Networking is an integral part of PR and the phrase ‘people buy people’ is absolutely true. We network in our personal lives every day but as a PR professional, networking events are the perfect opportunity to meet potential clients and make connections with people in the city you work in.
By following these tips, you can become a networking pro in no time (and reduce the dreaded networking nerves):
- Don’t be afraid
- The idea of professional networking can be daunting, especially if you’re attending without your colleagues but there is really no need to be nervous. Everyone at a networking event is in the same position, they’re all there to meet new people and make business connections. Don’t be afraid to join a group of people and introduce yourself, within no time initial nerves and awkwardness will fade away and turn into a conversation.
- Be prepared
- One of the first questions you will be asked is what you do. Be prepared with an ‘elevator pitch’, a short spiel about what your company does and what your job role entails. Keep it concise but interesting, name clients that the people you are talking to may have heard of or that might link to their sector. Also make sure you give out your contact details so people can contact you after the event.
- Be friendly
- Although this seems an obvious one, nerves have the tendency to make people seem distant and uninterested. Smile, have a laugh and talk to people about things other than business, after all you’re there to have a good time whilst meeting new people. It’s not meant to be scary.
- Ask questions and concentrate
- Ask questions! If the person you’re talking to tells you about a part of their business or job role you don’t understand, ask them about it, they will be flattered that you’re interested. Ask questions about what they do and concentrate, try your best to remember their name. If you call them by their name when you say goodbye, they are more likely to remember you.
- Follow up
- The day after the networking event, make sure you send a quick email to the people that you spoke to. It doesn’t matter whether or not they have potential to be future clients, it’s great to have connections in the city that you work in. You never know when you might need someone from their sector or they might need PR and the friendly Executive who remembered their name might be top of their list.