Welcome to our new spotlight series, where we introduce you to some of the great authors on the SocialTalent learning platform. With more than 100 experts delivering high-quality content in all areas of workplace excellence, we are proud to have a faculty who are not only highly experienced in their respective fields, but also engage instructors from diverse backgrounds.
Today we are going to meet Kingsley Aikins. Kingsley, founder and CEO of the Networking Institute, is known for his ability to be professional business people how to survive and thrive by building strong and diverse networks.
Q. Can you give us some background on your experience and history in this field?
I spent eight years as the Sydney-based representative of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland and then served as global CEO of The Ireland Funds for seventeen years, mainly based in Boston. In both roles, I have come to appreciate the importance of networking and come to the realization that to survive and thrive you must develop a strong and diverse network. In Australia I founded the Lansdowne Club for Irish businessmen based there and The Ireland Funds was a global network of the Irish diaspora, operating in 50 cities in 13 countries.
Q. Can you give us a detailed overview of what your content covers?
My SocialTalent content focuses on the importance of networking and how to create a strong and diverse network. It describes a precise four-step process for building and maintaining your network and the specific skills needed to excel in it. Whether you’re an employee, new manager, or seasoned leader, there are unique missions on the platform that provide the technical skills needed to network like a professional.
Q. Why is this an important topic of study today?
The hidden costs of COVID and remote/hybrid work are that we all tend to focus on family, friends and just a few business contacts – the inner concentric ring of our network where we have strong emotional ties and we don’t feel have concentrated on the outer concentric ring where we have many weak ties. Accordingly, there is less business development, less learning on the job, less randomness and serendipity, and less corporate loyalty and corporate culture. The challenge now is to resume networking, refresh our existing networks and build new ones.
Q. What do you hope the students will gain from completing these missions? What problems do they solve?
I hope that students will realize how crucial networking is to their own career development and that networking involves a process and that if you follow the process you have a greater chance of success than if you don’t. Research shows that the most important predictor of career success is being in an open network, so building a strong and diverse network is not only good for your business, but also for you as an individual. People with strong and diverse networks live longer, are physically and mentally stronger, earn more money and are happier. It’s a no brainer!
Q. Where can people find you?
There are a few ways people can contact me: check out The Networking Institute website, find me on LinkedIn, or email me at: k[email protected]. I like to hear from you!