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Expanding Your Network of Influence

Posted by Scott Barron on Aug 19, 2014 8:59:03 AM
Scott Barron

NetworkOrangeWord-of-mouth marketing is the number one source of leads for enrollment and fundraising for every school. Expanding your network of influence is the most powerful way for you to accelerate and sustain growth. Below are a few ways to accomplish this goal.

Know Your Story

You have a great story to share--doesn't it deserve to be told well? Often the inspiring part of your vision gets lost in too many details and lacks a distinct flow. Effective storytelling is an art that can be perfected with proper study and practice. Your story should tell why you have been called to serve in such a role, and it needs to express the personal experiences you have witnessed as fulfillment of your mission. Always be prepared to share your story in a manner that will engage your listener(s) and has a call to action--what would you like them to do next?

Planned Places

Networking opportunities are plentiful in most communities. Find a way to engage and especially become a speaker with organizations such as the:

- Chamber of Commerce
- Rotary Club
- Religious Organizations
- Corporate Foundation Events

People like to hear from educators who have a great story to tell, who don't directly market their school, and who are highly effective speakers. If the latter is a struggle for you, join a local chapter of Toastmasters to learn this important craft.

Casual Places

Any and every place where you have the chance to start conversations can be an opportunity for expanding your network of influence. The most productive place for me to meet new people is on an airplane. I really look forward to learning about the people sitting nearby and have met several clients and business collaborators this way. Business cards are always handy in my bag, along with any materials that may be useful in highlighting my messages. The grocery store, restaurant, park, and mall are other examples of casual places where you don't have to compete with others for face time.

Online Places

LinkedIn can be a highly effective online place for your to connect with current and prospective families, along with donors. This lets you connect with them in their world: Learn their language, the topics in which they are interested, the networks in which they are connected. LinkedIn has become a publishing platform that lets you communicate your message to a broad and a targeted audience. Work to expand your influence in strategically selected LinkedIn groups.

Topics: Communication, Marketing

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