Networking without inhibitions

In the second iteration of our series “Self-Marketing for Experts”, Malte Borchardt, discusses the intimacies of creating a lasting impression within the market and setting yourself up correctly for future successes.

Mr. Borchardt, networking is a skill that must be learnt. Which contacts are the most important for interim managers?

Fundamental for a successful network is keeping an eye on all important stakeholders. Providers are one of the most important reference points for interim managers, however many interim managers focus too intently on them, and neglect further vital networking opportunities. Time and again I observe at events that interim managers’ focus lies exclusively on networking with interim providers, at the expense of networking with their peers. This is a mistake that must be rectified, as fellow interimers are a great source of opportunities. When an interim manager is working on a project they could potentially discover further need for interim intervention. In such a situation, being the first person that comes to the mind of a fellow interim manager, can provide great new opportunities. Trade fairs are a great place to start establishing new contacts. Also, the contact with universities and places of learning can be conducive to gaining new opportunities. The idea is that interim managers should be expanding and feeding their network from different channels, to maximize their outcomes.

What role does media networking play?

Professional networks, such as Xing or LinkedIn, are optimal for network maintenance. Being involved is mandatory. A blog can be a further useful medium to present one’s expertise and keeping the network up to date. It is important that the chosen medium is fitting to the target group, and that once this has been established, relevant content is provided. The video format is becoming increasingly important as a presentation method for platforms, and providers. This format allows for quickly presenting what I stand for and who I am. With a logo, or name signet in connection with a claim I can establish a high recognition factor, and also immediately clarify to the observer exactly what I can provide. Prerequisites for media networking, are that I consider my target audience, and how to best approach them, before taking action.

At which intervals or at which points in time should I be getting in touch with my network?

Manager müssen ihre Möglichkeiten, aber auch ihre Eigenverantwortung beim Netzwerken und der Selbstpräsentation erkennen.

Malte Borchardt

Many interim managers do not keep up to date with their network whilst they are involved in a project. This is a bad practice, as it effectively means starting again from zero after the project is done. Therefore, I see a significant need for interim managers to regularly update their network on their progress throughout a project. A successful project is a good reason for doing so. Documenting the successes of a project and then sharing those with the relevant channels is a successful strategy to maintain a strong network. Independently of this, it is important to keep providers and other parties of interest updated on one’s availability status.

Social networks, blogs, and online networking can be a bit daunting. How have you observed your customers’ experience of this process?

Positioning yourself correctly means presenting your value as a brand. First and foremost, interim managers are individuals with a specialist area or leadership skills. Nonetheless, the differences between interim and permanent employment are becoming increasingly negligible. In the long run, only a better, more professional self-presentation method can ensure being found and considered for projects. Databanks help establish transparency as well, and that is important for customers. The self-presentation creates the difference, that the customer needs to be able to decide who is ultimately the correct match for their project.

Foto: iStock / Malte Borchardt
Malte Borchardt
Malte Borchardt is an experienced marketing professional who worked for many years for the Dachgesellschaft Deutsches Interim Management (DDIM). Since 2015 the business graduate has been running the company forma interim and helps interim managers to achieve a professional market presence.

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