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Building a Powerful Personal Network In-Person and Online

“Has networking played a role in your success?” According to a comprehensive 12,000 strong survey by the “Father of Modern Networking” (Forbes, CNN) himself, Dr. Ivan Misner, a staggering 91% of respondents answered in the affirmative. Cultivating a robust network is a key pillar within the Human Capital Management program, as well as institutionally at Columbia University. This focus on access to world-class resources, lifelong career guidance, and access to a global network of thought leaders brought Dr. Misner to the HCM Club virtually for a recent webinar, titled “Networking for Success,” and led by the HCM Club’s own Thalia Charles (President), Jane Zelenko (Vice President), and Jay Niblick (Secretary). 

Columbia’s student-led HCM Club seeks to inspire and support its members through panel discussions, professional workshops and networking events. By participating in full-time, part-time, or online programs of the Master of Science in Human Capital Management, students are able to have direct access to insights from events with world-class industry guest speakers, like Dr. Misner, a New York Times bestselling author and the founder of BNI (Business Network International).  

Considered one of the top thought leaders on how to expand and leverage networking for professional growth and opportunities, Dr. Misner’s webinar provided practical and effective ideas to confidently build a referral-based business and powerful personal network. “Most colleges and universities view networking as a soft science,” Dr. Misner observed. “They’ll teach leadership, but most don’t teach networking.”

Among a robust overview of essential, tangible skill set techniques outlined, Dr. Misner offered insights for expanding your own powerful personal network. While many consider successful networking to be reliant on practiced skill sets, Dr. Miser encourages a focus on the importance of your mindset for networking, noting, “networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships with other business professionals.” Dr. Misner went on to advise that when it comes to networking, conventional wisdom about personality traits does not necessarily indicate a propensity for success. A self-described introvert and situational extrovert, Dr. Misner advised that “really good networkers have two ears and one mouth and use them proportionally.”    

Among other essentials to building a strong personal network include maintaining varied streams, including Knowledge Networks, strong Contact Networks, as well as Online Networks, including everything from employment-oriented services like LinkedIn to more purely social platforms like Instagram. As we’re entrenched in what Dr. Misner refers to as “the great pause,” it’s essential to maintain some perspective on the situation. While COVID-19 has undoubtedly disrupted traditional in-person networking opportunities, Dr. Misner reminds us that virtual mentors are easier to obtain than ever, and today’s technology allows business to carry on. “How you network online might be slightly different,” explains Dr. Misner, but “my experience is that people are people.” And if you maintain the fundamental techniques of building a powerful personal, whether you’re in a conference room or a Zoom room, “those things will work effectively.” Read more of Dr. Misner’s writing here.

 

Learn more about the M.S. in Human Capital Management program.