September 29, 2008

Networking Counts

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:57 am by SD

While I was reading a recent article in Advertising Age that discussed some of the myths of networking, I got to thinking about how networking has impacted my life. Every single job or internship that I have ever had has come as a result of networking. Fresh out of school and looking for a job in a new city, I contacted an old colleague of my former internship supervisor. Several interviews later, I had my first PR gig. When I was ready for a change, I met my mentor for lunch to discuss people I should meet with to discuss potential career paths. One of those people I met with is now my current boss and I guarantee you neither one of us came to that meeting expecting it to end up the way it did.

I’ll tell you a little secret. Networking is not on my top ten list of things I love to do but I know I need to do it. Unlike most other PR people, I’m shy, so striking up a conversation at a random networking event sounds about as fun getting stranded in a snow storm. Even though it’s not my favorite thing to do, I do it anyways and I’ve actually learned to enjoy it. As a result of it, I’ve met some awesome people and learned a lot. Let me share a few tips about networking that I’ve found helpful:

1. It Can Take Place Anywhere: It doesn’t have to be at a designated networking group. Strike up a conversation at the dog park on one Saturday afternoon, at a cocktail party or standing in line at a coffee shop. You never know who you may meet and how your paths will cross in the future so take a minute to chat it up with that stranger standing next to you.

2. Utilize Your Hobbies: Love running, join a running club. Passionate about community service, join a non-profit board. Whatever you like to do, there are other people out there who like to do it to so find that group to get involved in. Once you join the group, make an effort to strike up a conversation with one person at each meeting. Now you enjoy doing something you love, while making potential contacts.

3. Take a Buddy: Attending a networking or professional event by yourself can be daunting so find a friend or co-worker to go with you. Here’s the caveat, make a pact to talk to other people besides each other. It’s easier to talk to strangers when you are with someone you know, so the two of you can work together to engage others in conversation.

4. Start Small: Whenever I attend a networking event, I make a goal to meet three new people. It’s a manageable number that can be easily accomplished, yet it introduces me to a whole new group of people I didn’t know before. For your first event, start with one person and work your way up from there!

5. Observe the Pros: Being able to “work a room” is a true art form that takes a long time to learn. Watch those people who you know do it well. You can learn a lot! One of the biggest lessons, I learned is that a good networker asks a lot of questions to learn about the other person. They spend more time listening and less time listening.

Relationships are key to helping you land your next big job or client in the PR industry! And, relationships are built from networking. No matter how uncomfortable it is, get out there an network. Start small and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you get comfortable. Before you know it, you’ll be the one working the room!

~S

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. Joseph said,

    Hi denverprgirl,

    Thanks for writing this blog entry post! I really feel like many people can benefit from this post as many don’t realize just how important networking really is. Thanks for the great work.

    Keep it up!

    Joseph


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: