The Importance of Making International Connections through Networking

We are willing to bet that your executive travels internationally. With that, he or she has international connections, either from conducting business in person or digitally over Skype or phone calls. As an executive assistant, you have a pulse on the organization and serve as the right-hand to your executive. Building a network outside of your region is vital, not just for your executive’s success, but for your success too.
Diana Brandl is an international speaker, coach, and author located in Germany. She’s most well-known at ELS for her progressive discussions on artificial intelligence in the executive assistant career. Diana helps in defining the importance of making international connections as an assistant and how to get started.

Embrace Social Media

The first step in building an international network is to embrace social media. You don’t have to be connected to every social platform, but the ones you are, you should nurture.
“Of course it’s a challenge to keep up with everything, and it’s tough to bring the same type of quality to every channel that you’re on,” says Brandl.  “Don’t let people tell you where to go; use the channels that you feel comfortable with.”
If you aren’t on LinkedIn already, it’s vital you jump on the bandwagon. The platform is not only bringing professionals from every industry together, but it’s changing the way we present ourselves for the opportunities of the future. You never know what circumstances might make you into a job seeker. The more time you spend optimizing your profile, the better.
For LinkedIn best practices, check out one of our recent articles: The Executive Assistant Guide to Personal Branding on Social Media or LinkedIn Mistakes You Are Probably Making.

Create a Consistent Message

When building connections, it’s critical you have a consistent image in person and on social media. Ensure your language is professional, that you are posting at an appropriate frequency, and that you are interacting with other professionals within your industry.
An example of interaction would be sharing a Thought Leader’s article to your LinkedIn feed. Diana recalls, “I’ve always been out there, and I’ve never waited for people to come to me to click on my profile first, I was happy to make the first click when I started using social media. The moment you find an interesting profile that matches your interest, just send an invite and start the networking adventure”
She further expands, “If you’re interested in the person, I will click on their profile and check out their activity. I will check for articles they have written, and I will search for them directly. I think if you want to be a good networker, you can show some appreciation through your social actions.”

How to Build Connections

One great way to meet other executive assistants internationally is to attend conferences, forums, and other EA-centric events. Gather business cards and then also follow up on LinkedIn.
Another great way to curate lasting relationships through online groups. Join groups on LinkedIn that fit your criteria. For example, Executive Leadership Support Network is a group for assistants to connect across the globe and share resources. Engage, interact and “connect” with individuals that you have something in common with, or are from an area your executive frequently visits.

Share Your Accomplishments

It can be a bit intimidating sharing your accomplishments on social media. As Brandl notes, this is because the profession is primarily women and many  women rather stay in the background and do not use their voice.
“Women often think that they can’t be that loud ,” she explains. “A typical exercise that helps with this is by practicing your elevator pitch. If you’re working on a project or just received a promotion, don’t be afraid to talk about it!You will motive even more assistants to be bold and vocal. And it has nothing to do with showing off. Be an inspiration!”
When it comes to recognition, education, and certification, you should always feel confident to share. Brandl notes, if you showcase yourself in an interview, you should feel comfortable to showcase online.
By engaging online, you’re also reminding people you’re there! You’ll better nourish relationships with international connections when they see regular activity and showcase of skills.

Utilize other Apps

Diana recommends executive assistants download both Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. She explains that both allow for more personal communication, versus just typical profile interaction. Utilize these messaging apps when either A) you don’t have the person’s email or phone number or B) when you are on a level with them that communicating via messenger feels appropriate.

How to Utilize Connections

Next time you go to plan travel, or an event, for your executive internationally, step in and utilize your beautiful new connections. Know the people to call and reach out to for hotels in Australia, for example.
Maybe to start, it’s as simple as posting in one of those new  groups you joined and asking for the best floral service in London.
Brandl states, “If you have a good network, you don’t need Google anymore.”

Integrate these Steps Into Your Work Life

By creating international connections, you are learning how to get by in a variety of cultures. Creating local contacts help you curate a better experience for your executive. “If you’re able to return to work and tell your boss that you planned an event with the help of a local contact, you can be proud and showcase your amazing network.”
“I’ve made it a habit to reach out to my network whenever I travel, and my goal is to make my online connections turn into offline friends.”
Making international connections is easy, but tedious. It’s crucial to nourish these relationships as apart of your daily routine. Stay in contact with international connections across all social platforms you are using, especially LinkedIn. Engagement is key. Interact with your connections by sharing articles, administrating comments, or liking their posts.
You’re a valuable resource too! Be a shoulder to lean on for others who require connections in your geographical location. The saying is true; what goes around is sure to come around. Just by identifying the opportunity to make international connections, you’re already on the road to success.
Looking to make connections of your own? Join ELS in any of its locations across the United States, Canada and Europe.