Creating Your A-Team Network
Apr 1, 2013 12:55 PM
You’ve been hearing CEDIA talk about the all-important network for well over a year at this point. Let’s take a moment to step away from the technical network and talk about your business network.
We have heard many times over that a top reason to attend CEDIA Expo is the opportunity to network with peers and meet others in the industry. These experiences, talking shop and sharing pain points help us all feel like we are not alone.
When you take the time to network with other professionals in the industry you are creating a community of people that you can reach out to for support. Whether its client troubles, employee turnover or how to troubleshoot the ever pesky HDMI, chances are someone else has battled the same issues. You also may have the satisfaction of providing advice that it took you much longer to learn or skills that were difficult to hone.
All of this sounds great, but you may be thinking how do I create a network? Networking is not a once a year effort. To cultivate a network that goes beyond the social sphere or a simple hello at a cocktail hour you need to be purposeful and persistent. There are lots of different theories on how to network and who the key players in your network should be. Tai Goodwin describes 10 people that should be in your network in an article for Forbes titled “How to Build a Powerful Professional Network”. Below are a few examples of people who should be in your network and how they may look in our industry.
The Mentor – Everyone has aspirations for where they would like to take their business. Perhaps it’s filling your rolodex with celebrity clientele or you dream of being able to sell the business by the time you’re 50. A mentor is someone who has been there; they’ve been successful in the same goals you are pursuing. Mentors can offer you direction and guidance and even help you avoid some pitfalls that they may have fallen into on their road to success.
The Visionary: This industry is full of visionaries, just look at the past 20 years of CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners . The visionary has the power to inspire you each time you meet. They can help you dream big dreams and figure out ways to bring them to fruition. CEDIA has employed the help of industry visionaries on projects like the Future Technology Pavilion and The ESC of 2016 White Paper. When you’re blazing new trails make sure you have a visionary on board to share a big vision with you.
The Partner: Networking can often seem like a risk, you may be in the same room as your competition. However it’s important to have someone in your network that is in a similar stage as you, a fellow technician or owner – maybe not from the same area. This is someone who can commiserate and celebrate with you because they’re in the same place and they ‘get it’
The Wanna-Be: It’s always important to pay it forward, mentor someone who could benefit from your wisdom and experience. Maybe this is someone who is just getting into the industry or a veteran that has decided to change the look or direction of their business. It may sound corny but be the type of mentor you would like to have.
Now that we’ve talked about the essential people to have in your network you may be wondering how to get started. CEDIA EXPO will be here before we know it (September 25-28 in Denver, CO) but CEDIA is also offering a new opportunity for members to network face-to-face. Connect with CEDIA events will begin in May and will allow you to learn from experts in the field, discuss hot topics, and socialize. The first event will be in Indianapolis, IN on May 2. Additional Connect with CEDIA events are scheduled through the year visit www.cedia.net/calendar for the full schedule.
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