By Marcela Jenney
How does personal branding “translate” around the globe in other cultures?
Developing Your Personal Brand ‘Offline’
In today’s global business environment, the use of the Internet has forever changed the way in which we brand ourselves across cultures and ethnicities. However, ‘solopreneurs’ consumed by the ongoing task of honing their personal brand online should not forget the importance of networking in developing their personal brand ‘offline’.
Networking essentially involves building relationships with people, and special care must be taken when networking across cultures and ethnicities. Regardless of the culture in question, the key to cultivating lasting cross-cultural business relationships is by establishing trust. This is achieved through a combination of communication and credibility. Communicating with people in a way that is culturally sensitive shows them that you respect their traditions and beliefs, and earns you a level of credibility that garners their trust.
Begin every networking encounter with a big smile and firm handshake, then introduce yourself by offering your name, job title, company and location. Ask open-ended questions without appearing to be overly personal or prying, talk in terms of your new contacts’ interests and always remember to be a good listener. This endears new people to you and helps make you memorable. They will be more likely to remain in touch with you, and may lead to an exchange of business cards; the desired outcome of a networking encounter.
As soon as possible after your networking exchange, make notes of whom you’ve met and what you’ve learned about them, and comprise a subsequent plan of action. Whatever the plan, begin with a follow-up ‘thank-you’ e-mail, which can lead to new business and social relationships.
So don’t forget to do your part to develop and strengthen your personal brand ‘offline’, and let networking ‘work’ for you in ways you never thought possible. You’ll be glad you did!
Marcela Jenney is an international entrepreneurial marketing expert, business coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience. She partners with language service providers as well as professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds.