I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” As I have been looking for jobs, I’ve come to realize more and more how true it really is. On Tuesday, one of Philadelphia’s biggest networking events for students is being held – PPRA Careers 101. Panelists from the event include professionals from all areas of the profession including travel and tourism, agency, corporate and sports. Additionally, several PR professionals will be there to network with students about their current job search, resume and cover letter critiques and how to become more involved with professional organizations such as PPRA and PRSA. With this highly anticipated event approaching, its important to learn how to work the room like a networking pro. An article from Forbes’ Deborah Jones outlines a few great tips on being a networking all-star:
1. Go with a purpose. Remind yourself why you are there. You are using your precious time to network and to make some useful connections, so make sure you aren’t wasting energy. Set a couple of targets like: speak to three new people; or try to learn at least two new pieces of information or gossip.
2. Use inside contacts. If you know the event organizer and he or she is around during the event, ask for an introduction to key people who you ought to meet there. Having a warm overture will make the process of networking easier. It will also save you the time of trying to find people who you don’t know.
3. Be a lone ranger. If you’re attending the event with people you already know well, such as colleagues and friends, don’t fall into the trap of sticking together for the whole event. Talking to people who you already know will lessen your chances of meeting new ones. To extricate yourself, deliberately sit next to someone you don’t know during a talk or a meal that takes place during the event.
4. Break the ice. Don’t feel like you have to say something profound. Breaking the ice can be as simple as commenting on the venue, the program or the food; asking people where they’ve traveled from or whether they’ve been to the event or place before; or expressing an interest in why they are attending.
5. Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that ask who, what, where, when and how – as opposed to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Your goal is to explore ideas and opinions and also to show your listening skills.
To read the rest of the article and Deborah’s great tips, click here.
What other advice would you add to this list of networking tips? Let us know!