The Art of Networking in a Digital Age – April 2010 Chapter meeting recap

By: Mo Moorman

Milwaukee’s Pfister hotel proved a lovely setting for PRSA Southeast Wisconsin chapter’s April gathering, and this month’s guest speaker, Sima Dahl, gave luncheon attendees more than just the Pfister’s juicy chicken breast to chew on.

Dahl describes herself as a marketing consultant, social media strategist and personal branding expert, and is president of Chicago-based Parlay Communications, as well as the founder and chief connector of, which made me wonder … When does this woman sleep?

Dahl’s experience working with Fortune 500 corporations, venture-backed start-ups, non-profits and academic institutions has given her valuable insight to optimizing one’s opportunities in the workforce, and she came to Milwaukee to share her knowledge and a step-by-step system with event-goers.

Much of what was offline networking is now happening online, and a goal of Dahl’s presentation was to focus on how to be effective using social networks like FB, LinkedIn, Twitter to carve out your personal brand and identify leads and referrals. Following are some of the key takeaways from Dahl’s presentation.

According to Dahl. you’re one of three types of people when it comes to networking: You’re either a Job Seeker, Ladder Climber or a Rain Maker. Job Seekers, well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. Ladder Climbers are trying to move up within their own company. Rain Makers are happy where they are and are using networking to sustain strength.

Being personal and intentional is key with networking, and remember: Networking is an action word.

Ultimately, you are measured by the strength of your network and your network’s propensity to instinctively act on your word.

Sima’s Sway Factor system:

The Sway Factor has three basic steps:

  1. Practice Consistent Indirect Marketing: (This is marketing yourself without overtly selling. Ensure that people know who you are and why you’re special. This is building your personal brand. Create your personal brand positioning statement and be your own brand manager.)
  2. Make Frequent Digital Deposits: (Keep your visibility high by paying it forward. Think of this as giving to get. Help others first so they’re encouraged to, in turn, help you. This can be done by giving advice, inviting others to events, making helpful recommendations, sharing job leads, giving praise and compliments, or simply acknowledging a birthday.)
  3. Pledge Unwavering Personal Commitment: (You and you alone are responsible for your personal brand, and this system works if you work it. Make sure to set aside time for networking activities at least once a week to keep yourself top of mind.)

To end her presentation, Dahl asked the audience to take the 21-Day Sway Factor Challenge. I encourage you to do the same. This is what it entails:

  1. Make a 21-day commitment and block out the time to do so
  2. Complete and update your LinkedIn profile
  3. Create or update your LinkedIn summary & specialties (think SEO)
  4. Update your status at least once a week
  5. Aim for 10-15 new connections within the next 3 weeks
  6. Make digital deposits in each network
  7. Demonstrate your personal brand with competency, character, and charisma

Learn more from Sima:

Sima Dahl, Parlay Communications, Ltd.
T   773-782-3688
M  312-505-0408

Twitter: @simasays