You have a professional community. It's not just your friends, family and colleagues -- it's also the people you follow on social media, the people who comment on your blog posts, and everyone whose thoughts inspire you. Your professional community is huge, but it can be hard to sift through all the noise & feel truly connected.
Reach out to your network
Your professional network is the people you know who can help you grow. This means that your family and friends, colleagues, and acquaintances all make up this community. It also means more than just those people who are physically near to you. It could mean the person across the country whom you have never met but have a common interest in. Your professional community is global in nature because it is an open system that allows for ideas to be shared across borders and cultures.
A professional network is not just a place to ask for help. It’s also a place where you can share the knowledge and experience that you have with others. When you are part of this community, you are constantly learning new things from those around you and giving back what they need as well. This gives everyone involved in it an opportunity to grow together!
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Attend networking events
Attendees of a conference on regenerative medicine will probably have a lot more in common with each other than they would have with attendees of a conference on social media marketing. The former may include doctors, researchers and people who are interested in health care; the latter may include marketers and entrepreneurs who want to make money online. If you can find events where the people attending share your interests, then it's likely that those networking opportunities will be more productive for you than ones where this isn't true.
It's not enough for an event to simply relate directly back to your industry — it should also interest YOU personally! What do you get excited about? What topics keep you awake at night? Which conferences have been intriguing enough that they've kept coming up in conversation over time (and why)? If these questions lead only toward generic answers like "well-being," "green living," or anything else of this nature without any specific relevance within an existing context such as work life or personal identity then maybe it's time for something new!
Volunteer for community service
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and expand your professional network. It's also a way to give back to the community. If you're looking for volunteer opportunities, there are various websites that list them—you can even search by zip code or city! If the thought of searching for volunteer work on your own makes you cringe, there are even options for finding local organizations that match with your interests and time constraints.
Do a monthly coffee/lunch or meet-up day
Set a time and place. You can do this on a regular basis, or make it an exception that happens once or twice per year. Invite people to join you. Make sure you have enough time to make the event worthwhile for everyone involved.
Be prepared to talk about things other than work! While there's nothing wrong with talking about work, it's important not to limit your professional networking efforts solely to that topic—after all, if all you ever talk about is work when being social with colleagues, what else is there? Don't be afraid of getting personal; just like in real life (or at least my experience), most people are much more open and willing than they give themselves credit for when they're comfortable around friends and colleagues they trust.
Get involved with your favorite podcasts
Get in on the conversation. Listen to podcasts and comment on the blog posts of your favorite hosts. This is a great way to build relationships with other people in your industry and let them know you want to join the conversation. Even if a podcast isn't directly related to your industry, it never hurts to share what you know with others who enjoy that kind of content.
You can also reach out via email or social media if you have questions about something they’ve discussed in an episode or post that hasn’t been answered yet—they may even be able to add it into future shows! If you have a great idea for a podcast that you think would be popular, don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite podcasters and let them know. You never know—they might just take your advice!
Check out VO BOSS
If you're looking for a place to explore the business of the voice over industry, VO BOSS is the place to start. From creating a winning business mindset and plan to choosing the best marketing strategies & tools, VO BOSS guides voiceover talent toward success. Each week, Anne Ganguzza focuses on a specific topic, helping talent navigate today’s #VO industry and having fun along the way!
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You can do this by being yourself. You're not going to get anywhere if you try to be someone else, so don't try to impress people with your credentials or knowledge. Instead, just ask questions and share your own experiences—your own mistakes are often the best way to show someone new things about a field in which they may not yet have much experience. Be open about when you don’t know something or don’t understand something so that others can help fill in those gaps for you!
The size of your professional network will never be as important as its quality. You can build your professional network in many ways. Some people prefer to connect with others online, but the best way to grow your professional community is by meeting people in person. When you value interactions with others, it becomes easier to care about them and help them in meaningful ways – even if they don’t know each other well yet! It can be difficult to connect with other professionals when you work from home. But, you're not the only one feeling this way. I believe in you & am rooting for your success in finding genuine connection with likeminded professionals.
Thanks for reading!
Keep on rocking your business like a #VOBOSS
Anne Ganguzza is a professional voice actor and award-winning director and producer who works with students to develop their voiceover and business skills - including voice over Coaching and Genre-based Demo Production. She specializes in conversational Commercial & Narration styles, including Corporate, eLearning, Technology, and On-Hold Messaging. Located in Orange County, California, Anne offers private coaching and mentoring services to students via ipDTL and Zoom.