In business, networking is a crucial part of building not only your company’s brand, but also your personal brand as well. The further I get into my career that, I continue to find that building relationships and making connections are an essential part of the Public Relations industry. Whether you’re connecting with members of the media or potential vendors, new clients or even partners for your current clients, building your personal network is critical.
Last week, I attended the Women in Technology forum on The Power of Networking. The breakfast event focused on the benefits of networking as well as how to maximize your time at events. The forum was led by three very intelligent and outgoing women, Errika Mallet, membership director at itSMF; Dr. Kym Harris, Ed. D, president and CEO of Your Sweet Spot Coaching and Consulting; and Barbara Linebarger, president network partnerships for U.S. network operations at Turner Broadcasting Systems. All self-proclaimed extroverts and networking masters, the ladies had sound advice on how to make quality connections while attending events and what to do after to make sure they last.
While I found all of the tips provided by the panel insightful, a few of my personal favorites include:
- People remember who you are, not what you do. Make sure you share personal stories in addition to what you do for a living, as most people remember stories opposed to occupations. As the connection deepens, what you do will naturally follow.
- Networking is about building connections and an opportunity to learn from likeminded people to help you expand past your personal skill set.
- Through networking, you are expanding your knowledge and connections in the business community and amongst industry and business peers.
- To make a lasting impression and to deepen the connections you make at networking events, ask questions outside traditional “shop talk,” to learn about likes and interests.
- To maximize your time at networking events remember the following:
- Before: when getting dressed for an event, be sure to wear a conversation piece, i.e. necklace, scarf, bold print, etc.
- During: keep mingling, don’t stay in one conversation for too long and most importantly branch out past your circle.
- After: make notes on all of the business cards you receive to remember who you met. Also, connect with them on LinkedIn and don’t be shy about asking them for coffee or lunch to further the connection.
Lastly, my favorite words of wisdom (and the title of the blog post): Your net worth is equal to your network.
What other networking tips and tricks would you add to this list?
Colleen Murphy - @c_murphy33