By Katie Boucher (@kteb)
When I attended my first networking event, I won’t lie, I was scared to death. I didn’t know what to say, I had no idea who to talk to and ended up sitting in the corner eating pasta salad and drinking a Sprite. Even though I was scared, I attended another event and thank goodness I did because it was the event that helped me land my first job (thanks to @PubClubofNE ). Since then, I have always believed in the power of networking. It’s not who you know, but who knows you.
For PR pros, networking events are a way to spread the word about clients, meet journalists to build relationships, and tell everyone what a great company you work for (seriously @SHIFTComm is the best). Attending networking events is also a great way to build your own brand recognition. At SHIFT we are strongly encouraged to attend networking events as it helps not only each of us individual, but SHIFT as a whole.
Over the countless events SHIFTers have attended, we have all developed a style of networking that works for us individually. Working the room may not be everyone’s forte, so I thought SHIFT could provide some tips and tricks on how to leave a networking event feeling good about it. I think the over arching piece of advice would be that the more you network, the better you get at it and the more opportunities arise. You never know who you might meet.
Catherine Allen, Vice President, @catherineallen – “Networking is like a game – maybe that’s from playing too many @GSN_Digital games (shameless client plug). Begin with the end in mind: What are you hoping to get out of the event? New ways of thinking from the keynote? New recruits for your company? New relationships with prospective partners and clients? If I go in with the game mentality, it makes it easier to jump right in and make the most of a networking event. Oh, and one more piece of advice: Eat before you arrive, because it is really hard to network with crudité in your teeth.”
Zach Servideo, Account Manager, @zachservideo – “Be fearless… the person you are staring at is here for the same reason.”
Daniella Klopocki, Senior Account Executive, @bellatweetz – ““Each week, I send an email to three people I’ve met at a past event or someone from my past that I should stay in contact with (professor, former colleagues, former clients etc.), just to check in with them. We typically send someone a note when we need something, so sending a note just to say hi, can go a long way.”
Amanda Guisbond, Senior Account Executive, @agbond – “Don’t forget to follow-up. After the initial meet and greet and business card exchange, be thoughtful and strategic about following up with a few folks. Look for something in common or shoot them a note to say you enjoyed meeting with them and hearing about their work. Cards can get lost and a nice email is a great way to a) stand out and b) stay connected. If you’re using LinkedIn for this purpose, make sure to include a nice note along with your connection request.”
Kate Binette, Senior Account Executive, @katebinette – “Live tweet if the event has a panel – people start to recognize you and talk to you and it makes it easier to chat afterwards.”
Denise Bertrand, Account Coordinator, @DMBertrand – “Before I came to SHIFT I was the Communications Specialist at the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce on Cape Cod. A good place to network as a business owner or employee of a company looking to meet new people in the community is by getting involved with your local chamber of commerce. Chamber’s have their own networking events for members every month and can help you get involved by introducing you to many other professional organizations and associations.”
We hope these tips and tricks help and if you see a SHIFTer at an event, say hi, we don’t bite! For more networking tips and tricks, Boston.com recently wrote an article, “How to Network Well: It’s Not All About You”.
What’s your tip? Add it in the comments section below.