Six months ago, when I joined this team and this amazing community as the Director of OPEN Forum, I had to ask myself: What will my voice be?
Over my more than 10 years at American Express, I’ve coached many team members about “finding their voice,” usually related to establishing their personal brands within the company. We’d discuss ways to create a presence in meetings and develop their communication style, while remaining authentic. It’s not about being self-promotional but about contributing, adding value, and building a network.
From speaking with business owners, it’s clear to me that many of you face a similar challenge of “finding your voice," but more in how you distinguish yourself in the marketplace. The challenge is creating a voice where potential partners, new customers, and existing customers are. You need a voice that people want to listen to and act upon, and one that will allow you to be true to yourself.
In thinking about my “voice," I took some advice from Vincent Hyman’s recent article about becoming an author. He advises aspiring authors,“Think critically about what you know, what you’d like to know, what your customers need to know, and what you think the future holds for your field. Then narrow down the list.”
For me, that list includes building and leveraging my network of partners to drive results. I love people; I love learning about their businesses. And I love thinking about partners’ objectives and motivations, and identifying ways to create something powerful by figuring out where interests come together.
So, with that interest in partnerships in mind, my voice here on Forum will be that of “matchmaker." I’ll highlight some fabulous matches we’ve seen within our community, like Paul Rosenfeld of Fanminder, who told us: “I found our first reseller through OPEN Forum when one of the members saw my comments on the site and decided to follow me. Eventually, we spoke, and he proposed becoming a reseller, which we weren’t pursuing at the time. But now we have 50 resellers who contribute about half of our sales.”
I’ll seek to match you with experts and information that will help you run your business. And I’ll highlight opportunities to network and make new business connections that will drive your results.
Send me an e-mail at Stacey@openforum.com or comment below. I told you I’m a people person -- and I’d love to hear from you.