personal brand

Does the key to building credibility lie in one small word?

Amanda Blesing, executive coach, helping women get their professional mojo back. Credibility building, sorry to sorry, apology accepted.
Amanda Blesing Strong Women of Song - Executive Coach

I recently headed out see iconic Australian rock artist, Renee Geyer in concert. The theme, Strong Women of Song, was too good to resist!

I haven't been out much lately, so I was delighted when the early evening easily lived up to it’s promise - a grungy venue, an ageing audience who remembered Renee from her heyday, with three strong female artists in the lineup.

However, one aspect of the evening remains deeply troubling and as a salutary reminder.

The first act came out. A newer artist with a great outfit in a themed blues set. Fun, mournful, great music, even better lyrics, with some light patter between songs. Entertaining and memorable in her own way.

I settled in with anticipation because the evening was billed to get better.

As the second act emerged on stage, she immediately apologised for not being good at the patter between the sets. So after a bit of initial patter she launched into an amazing song - full sound, high energy, and quite a contrast to her diminutive stature and her intro.

But it went downhill from there.

If this artist apologised once, she must have apologised 45 times and we could see and feel her stage presence diminishing.

It was excruciating to witness and only got worse as her set progressed.

It got so bad that at one point, an audience member went up to her to remind her that her music was great and to stop apologising because she was shooting herself in the foot. She apologised for apologising and wasn't able to stop.

Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand
— Jessica Bennett, Feminist Fight Club


Sadly, this is my strongest memory of the artist! She might be talented but her low self esteem and lack of awareness about the impact of her over apologetic presence took the stage front and centre, rather than her amazing sound.

THE COUNTERPOINT

Then it was time for Ms Geyer. She was poised, collected and took ownership of the room. She was totally awesome. She knew it, we knew it and we were delighted to be entertained by it.

The contrast could not have been more extreme -

  • from over apologising to owning the room

  • from weakness to strength

  • from downplaying and second guessing, to uplifting

  • from underestimating artist to artist owning her own awesome.


What a way to finish!

THE LESSON

Many women over apologise. It's been drummed into us that sorry stands for polite. Then when we see it modelled by others around us it becomes our new normal unless we're clued in.

We apologise for

  • when we want to move past someone who is blocking our way

  • when we are bumped or surprised as though it was our fault

  • landing a strong or contrary opinion

  • for not fitting the mould

  • not being good enough

  • for being too good ..... and the list goes on.

I even heard someone apologise for winning a role that once would have gone to a guy!


IT’S BECOME A HABIT


Whether you’re an aspiring artist or aspiring leader - over apologising will hold your career back like wearing lead boots. Payrises, plum assignments or big promotions? Not so easy for you.

Humility is one thing but false modesty, self deprecation and over apologising are other beasts.

When you over apologise, you undermine your credibility, leaving people doubting that you know what you’re talking about or that you're any good at all. It makes you appear weak, lacking in confidence and less leaderly.

Worse? It feeds the small doubting voice inside your own head that deep down doesn’t feel worthy, and that’s a slippery slope to nowhere.

It’s got to stop.

Don’t be like our over apologetic 2nd act who lost her credibility. Instead, channel your inner Renee Geyer and -#ownyourownawesome with the best of them. Become incredible instead.

Then save sorry for when you truly mean it or when it matters most, and it will have far more impact anyway.


YOUR THOUGHTS? I love replacing sorry with thank you. It's an easy substitute. Graciousness goes far. What do you replace sorry with? Or are you a serial sorry-er? Drop me a note and let me know

Want to find your  professional mojo  again?  Book in for a call with Amanda Blesing

Want to find your professional mojo again? Book in for a call with Amanda Blesing

Women of Impact go on Retreat to Palm Cove. Early bird pricing closes 13 September 2019 -  book here

Women of Impact go on Retreat to Palm Cove. Early bird pricing closes 13 September 2019 - book here

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Retreat Early Bird date extended - just for you

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It's not too late - early bird pricing extended to 5 July

Are you able to attend?

What would it take for you to create the time and space to focus on "brand you" and attend theWomen of Impact Leadership Retreat?  

Maybe it's an extension of the Early Bird pricing discount to help you make the final decision! 

Finding the balance between tackling ambitious goals and taking downtime can be challenging for those with big career goals and even bigger roles. The Macedon Women of Impact Leadership Retreat will help you create time and space to do just that.

Bookings and details in the link -  Early Bird pricing extended to 5 July  COB

In addition to reflecting on your own leadership brand, your ability to influence and carve out a future focused, positive pathway forwards, you will also hear from three amazing women who will co-facilitate with me.

1. Irene Scott, Copywriter, Marketer, Strategist, Engineer - a civil engineer turned copywriter and marketing strategist, who loves telling other people’s stories and helping them live their passion.  She is already helping several of my clients with prestigious award nominations so I'm very excited to hear how she does it. 

How to Write an Award Winning Application to Showcase Your Expertise… 7 Tips to Boost Your Nomination Success.

If you want more influence, credibility and authority amongst your peers, then being formally acknowledged with an award is key.  But if you’ve ever doubted whether you have the right experience, struggled to find the “right” words to express your accomplishments or been anxious your message sounds flat, then you know writing an award application can be a challenge.  In her presentation she'll share with you 7 tips and strategies you can use immediately to write winning award applications! 

2. Julie Hyne, CEO Stylist and Image Consultant 

Some people think that style and image is frivolous. However, perhaps they've never been on the receiving end of negative judgments or low confidence because you simply didn't have the right look!  
Your confident executive presence is a career tool just like any other and with competence so confused with confidence, a confident presence pays dividends. I've had clients tell me that they've been advised to change their look, straighten their hair and present themselves differently if they were ever going to succeed. And this hurts!  And when that happens, I call Julie.  Julie works with C-level executives around the country and advises on style, image and executive presence to have more impact.  For those attending the Retreat you get to experience her wisdom first hand in a group setting.

3.  Special guest female wine maker, Laura Swallow, winemaker for Rowanston on the Track, will share tasting notes and her career story in the breathtaking views of the Macedon Wine Room. 

If you're still sitting on the fence re the Women of Impact Leadership Retreat - this Early Bird extension may be just the ticket. 

Curious but not sure? Why not grab 30 mins with me to find out more?  Book a Zoom or Phone meeting straight away. Or simply hit reply to this email 

When: 1 - 2 August 2019 (arrival lunch served from 12.00 noon Thursday)
Where: Macedon Ranges Resort, Spa & Conference Centre 
             Just 35 mins from the Melbourne airport and 45 mins from the Melbourne CBD

Who should attend? Ideal for executive women with big goals, bigger drive and even bigger ambitions, or newer consultants wanting to establish their brand with more impact.

What's included?  All meals, sessions, a wine tasting, a fabulous group dinner, a tai chi class, and for those heading to the airport at the end of the Retreat there is a group airport transfer booked for 3.30pm Friday. (estimated arrival time 4.15pm)

Retreat bookings and details here

  • Note 1 - there is a special rate for former and current clients. I know you'll love connecting with each other as you all have so much in common.

  • Note 2 - there is also an amazing offer for those who have yet to work with me, but want to come along and meet others. You receive a 2 hour strategy session with me. I've already delivered 2 of these sessions to women who booked early.  It would be great to get your 2 hour session in before the event.


Drop me a note if you can't decide and need more information.  Happy to help.

Counting down the days ......

Stay visible!

#executivewomen #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Let's show them what crazy can do

Here's to all the "dramatic", "delusional", "nuts", "unhinged", "weird", "hysterical", "crazy" women in my network

Because you're kicking phenomenal goals, breaking glass ceilings, tackling issues and driving change like never before.

It's only crazy until you do it. Fine. Let's show them what crazy can do.

Inspiring video released in the lead up to #iwd2019

Superbly narrated by Serena Williams.

Thanks to Nike - just do it

Thanks also to both Carla Wall and Tessa Irwin MFIA for sending this my way.

Let's show them what crazy can do.

#womenofimpact #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Stop apologising already and get on with the business of making a difference

As Jessica Bennett, author of Feminist Fight Club puts it, "Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand".

Apologising not only focuses on the fault but also assumes that the fault, if there was one, was yours and keeps you playing small.

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  • Credibility is key in your success and leadership journey

  • While rude is bad (and “unfeminine”), gracious and kind is good

  • And the best bit? Gracious is seen as “the feminine” plus seen as a highly desirable leadership trait in both men and women

  • And graciousness is a credibility builder.

So how do we be gracious yet not over apologise?

TRY THE REFRAME

Say “Thank you” instead of “Sorry”

  • “Sorry I’m late.” Instead - “Thank you for your patience”

  • "Sorry for the needing the meeting moved" Instead - "Thank you for your consideration"

  • "Sorry” when you express an option that’s contrary Instead - “Thanks and what about this idea ..”

Save sorry for when it’s really needed and matters most!

What other examples where thanks might be better than sorry?

#sorrynotsorry #womenofimpact #makeabiggerdifference

READ MORE? https://lnkd.in/fkQqN7r

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Confessions of a recovering #perfectionist

Balance is something I’ve had to fight for all my life.

And I use the term “fight for” deliberately, because I haven’t found it easy.

As a recovering perfectionist, I frequently feel that if I can’t do something properly, I shouldn’t bother at all.

Yet this is a furphy. After all, 3 x 10 min walks around the block is better than nothing, and recent research tells us that it’s even better than 1 x 30 min walk around the block on some markers!

However back to choosing ….. throughout my career I’ve felt I’ve needed to choose between

  • Doing everything or doing nothing

  • Going at it like a bull at a gate or not even bothering

  • Strength or softness

  • The Masculine or The Feminine

  • Feast or famine

  • Flat out like a lizard drinking or lazing around on the couch .. well drinking! 🤣

  • Always on or always off or

  • Never giving up and always letting go.

My perfectionist tendencies have kept me constantly choosing between a rock and a hard place yet feeling guilty when it didn’t work out.

Balance only comes when I make peace with this part of myself and with that comes real impact.

HOW ABOUT YOU? - How do you find the balance between on and off? Any advice for others?

#womenofimpact‬ #perfectionismsucks #balanceiskey

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

The #1 Worst Career Advice for Executive Women

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?

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Maybe it was well meaning poor advice, rather than deliberately poor advice, yet poor advice none the less.

My biggest bug bear is the advice frequently doled out without much thought  at women in leadership conferences.

“To get ahead you just need to work hard.”

Not only is this misguided, but it’s incredibly poor advice for those who have been socialised to lean towards the conscientious and the compliant.

Of course there will be times when

  • we all need to work hard
  • effort is required
  • hard work is the currency of the day

But there should be more times when strategic, smart and savvy would be better served.

Work smarter, not harder! 

In a modern, globalised, digitised world that’s complex, nuanced and ambiguous, working smarter will suit you far better.

After all we’ve been working “hard” at gender diversity for years. It's time to work far smarter instead! 

>> So what’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?  And what would your suggestion be instead?  COMMENT IN THE LINKEDIN LINK BELOW

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Have your say on LinkedIn! What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?  CLICK HERE  

 

 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

⚠️ BREAKING NEWS - 150 #CEOs held hostage in carpark for $800K ransom

⚠️ BREAKING NEWS - 150 #CEOs held hostage in carpark for $800K ransom

Now that I have your attention - last night I participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

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150+ business leaders sleeping it rough for the night to raise awareness and money to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Yes, you guessed it! We raised $800K in Melbourne alone. 

Thanks to everyone who donated so far. 

We imagine we live in the lucky country - but do we really? When so many people are doing it tough? Unless we make substantive changes, maybe we need to rethink our branding.

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Lucky for some, unlucky for many.

Women are particularly vulnerable. Not only are women more likely to retire under the poverty line, but are frequently the victims of domestic violence, which also can lead to homelessness. They are the hidden majority unfortunately.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE

>> Don’t despair! You can still make a difference right there at your desk. DONATE here https://lnkd.in/fcSpTTg

- donations still open to end of August

#leadership #CEOsleepoutAU #womenofimpact

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Nice Girls Can Indeed Get the Corner Office

What a great evening in #Melbourne on 14 June.

Thanks also to Mary Anne Waldren for sharing her insights at Work Club for my Women of Impact program.

Event photography thanks to Luis Ferreiro

Event photography thanks to Luis Ferreiro

Key takeaways and insights

  • Nice is not naïve
  • Nice does not mean being compliant, complicit or even capitulating
  • Nice doesn’t preclude being direct, assertive and highly competitive
  • Nice also can mean being willing to have tough conversations, or even sometimes using tough love principals to help someone move forward
  • Nice means being kind, generous and gracious - graciousness goes a long way in business and is hugely underestimated
  • Nice and likeable aren't necessarily the same and definitely not to be confused with needing to be liked

As one motivated attendee emailed after the event

"Being nice means being true to yourself and the situation by setting appropriate boundaries without aggression, anger, hatred or resentment. It’s about being strong and steadfast in your convictions whilst opening your heart to show kindness, compassion and gentleness towards others." 

>> Your thoughts? Can we keep it nice and still lead effectively?

#womenofimpact #leadership #feminineambitionrocks #careerfutureproofing

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Can nice girls get the corner office? Reflections on likability and leadership

Leading while being female can be joyous, exciting, challenging, hard work and plain awful all in one.  Add into the mix that female leaders are still thin on the ground so those who do lead are highly visible and under intense scrutiny - ergo highly vulnerable. One woman appears to mis-step and all women are criticised everywhere. What a burden!

No-one said it would be easy, and they were right.

However for many, once you get past a few of the hurdles, there is no other choice. Leadership is the only viable option.

How we lead is another story.  Historically women have embraced, and been rewarded for, more masculine traits in order to fit in and be successful. You know - big hair, big shoulder pads, go hard or go home - assertive, competitive and/or combative. This not only doesn’t work any more, but society and business miss out on the various benefits that diversity of leadership styles bring.

In the early 2000s Lois Frankel wrote a book called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. It was a page turner. I read it cover to cover and bought the CD set to listen to in my car. 

The inference is that you can’t lead and be liked at the same time.

But is that true anymore?

Last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton in conversation with our former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, at the Melbourne Convention Centre, provided some interesting reflections on the topic of likability - and let's face it, if there were ever two women who have been harrangued for not being liked it's these two.

- The more successful a man is, the more likable he becomes

- The more successful a woman is, the less people like her

- When women advocate for ourselves, we lose in likability

- Instead, women run the risk of labelled by men and women alike as whiney, witchy and worthless when they challenge the status quo and dabble in anything other than women's arenas - all labels low on the likability scale.

And that's a double standard if I ever heard of one.

To paraphrase Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO - "the double standards we walk past are the double standards we accept". 

(Note: both women received standing ovations in Melbourne, so must have been doing something right.)

If recent history of female leadership is to be believed, then leading and being liked is still challenging, but not impossible. So don't give up

One thing needs to change. And that's the personal criticisms of leading women that we all engage in. When women challenge the status quo, their differentness and femaleness is critiqued, rather than their performance in the role.

Let's stop with the witchy, whiney and worthless labels. Stick to the facts instead.

And maybe replace with those labels with wise, world class and wonderful!

Thanks to two wise, world class and wonderful women who inspired this blog - Hillary Rodham Clinton and Julia Gillard.

Special mention also goes to Annabel Crabb for her superb emcee performance. It was an inspiring evening and I trust that talented younger women are now seeing a leadership pathway as a viable option to aspire to, rather than something to be avoided.

Want to explore this more? Three Actions


1. Live/work in Melbourne?  Join us for an event on 14 June - Nice Girls Can Get the Corner Office with Mary Anne Waldren and myself as we explore the issue of likability as an asset in your career toolkit.  Mary Anne has made a career out of likability and getting on with people. I'll be asking her how. Register now. Places limited.

2. Have your say on likability and leading while female on LinkedIn - here's my recent post with a snippet from Hillary's opening speech. Is it possible to be a likable leader?

 

 

3. Want to shift your personal brand from feeling worthless to world class?   

Why not book in a 30 min one on one  phone call to learn more. 1st in best dressed rules apply.

Take charge of the narrative before it takes charge of you!

 

 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

What are you up to in May? Executive Branding & Executive Impact intro sessions

Self promotion can be tough for executive women. We're damned if we do, yet doomed if we don't. Research tells us that most of us aren't especially comfortable with it, and even when we get it right there's likely to be someone in the wings ready to cut us down to size - too loud, too quiet, too nice, too assertive, too lucky, tries too hard, too ambitious, not ambitious enough, too ....everything.

"Who does she think she is?" 

(Argh!)

Unfortunately, the social penalty for getting it wrong is even worse and can make you wonder if it's worth doing at all which then leads to a lack of confidence and hesitation about tactics that really work.

All is not lost.  Self promotion tactics and Executive Branding are all under the microscope during the month of May. And if you're at all curious about working with me these events are a must.

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BY INVITATION ONLY - limited to 12 places - and you're invited.

  • Sydney - 2 May 2018 from 5.15pm (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Melbourne - 11 May 2018 Morning tea from 10am (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Adelaide - 17 May 2018 from 5.15pm
  • Brisbane - 23 May 2018 Morning tea from 10am
  • WEBINAR - 30 May 2018 from 12.30pm

Book in via the links.

Yes these events sell out fast.  

So email to be put on a wait list for future events and keep your eye on the events page on my website.

Presence, Positioning & Personal Brand - take charge of the narrative before it takes charge of you!



 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

What can Executive Women Learn from the Cult of Celebrity and the "Celebrity CEO"?

Crafting a brand strategy for yourself as the face of your company is arguably as important as developing your company’s brand image
— Brant Pinvidic, Forbes

 

Cult of celebrity and the rise of the celebrity CEO - what can we learn?

Brand your way to success - executive branding is gaining traction

Brand your way to success - executive branding is gaining traction

  • We’re in an era demanding trust and transparency
  • Consumers trust individuals more than institutions
  • And reputation identified in the top 5 concerns for CEOs (2017 KPMG CEO Global Outlook report) 

Executive branding has become a thing!  

Modern, forward thinking, entrepreneurial CEOs and execs are creating huge followings online and it's delivering business outcomes.

Key learnings:

  • People trust people 
  • If you can’t be authentic don’t bother
  • You can provide far more value by being a “micro celebrity” than hiding behind the organisation you lead
  • Every entrepreneur is just one search term away from being in nearly every household in the world
  • It’s not a waste of time. It’s the cost of doing business in a modern, digital, globalised and increasingly complex environment, where people are looking for clarity & certainty, & follow those they identify with & trust

My question to you then is - is this simply smoke and mirrors? Or is it a legit part of the executive branding toolkit?

Would love to know your thoughts.

 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Find your sweet spot for effective and strategic networking

If you are like many people, the thought of heading out to networking events gives you the heebie jeebies.  It's far easier to find great reasons not to go! 

  • "I've got too much work"
  • "I need to pick up the kids"
  • "I'm tired/it's raining/it's cold"
  • "I don't drink and networking events always involve alcohol"
  • "I just stand in the corner and feel stupid anyway"
  • "I'm one of the only women and feel uncomfortable"- or perhaps
  • "I've been to lots of women's only functions but the quality of the networking is not at the right level for my career"

I hear you.  Finding the right time, the right place, the right audience and the right network can be challenging.

But don't let that stop you.

Research tells us that those who have great networks are the ones getting ahead far easier.  

You might remember last month me sharing Shawn Achor's recent research on the benefits of attending Womens Conferences - where attending (and implementing)

  • Doubled your chances of getting a promotion and
  • Tripled your chances of receiving a raise of 10% or more.

I personally also recommend mixed gender networking events in the mix, because as someone who has hosted more conferences that most people have had hot dinners, I've witnessed heaps of manoeuvring, partnership creation and opportunities opening up for attendees who got out of their comfort zone and networked. Bold, hairy, audacious moves to the rescue! 
 

But wait, there's more!
 

Just last week, HBR published an article that stated that CEOs with diverse networks create higher firm value.

"Diversely networked CEOs generated an approximately sixteenfold firm market value increase relative to their compensation." ~ HBR, April 2010

Yes that's right. Diverse networks - breadth, not necessarily depth. 

Put that together with what is already well known - that "firms with better-connected CEOs can obtain cheaper financing, and firms with well-connected board directors see better performance"and you begin to see that networking is not just great for you and your career, it's also great for the divisions you lead and the organisations you work for.
 

Picture this ....


At one end of the networking spectrum there is Nigella No-friends. She's busy. Give Nigella something to do, and she does it. Well! 

Nigella is incredibly conscientious, diligent, works hard, and pushes the proverbial uphill. She is reliable and available - and doesn't have time or energy to invest in strategic networking.

Then at the other end of the spectrum is Garry (name changed to protect the innocent).

Now Garry is the CFO of an ASX listed organisation and I affectionately name him Gantt Chart Garry. Because he takes the notion of strategic networking to a whole next level by running a Gantt Chart on his professional networking activity. Not only does he schedule his activity over several years but he also ranks his network on their net worth, how helpful they have been, and tracking where and when he last saw them, what was discussed and how helpful they may be in the future.

Oh my.

Yes he exists.

And yes, he is incredibly successful in his career.

And if the research on the value of strategic networking is true, then he is also incredibly valuable in the C-suite of the organisations he works for. This approach helps him deliver better results.

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Networking counts


Now I'm not saying for a minute that we all need to go out and set up a CRM or Gantt Chart for our networking strategy. 

There's probably not a lot of room in that approach for emotional intelligence, intuition and ad hoc encounters.

But somewhere in between Nigella and Garry, there is a strategy or plan that's right for you. 

A sweet spot that enables you to balance a heavy workload, family obligations, your career and leadership aspirations along with your discomfort with networking.

And ... that's why I love LinkedIn so much. But that's a story for another day! 

► So what helpful tactics have you found to get out of your comfort zone help you network more effectively? 
► Drop me an email and let me know what works for you. Because your ideas might be just the thing that help someone else springboard more effectively in the future!

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months