Networking: Staying in touch and on top of the industry

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The EA is an inherently social position. Establishing contacts is a fundamental element of the successful management of an executive’s daily demands. Keeping in touch with your colleagues can not only help with the day-to-day, but also help you stay on top of an industry that is always changing.

Making friends across the industry is now easier than ever. With the advent of rapid communication technology, it is almost an effort to stay out of touch. However, knowing exactly how and when to apply your time to networking is now more important.

Traditionally, networking was the art of balancing your workload with the time-consuming practice of meeting people in person, discussing industry changes and sharing knowledge face-to-face. This would often result in extra-long days spent

working and then catching up with colleagues. Nowadays, networking has moved to the digital sphere. With social media dominating how people and professionals communicate, an EA can find themselves wading through a sea of digital communication.

Social media acumen is emphasised in just about all professional requirements in today’s world. Learning how to proficiently network through social media, requires finesse and experience. The key to networking over social media is cutting through the noise. Everyone can participate on the various social platforms, which results in a staggering amount of information being thrown at you. A majority of this information is, as a result, not worth your time.

The most successful digital networking is not all that different to the old-school after-work coffee shop chat. Social media can allow EAs to become members of a digital community. With an infinite array of sub-networks across large media platforms, EAs should find a range of appropriate communities, forums and pages to suit their networking requirements. Selecting the right community and devoting time and effort into cultivating your presence and recognition in that community has boundless benefits.

Knowing your online networks

Finding the right social media group to devote time to is always a process of trial and error. The more platforms that you engage with, the more success you will have. Here are some places to start with:

  • Facebook pages: Pages are essentially forums where people come together to interact and due to the enormity of the network, there is a page for every EA to call home.
  • Reddit’s “sub-reddit”: Reddit is a little- known network, yet one that is becoming increasingly popular for professionals across many elds. Made up of smaller communities, the user can tailor his or her homepage to popular posts from a select range of communities, such as /r/ ExecutiveAssistants.

Despite our attachment to social media, people are still social animals. Research continually proves that face to face contact always makes more a lasting impression than
digital communication. Getting to know people within your office is an easy first step in building a personal network of colleagues. Establishing lasting relationships with the people in your of ce, particularly the heads of various departments will open doors within your organisation that can reduce lengthy approval periods or communication breakdowns.

Staying in touch with other EAs outside of your office or even your industry is a challenging and time- consuming practice, yet, despite the reliance on social media, personal experiences are without doubt the most valuable. Never underestimate the value of a friend in your industry.