By: Jennine Miller
Quotes VP of External Affairs
As a student chapter of FPRA, Quotes encourages its members to attend FPRA events. I was thrilled to see several members present at the 2013 Professional Development Workshop: In The Public Eye. Attending the event was a great opportunity to hear from guest speakers and to interact with local professionals. Unfortunately, many people don’t utilize this chance to network to its fullest potential.
It’s human nature to stay within your comfort zone, but when you’re in the PR industry, your connections are a valuable asset. Who you meet today could lead to your next internship, job, media contact, and so on, making these real and positive connections crucial.
Whether you’re a student or professional, use these tips to make a good first impression and make the most out of the next networking event you attend.
Be approachable. What you’re wearing, where you’re standing and your facial expression all send out a message. Standing in the corner with your arms crossed closes you off from everyone else and makes them less likely to want to approach you. Place yourself somewhere that is centrally located, maybe even walk up to a group of people, and always wear your smile.
Be a good listener. The best PR practitioners know how to listen and interact. Drive the conversation by asking open-ended questions. Talk about yourself, but remember it’s not all about you. Just like you need to think about what the media will get out of your pitch, you also need to learn more about the needs of who you are talking to.
Bring your business card. Although attendees wear name tags at most events, it would be borderline impossible to remember every person you’re introduced to. If you bring your business card and give it out to others, they will likely do the same and it’s a lot more professional than just asking for their card.
Follow up. Networking is great, but if you don’t follow up and only call upon your new connection when you need something, then you haven’t actually built a relationship. Set aside some time after an event to sit down with those newly acquired business cards and follow up with your new acquaintances. Sending a personalized email or LinkedIn invite is a great way to make sure they remember you and an opportunity to schedule a lunch date.
Keep these tips in mind at the next FPRA breakfast on Thursday, November 21 from time to time.