Whether you own a business, serve on a board or lead a company, there usually comes a time when you reach a fork in the road or you desire to make a change that reflects the kind of person you would like to become in your career.
While everyone’s path to success looks different, some of the most influential leaders – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jane Goodall and Nelson Mandela – are those who have aligned their truth, values, intent and purpose with the work that they do.
One of the most effective ways to boost your career and attract opportunities that are aligned with your beliefs is through networking and executing a communication strategy that is underpinned by a value-first approach.
“People will want to connect with you and people will want to become involved with you because they can see the value that you add to their lives,” Powerful Steps Founder Tory Archbold says.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, really look at how you can develop a strategy around your visibility, but most importantly, about how you can help others.”
For Archbold, leading and networking with heart, as opposed to ego, enables professionals to gain more visibility.
“I feel a lot of female leaders struggle with visibility and they struggle because they don’t understand the power of their story.”
“I see a lot of female leaders in business, and they trip up and they get side-lined because their ego gets involved. Whereas if they were a value-based leader and a heart-led leader, they’re more likely to be seen and visible because they’ve got the advocacy.”
The key difference, she explains, is that, in the process of building partnerships, you ask yourself the following questions: What value can I impart on the person seated opposite me? How can I help their audience or community?
“When you’re a woman in a leadership role, it’s not about you. It’s about the team that you lead, and it’s about the message that you portray on behalf of a company or a service that you represent,” Archbold emphasizes.
The former Founder of brand communications agency TORSTAR turned podcast host has recently written Self Belief is Your Superpower, due to launch in the United States in April. She explains that she founded each of these projects and businesses with great success as a result of her networking efforts.
“Community and networking have built my business, and I feel very privileged that I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some incredible people and we’re able to help each other through the power of networking,” Archbold reflects.
How to network with heart
No matter your professional status or the number of people advocating for you at a senior level, Archbold tells The CEO Magazine that the first powerful step you can take is to build your online profile on LinkedIn, ensuring that you are contactable and that the right information is being communicated about you.
Investing in a strong brand profile is the foundation of networking, as it allows people to quickly gain a sense of who you are and what you have to offer.
“Some people don’t invest in a brand profile and many women don’t. And that’s okay,” she says. “But I say that, if you want to elevate and lead and really make an impact for other people as a leader, get that right. Get your profile right.”
However, while many women around the world today may have achieved tremendous success in their careers, Archbold’s expertise is in helping professionals and businesses to uncover and leverage their story.
“If I look at where everyone’s located, what those relationships mean to my business, how I can add value to their business and vice versa, I’m going to get a really strong and powerful outcome.”
“I feel a lot of female leaders struggle with visibility and they struggle because they don’t understand the power of their story,” she says. “Telling a story is not that glossy, polished version that everyone showed to the world before the COVID-19 pandemic and before lockdown. It’s actually showing that, you know what? I’ve had a few speed humps in my career.”
Organizing three coffee dates a week, whether that’s face-to-face or through Zoom, is a strategy Archbold recommends to build your community and to test the waters as to who is a good fit with your personal brand.
“Have a coffee date with someone you know, someone you want to partner with and someone completely outside your comfort zone, right? Reach out to people that are outside your network or community because you never know what kind of opportunity will come forward,” she suggests.
A little trick that the networking expert recommends is to ‘pay it forward’, which simply means offering to pay for someone’s coffee and facilitating a scenario for a conversation to naturally occur. “I do ‘pay-it-forward coffee dates’ all around the world simply because I want to meet new people. I love the power of hearing their stories. For instance, you might be lining up in a coffee shop where you know lots of the movers and shakers that you want to get involved with.”
Her other tip is that, if you’re unsure whether you want to join a particular community, begin following and engaging with the organization’s social media posts.
“If you want to tap into the power of their network or their community, just start following and engaging and understanding who they are,” she suggests. “And if it feels like a good fit, then book in and attend an event. That’s the best advice I can give.”
A mutual exchange
While it may be easy to confuse ‘networking with heart’ with giving more than you receive in return, for Archbold, mutual exchange is the differentiating factor of any networking exploration. “I never say ‘yes’ to a coffee date unless I know who that person is,” she says. “And I can see really quickly when someone just wants something from me versus what that mutual exchange of energy is.”
“I’m very protective and I create boundaries because I value my time, I value my energy,” she affirms. “I also know that, when I’m clear on who I am and what I want, I attract people at that same level. And that’s what makes a powerful coffee date.”
For example, Archbold teamed up with multi-award winning wellness resort Kamalaya Koh Samui, which hosted her while writing her book. In exchange, she partnered with the company to launch a series of events and is planning retreats for her community to benefit from all that the resort has to offer senior leaders.
Investing in people and partnerships has also meant that the events offered by Powerful Steps reflect the power of word-of-mouth advocacy, which Archbold wholeheartedly believes in. “I believe in what I’m capable of achieving, but also I’m only capable of doing that because I surround myself with the right people. And that’s through the power of networking.”
Five tips to elevate your networking in 2023
1. Invest in a success mindset ritual
Whether you meditate, go for a walk in nature or take a shower, a morning ritual goes a long way towards helping you to gain clarity and unplugging yourself from the noise and chaos that surrounds us.
“If you want to become bolder, if you want to step up, but you’re not quite sure how to do it, it’s the routine in the morning, the success mindset,” Archbold says. “It’s getting away from the clutter and the noise and really being able to think clearly.”
2. Join a community
With professionals operating in different parts of the world, sometimes in remote locations, being part of a community has never been more important. “Everyone in my community has great success simply because I teach them to lead with a heart,” she says.
Whether you’re the CEO of a company or the owner of your own business, the benefits are multi-faceted, granting you access to senior expertise to answer that last-minute question before giving a speech or a boost in confidence when making a daunting business decision.
“You’ve got to make an effort if you’re a woman in business,” Archbold says. “I’ve got a client who lives in regional New South Wales. Now, last year I did an event for International Women’s Day in a remote town in New South Wales. She drove almost a thousand miles to hear me speak because she understands the power of the connections in the room and it’s helped give her the confidence to build a global brand.”
3. Know your value and the value of others
For Archbold, building relationships is a long-term investment that is based on value exchange. For the launch of her new book, she’s thought carefully about how to network effectively to create the most impact – not just for herself, but for those she connects with.
“If I look at where everyone’s located, what those relationships mean to my business, how I can add value to their business and vice versa, I’m going to get a really strong and powerful outcome,” she proposes. “I think that, if you have value to add and you believe that you can share that with other people, that’s believing in yourself – that’s believing in the possibilities of life. And that’s a really powerful tool for anyone to have.”
4. Own your story
“Once you understand your story, you’ll become a standout leader,” Archbold says. “People will want to connect with you and people will want to become involved with you because they can see the value that you add to their lives. That’s really important.”
5. Step outside your comfort zone
In addition to reaching out to contacts beyond the parameters of your immediate network, Archbold recommends listening to podcasts that might not be at the top of the list of the most popular podcasts in 2023.
“Listen to podcasts from people all around the world. Listen to podcasts that actually set your heart on fire and tap into the power of other people’s stories, the power of how they go about life. You’ll find that little pieces of what they’re saying will trigger something in you that confirms it’s okay to step forward.”