When it comes to public relations, those in the profession are constantly meeting, talking to, and learning from others. They could be at a conference, social event, or seminar. Because of that, networking is an essential skill for PR professionals to have. Before learning how to use this skill effectively, it’s important to understand why networking is vital.
Why Networking Is Important
The bottom line is that effective networking leads to more clients, media contacts, and brand awareness. Through networking, you can build connections with other PR professionals. These contacts are great resources when you need to obtain or spread information.
In addition, connecting online and attending events allows you to make new contacts from industries other than PR. Your contacts will collectively shape your career path or provide you with opportunities to connect your clients with likeminded businesses. Making new connections can even help you land clients from different industries or discover a new job opportunity.
While it’s clear how vital networking is to a PR career, making it work for you is another story. Take a look at these tips for making the most of your networking opportunities.
- Work the Room
When you arrive at an event, the first thing that you want to do is get a drink and walk around. Look for openings in groups of people, and smile and make eye contact when you join a conversation. Avoid introducing yourself with a business card. Instead, use motivational gestures like recognition and a sense of humor. Wait to offer your contact information until the moment feels comfortable.
- Take the Initiative
You’re likely to meet some executives at conferences and other gatherings. Rather than waiting for them to address you, you can take the initiative. Know what you want to say beforehand, and they’ll acknowledge you as an insightful, focused, and articulate individual.
- Know When to Say Goodbye
When you feel that you’ve accomplished enough networking at an event, it’s best to make a graceful exit. With your success, you can say goodbye to your new contacts. The last thing that you want to do is stay for too long. Even if you’re starting a career, you don’t want to come across as hungry for connections.
- Build Your Connections When Appropriate
After an event, you can send a note to or call your contacts when it’s appropriate. Socializing allows you to build your connections and meet even more people. As you earn respect and professional affection, your contacts will want to help you achieve your goals.
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