide, a community designed to give Millennials the tools and access necessary for career success. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s often said that clothes don’t make the man, but the truth is that appearance matters. Whether we like or not, we’re often judged based on how we look and the image we project. As a Millennial, you probably want your personality to shine through in your wardrobe and appearance, but you don’t want to jeopardize your chances of getting the perfect job.


Here are some key things to remember when you’re dressing for success:


1. Cleanliness is a must.

As basic as it sounds, you must always been as clean and neat as possible. Fortunately, there are great products like Tide that help you keep your clothes in top shape.


2. Opportunity can knock anytime.

You may be presented with the opportunity of a lifetime at the moment you least expect. It’s important to always leave the house looking your best and feeling confident in your appearance.


3. Use color carefully.

While black and navy are traditionally accepted business colors, it’s perfectly fine to use color as a means of spicing up a drab wardrobe. Remember that color is meant to complement your image as a professional rather than distract from it.


Make getting dressed a part of your personal brand development. Always put your best foot forward.

3 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media

This post is a part of a 4 part series for Rising Tide, a community designed to give Millennials the tools and access necessary for career success. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

The current digital landscape has created an interesting set of challenges for Millennials. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to find information and connect with people all over the world. Social networking sites can deliver hours of entertainment, discussion, and interactions.


But with the good comes the bad. There are people who abuse social media and end up hurting themselves in the process. You shouldn’t be one of those people so follow these 3 rules of social media:


1. Avoid oversharing.

It’s easy to get comfortable sharing personal information since our followers online are usually family members and friends. Still, there is a such thing as too much sharing. Strangers can access your information and form opinions about you without ever personally knowing you. Avoid sharing too much information.


2. Never say anything you wouldn’t say in person.

The internet makes it easy to feel anonymous and powerful. However, it can also create a lot of drama. Social media is powered by people so remember that before you criticize someone, repeat gossip you heard, or say something rude. Treat people respectfully the way you would offline.


3. Remember that you’re being watched.

Even when you think no one is paying attention, you’re being watched. Take the time to think about what you’re saying before hitting “send” on your posts. You don’t want to put information online that could prevent you from getting your next job or forming a great connection.


Run your social media activities through personal and professional filters. The most important thing to remember is that digital content lives forever. Use your virtual power wisely.

Branding Lessons from Betty White

Confession time: I’m a Betty White stan.


Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t believe the hype about anybody, myself included. I’m not easily impressed with people, but there are a few that I love for specific reasons. I’ve been a Betty White groupie since the ‘90s – she’s funny, she’s creative, she’s likeable, and she has a brilliant personal brand.


I’ve observed 5 powerful ways we can all use Betty’s branding brilliance to create longevity and win the affection of our audiences:


1. Be Authentic.

Above all else, Betty White is who she is. By that, I mean she’s very comfortable in her skin. She holds no punches when sharing her opinion about everything from animal rights to smart phones. When we examine some of the strongest personal brands in the world – Oprah, Richard Branson, and others – we see people who have a very clear understanding of who they are and an unwavering willingness to own that, even in the glare of bright lights and cameras.


Lesson: Know who you are, own who you are, and celebrate who you are – others will adopt your opinion of yourself.


2. Diversify your delivery.

There’s been constant chatter about focus. “Focus on one thing and be really good at it.” For beginners, this is good advice. Attempting too many things at once can be overwhelming for those who haven’t created a personal brand or don’t have the project management chops to handle it. However, doing one thing forever is a recipe for becoming irrelevant. The most interesting people are willing to venture outside of their niches and try new things. Betty White started as an actress and model and went on to host, write books, defend animal rights, and produce music. Betty is the epitome of a woman who effectively diversified based on her personality.


Lesson: Multiple delivery methods expand your reach. New ways of reaching audiences will naturally emerge – explore them and use the ones that make sense.


3. Reinvent Yourself.

Betty White earned her following with popular shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls. She went on to work on dozens of shows doing everything from doing Super Bowl commercials (the most recent of which was the 2012 Super Bowl) to hosting Saturday Night Live. A quick scan of her previous co-stars reveals reluctance towards reinvention. Betty remains relevant because she’s found authentic yet interesting ways to keep herself working and growing. She’s not afraid to take risks or look foolish because she’s more interested in playing full out and living a life worth talking about. If your brand doesn’t evolve, your business and career won’t either. Reinvention is the secret to longevity in any industry.


Lesson: Don’t be afraid to try new things. The most interesting and watched people are those that stay ahead of the innovation curves in their industries while staying true to who they are.


4. Stay in motion.

Last year, Entertainment Weekly did a piece on Betty White’s schedule. It was one of those “A Day With…” pieces where they followed her for 24 hours. I was floored at how active she is. She gets more done in a day than many people do all month. As I reflected on how vibrant she is, I realized that the “Use it or lose it” adage is true. Betty’s youthful energy and ever expanding career are a result of her very active lifestyle. She mentioned that she likes to feed her mind with interesting things, and she takes good care of her body.


Lesson: Preserve your body and mind. Stay active and stay curious.


5. Stand for something.

The writers at Hot in Cleveland wanted to do an episode where Betty White’s character consumed marijuana. For Betty, this is off limits. Betty has made her stance clear: “I don’t do dope jokes. I don’t think dope is funny or fun or whatever.” With the popularity and “cool” factor that a marijuana joke may have had for someone her age, Betty was against it and the writers had to accommodate her request. She wouldn’t sell out for the joke. No matter how successful your personal brand is (now or in the future), you must set boundaries. You must stand for something.


Lesson: Know your limits. Honor your truth. Taking a stand may not always be popular, but it’s always the right thing to do on behalf of your personal brand.


Personal branding is more important than ever in the new economy. Follow Betty White’s lead and maybe you’ll still be relevant in your nineties.


The Best Brands = Loyal Fans

About the Author
Lisa Nicole Bell is an accomplished entrepreneur, entertainment executive, and the executive producer of the American Dream Revised.