comes naturally to me as evidenced by my first-grade report card that stated,
“Pam gets along well with others and makes friends easily.”
there’s an opportunity to get out and meet people, I’m all for it! But I realize
this isn’t the case for everyone.
business owner for 19 years, I know networking is hands down the golden
key to making connections, opening doors and cultivating new relationships with
contacts. I’m proud to say that my firm Thomas/Boyd Communications has built
our business primarily through networking and client referrals. After all, business
is about personal contact and relationships with people.
can happen when you least expect it to, and it can have unforeseen impact on
your business. Years ago, while serving as a panelist on the topic of Public
Relations/Marketing, I struck up a conversation with one of the other
panelists. That conversation led to lunch, which led to a business opportunity.
That was seven years ago, and we’re still working with that client today.
is about connecting the dots and building relationships. Here are some do’s and
Get Involved –
Networking happens everywhere, from chamber and business events to more
informal gatherings. When I was starting out in business, I joined the
marketing committee of a chamber of commerce, and immediately got to know 20
people off the bat. Next time I went to a chamber event, I knew those 20
people, and they introduced me to more and so on and so on…
Look and Act the Part –
Remember you’re representing both your business and your personal brand. Dress
accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to practice your handshake either. Make sure it’s
firm and look the person in the eye.
About Your Business – It’s
important to let people know what you do in case they or someone they know need
your service one day. Keep a few talking points in mind about your line of
work, but don’t get stressed out about creating a “30-second commercial.” Instead,
create messaging in your own words and your own style. The last thing you want
to do is sound like a recorded script.
People – Find the
connection between someone you just met and someone you know. Help someone else
expand their network, too.
Up – Send a follow
up email or LinkedIn request when appropriate. Stay in touch, and stay on their
to Be Someone Else –
You can always tell when someone is projecting an image of who they think they
should be. Be yourself! Don’t feel like you have to fit a certain type of
networking “personality.” Discover your style by asking yourself, “What is my
personal brand? How do I see myself?”
Someone’s Name – Do
whatever you need to do to ensure it doesn’t go in one ear and out the other.
Over Someone’s Shoulder –
It’s so irritating to talk to someone and see their eyes looking around for
someone else to talk to. You may not find who you’re looking for, and you’ve
completely alienated the person you’re talking to in the process.
Only About Yourself –
Networking is a mindset. You’re learning about someone else and making a
connection. Maybe you can help each other.
Pam Boyd is
co-founder and president of Thomas/Boyd Communications and an award-winning marketing
communications professional who provides strategy to advance her clients and
their causes. She has achieved renowned success in media relations and
placements, event planning and strategic programs and initiatives.