Donna Messer, speaker at networking meeting Happen Inc.

Statistics show that people like people who are like themselves, they buy from them, sell to them, hire them and they refer them. How then can we be sure that people know what we are really like? 

There is a new wave crashing over the business community that says, “it’s time to share a little of your personal self along with your professional profile.” Most of us are not sure that we really want to share more of ourselves and in fact, we like the idea of keeping our professional and our personal life separate. 

Now, employers want to know more about the “real you”. They want to know, without asking for the information on your resume, what you are like outside the workplace. 

So, in this article I’m going to encourage everyone to consider registering their own personal name as a domain. Yes, that’s right, I want you to register www.yourname.com

And, on that website I want you to share information on the volunteer work you do, along with a picture of the team you were part of that raise all those funds for Girl Guides of Canada. I want to see a picture of you on horseback as you and your family take that vacation in Alberta – it doesn’t have to be you and your family, but a picture that denotes the fact that you are active, ride horses and like the outdoors. There could be book reviews of some of your favourite authors, even a short story you published, perhaps a favorite quote.  It’s time to let others know what makes you who you are.

There are companies that are encouraging employees to post a personal profile on their intranet. It is believed that when employees learn more about their colleagues a stronger network develops. Blogs are cropping up everywhere and again there is an opportunity to learn more about each other. Team building is an important part of any business development and it’s much easier when the company can see where some of your interests and talents lie, outside your position within the company. 

We have been brought up to be modest, and it’s difficult for many of us to “blow our own horn” – publishing a blog, establishing a personal domain website allows us the freedom to talk about ourselves.  In effect- to show and tell.  

Networking is still the most important part of business growth and by sharing our social capital it allows a company to leverage our strengths and our common ground. 

Companies are creating models that foster the power of networking by making it easier to get to know each other.  Imagine being able to see who graduated from the same college or university as you, or who shares the same interest in music, the arts or a particular sport. Blogging and increasing your social networking has shown to add tremendous value to any company that fosters personal profiling. 

In the current issue of Learning Trends, Elliot Masie discusses the place that blogs, personal domain websites and social networking might have in the “social life” of an organization. Far from just being about corporate communication strategies or even a way to recruit the “NetGens” – he suggests that the age of me-publishing and social networking is upon us and will be leveraged by every generation of our workforce. 

According to Masie, “we can create models that protect the company’s interests while deeply fostering the power of the network and the wisdom of crowds. The key here is that we want and need to work and learn together and for this, we need a space that is both personal and social. “ 

The Russian psychologist and learning theorist Lev Vygotsky, articulated this most clearly when he said that all learning and cognitive development takes places on two levels. First, on the social or inter-psychological level and then on the personal or intra-psychological level. Much of the technology we use has not been very good at offering both the personal and the social side of ourselves.  To be fair, very few developers ever really wanted to do this - they were more concerned with delivering content than connecting learners. 

Social networking that connects people based on their needs and interests are beginning to reveal what Masie refers to as the “power of the network and the wisdom of crowds”. Perhaps what we are also beginning to see are the ways that these technologies foster and scaffold social and personal learning.

About the author:

Donna is a keynote speaker, an author and an expert when it comes to networking. She uses a Mind Map when coaching that provides her with all the social capital she needs to make profitable business matches. For more information on maximizing your network www.connectuscanada.com  Donna shall be hosting a networking event as well on 22nd July 2010 at the Living Arts Centre.