Help me help other architects! This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of my book: Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect. You can help by leaving a critique in the comment section below. And if you are just starting I suggest you check out the table of contents for an easy road map. Thx you rock! -Steve
My Favorite Thing about Blogging
In the previous section, I shared how I landed a keynote-speaking gig that grew from my blogger network. One of my favorite things about being a blogger is connecting with so many great people. It has been a blessing for my network.
An architect’s network can help in many ways, with the potential to: land you your dream job, recruit new employees, and find new clients. Most important, your network will connect you to like-minded people, who will become life-long friends.
Isn’t that what life is about?
Fortunately, you do not need to write a blog to develop a strong network. It is much easier than that. In this article, I will share why a network is so powerful and how architects can get started. Chances are, you have already began.
Networking within Your Firm
Why Networking within Your Firm
Networking within your firm strengthens the bonds with your current colleagues. This will lead to better teamwork, stronger design, higher profitability and more fulfilling work.
How to Network within Your Firm
Ironically, we often overlook the relationships right under our nose. A network is more than just a collection of acquaintances. Like any relationship, it needs constant maintenance.
1. Be interested – This is always step one. Check in with people to see how they are doing. Did they have a good weekend? How are the kids? Small talk is ok when people are thoughtful and actually listen.
2. Coffee - Ask you colleagues to a spontaneous coffee break.
3. Just Lunch - Organize a group lunch.
4. Happy Hour - Organize a happy hour.
5. Ditch the Shop Talk - Talk about things other than work. This is how you find out who people really are. My favorite question is: what do you like to do for fun?
Networking within the Architecture Community
Why you should Network within the Architecture Community
It’s no secret that architects love hanging out with other architects. This bond starts in architecture school and continues into the profession. We love to share war stories and have even developed our own language called Archispeak.
Architects hanging with other architects is nothing to be ashamed of. There are many great benefits to networking within the architecture community.
Networking within the architecture community can:
1. Land you your dream job.
2. Be a strong recruitment tool for your firm.
3. Be a great way to share knowledge and teach others.
4. Be a great way to learn about the practice of architecture.
5. Help you find other likeminded folks.
How to Network within the Architecture Community
Join The American Institute of Architects – AIA
AIA is the largest professional organization supporting architects, thus making it the best place to connect with other architects. I have had all levels of involvement over the years, ranging from zero involvement to Director of Design for the Charleston Chapter and to my future role as Lowcountry Director for AIA South Carolina.
Like anything, you get out what you put in. The AIA gets a lot of flack from architects, which is incredibly ironic because the AIA is mostly comprised of volunteers working to improve the profession. Haters gonna hate!
Other Great Groups to Join
CRAN – Custom Residential Architects Network
CNU - Congress for the New Urbansm
CSI – Construction Specifications Institute
USGBC – United States Green Building Council
Networking outside of the Architecture Community
Why you should Network outside of the Architecture Community
Networking outside of the architecture community is how you meet clients and grow your business. And it’s fun!
I love hanging out with other architects as much as the next guy, however you will not find new clients this way. The architects that consistently bring work into the firm are referred to as the rainmakers. The rainmakers are the most indispensable people in the firm. If we didn’t have the rainmakers, we wouldn’t have a firm.
How to Network Outside of the Architecture Community
1. Get Outside of your Comfort Zone – This is step one. You need to break out of the shackles and get out there. It is only natural to be a little anxious in social settings. Once you accept that feeling as natural, it makes it easier.
2. Ditch the Archispeak – Keep your datums, dichotomy and dynamism at home. Archispeak won’t help you with clients and you sound like an asshole.
3. Join Professional Organizations – There is no shortage of organizations that will put you in direct contact with other professionals. These other professionals will one day need an architect and also know many other people that will need architects. At a local level, Rotary Clubs and the Chamber of Commerce are good places to start. My favorite national organization is the Urban Land Institute known as ULI. ULI puts real estate developers, contractors, architects and other development related industries together.
4. Go to Market Sector Specific Conferences- If you have a building expertise like Hotels, Retail or Healthcare, then you are in luck. There are organizations and conferences dedicated to these specific building types. Examples include: the Hunter Hotel Conference, the ICSC Retail Conference, and the Healthcare Design Expo and Conference.
5. Casual Encounters – Your networking brain should never turn off. There are potential clients everywhere: Sunday morning church, your daughter’s soccer practice, the grocery store. Everywhere! This is why it is always good to have:
6. The Elevator Speech – The elevator speech is a 30 second blurb you share with people you have just met. It is short and sweet but most of us do it wrong. Most of us share what we do and stop there. Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why says that the most successful people and companies first tell you why they do what they do. Then they tell you what they do. Let me demonstrate.
Elevator Speech #1 – Hi! I’m Steve Ramos. I am an architect. I work at LS3P in the commercial sector. I work on hotels, apartments of office design. It is fun!
Elevator Speech #2 – Hi! I’m Steve Ramos. I am a design junky. I just love it! I get to help my clients design memorable places and make Charleston better one building at a time. I work on many types of commercial buildings and I especially enjoy hotel design.
Which one is more memorable? And who would you rather hire? Always start with the why.
Your Network is Everything
This book is about highlighting the little things that make the biggest impacts. Networking is at the top of the list. I always assumed that networking was for the folks at the top of the food chain. Man was I wrong!
A strong network takes a lifetime to build. One day at a time, you should be weaving your web. This network will lead you to your dream job, it will help strengthen your skills and abilities, it will land clients and most important, it will make you happy.
This is what it is all about!
How has your network worked for you? I'd love to hear.
Flip the page to: What every architect needs to do better....
Another chapter in the books!
Chapter 22 by the Numbers
· 1,868 words
· 7.47 – Translates into approximately 7.47 pages in book form.
· 2 – Blog Posts
· 8 – Hours to Write and Post on Blog
· 8 – Stretched over 8 calendar days.
· .93 – Average book pages written per day.
The Book by the Numbers
· 39,207 – Total Words
· 157 – Total Pages
· 57 – Total Blog Posts
· 220 – Goal for final page count.
· 139– Days Since Starting
· 1.13 – Average book pages written per day.
· 73 – Estimated days to completion of first draft. (220-157) / 1.13) = 56
· 19– Chapters down.
· 9 – Chapters to go.
· 3– New subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter
· 51 – Total subscribers to the Breaking the Box Email Newsletter