Maha on creating value & networking in the post-Covid era (Channel 4 Interview)

Maha on creating value & networking in the post-Covid era (Channel 4 Interview)
Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

Maha joins Nimi on Channel 4 to talk about how you can get started on creating your personal brand and adding value to every relationship.

Transcript

Maha: Hi everybody just wanted to share a interview that I did with Channel 4 in Dubai with my good friend Nimi. Nimi and I have known each other for quite some time and she said do you want to come on the show and talk about all things communications and personal branding and COVID and all kinds of fun stuff. So this is that interview! Hope you guys enjoy it and having a great day.

Nimi: 104.8 Channel Four mornings Nimi here live across the UAE and it's time for UAE Life the part of the show where we bring the people of the UAE on the show to champion you guys and you know really come together as a community to get through this personally, professionally, whatever it may be. And this morning we have a guest by the name of Maha Abouelenein. She is in my opinion, the queen of PR communications here in the Middle East. She is a professional storyteller and she's also the Chief Value Officer for Gary Vaynerchuk. Maha, Good morning. How are you?

Maha: Well, good morning. And thank you for that amazing introduction and for having me today. Hello, Dubai.

Nimi: Now Maha we're so happy to have you here on the show. I think you're gonna be such benefit to so many people out there right now who have seen a huge focus on the online platform here in the UAE and across the world in terms of building their own personal brand, or building their business further excelling it, in this new kind of way of life, I guess, in this current climate. How important or positive do you think this online platform has transformed over the last few months?

Maha: Well, I mean, the internet has always been a catalyst for change. We saw it with the Arab Spring, we saw it with all the different companies being able to put their businesses online. So it's like now how can we use the value of the knowledge that we're gaining to really help build our brands and build our businesses? So the Internet has been a huge, you know, game changer and giving everybody basically a level playing field. Every business has the opportunity to put their company on the internet, create a website, create an Instagram page, Facebook just announced this new Shops feature where people can now shop directly from the pages. People can use the value of podcasting and voice and even through radio to tell their stories and to be connected with customers. So I think now more than ever, we understand the value of living online. And it's a great platform for creating content for connecting with people and for growing your business.

Nimi: Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, me and you, Maha we have been in this creative digital world for a long time now and we feel comfortable in it. However, there are people out there listening right now that have never done it before, kind of just don't know where to go with it, what to do with it. What are the how essential is this and using these tools right now in the current climate, to really take your personal brand or your business forward?

Maha: Yes, I think first of all, not everybody's comfortable putting themselves out there and I'm a communications person. I'm a storyteller, PR and Communications is My job and I'm not comfortable doing a lot of things like I would prefer to do a podcast versus a video, YouTube show like, there's you have to do what makes you feel comfortable. But the other thing is the platform or the how you do it like are you going to put an Instagram or LinkedIn or Twitter or Tik Tok? And figuring out where's the right place to tell your message? It's what do you want to talk about? Like, the way to be comfortable is to talk about things you like to talk about. Talk about things that make you comfortable, like if you are passionate about photography, and books and cooking, but you are an accountant, then talk about, you know, cooking and photography and the things you're passionate about, like don't, you know, be super authentic is one of the first things that we you know, I counsel people when a company or brand is be authentic, and talk about the things that you know, and you're passionate about and that you consistently can do.

Nimi: Yeah, I mean, so Maha, there's people out there right now who are like I really want to create my own personal brand online. I love sewing. Okay, really random that just came to my head. But I love sewing. What can I do now to take it a step forward?

Maha: Yeah. So I think the best best advice is, let's say there's something that you're passionate about. If it's like sewing or cooking, or you're into travel and traveling's not happening, start engaging first with those communities. So start following those pages, start commenting on those pages, like dip your toe in the water by being part of a community. And then once you're part of that community, you'll be inspired by what they're talking about, well, maybe they're not talking about something that you actually have expertise in. So listening is the first part of thinking about going and putting yourself out there like listen to what conversations are having happening around that topic. So how you listen is (a) you join groups, (b) you can look up hashtags and find out what are topics that are popular around the things that you are passionate about. Then once you see what the landscape is or what people are talking about or what topics are popular, then you can figure out the best place to put your content, your two cents or your content in that framework and find the right place to do it and the right format for you to do it.

Nimi: I think that's actually really great advice, you know, checking out the market space in which you want to end before you enter it. You know, I think that's really important. But now, I mean, networks, relationships are so important. And we're not able to go out to events anymore network like we used to do. So what can people do now? to really keep that in the forefront and restructuring their business?

Maha: Yeah. So just like we have to rethink how we work from home, we have to rethink how do we network virtually. So what are the things we should be doing to make sure that we're creating those contacts, we're keeping our warm relationships warm. So are you active on LinkedIn? Are you not? Are you attending webinars are you not? Like one of the things that I have found helpful and I've been advising people to do is you know, you don't bump into each other physically as you normally would. So like, make a list like, okay, these are some people that I really wanted to reach out to that I really wanted to grab a coffee with or grab a meeting with. Organize those virtually don't wait for a public event, like think about like how you would do it in person, and then make a target list and just block your calendar and start scheduling those meetings. The good news is you can reach people. Yeah, they're not traveling. They're not off. I mean, obviously people have meetings and work, but you can reach people far more readily and they're more readily available now than they've ever been. Take advantage! This window is not gonna last forever.

Nimi: Yes, I mean, I couldn't agree with you more. Now is the time to do it. You've got absolutely nothing to lose. Make that list of contacts that you want to reach out to and just you will probably be surprised by the reaction that you get to be honest. Now Maha I am a big fan of your podcast, I listen to it, it's called Savvy Talk. And one thing that you stress on is how important it is for you to bring your skills to the forefront and bring value to everything that you do. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Maha: Yeah. So listen, first of all, one of the things that has been sort of like the arc of my career is like, I always try to figure out like, I do communications and PR and business development. What can I do that somebody else can't do? And I think I have to try to add value. Like I have to make sure that I'm bringing to the table, I'm stepping up, I'm showing up in a way that gives something back to somebody else, and makes them win from that relationship, that intro, that contact. So when I created the podcast, I'm like the podcast has to add value. It has to give away information for free. If you are a PR and want to learn how to do PR for startups, if you want to learn how to create your own personal brand, if you want to learn how to talk to the press, if you want to learn how to build your protect your reputation. I wanted the podcast to be something where it could add value to other people. And it's all out there and everyone can go access that on any podcast player and it's called Savvy Talk because my mission is to help people communicate better, and to be savvy about it. And in talking and Communications is something that will never go out of style or will never stop.

Nimi: See, this is why I love Moha because even from the show conversation, so much value, so much benefit already. Thank you so, so much for coming on Channel 4 this one. I would love to come back and we can talk about all the things! Have a great day!

Maha: Thank you so much, everyone for listening to today's episode. I would be super grateful if you can give me a review and give me some feedback. And don't forget, you can always hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, or send us an email at iam at digitalandsavvy.com Thanks for listening!


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