Few phrases invite mockery like “Don’t you know who I am?” For maximum effect, it should be uttered in aghast Lady Bracknell-style tones, while drawing yourself up to a great height and gesturing expansively. It’s the phrase someone traditionally utters as their ego bubble reaches maximum inflation – right before that bubble is pricked by the needle of someone with inalienable right on their side.
So don’t ever say ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ Not unless you want to be endlessly pardied. But, by all means, think it!
This doesn’t mean that you should immediately work on developing your egocentric side. After all, in an ideal world, people should not just know you, but like you! No, it means that it’s a good idea to appreciate that it’s not just ‘Who you know’ but ‘Who knows you’.
Not just a superficial awareness of your name, either (although that helps). In the age of Linkedin, it’s pretty easy for people to vaguely recognise your name. We’re more connected than ever these days – but arguably less connected (which, when it’s in italics, means ‘more deeply’, if you’re unfamiliar with the language of tacit typeface formatting…). What you want is for them to know the face behind that name, and to say ‘Hey, I know someone who’d be great for that job!’
After all, you can know as many people as you like, but if they don’t know you back, the whole ‘who you know’ thing is basically pointless. The idea of networking is that you’ll make contacts who will, ultimately, pass on work and further your life (plus friends, obviously! Let’s not be totally mercenary about this!) However, if you make a great effort to meet other people, but don’t ever put yourself forward and ensure that they know you as well, you’re unlikely to reap that socially-powered success you’ve been expecting.
So sometimes you’re going to have to go against all your Granny’s lessons in humility, and make sure that people know who you are. How you do this is obviously going to depend a lot on your own personality and style – but having a think about your own personal brand (which, coincidentally, we’ve covered here before!) might be a good start!