Even though Mother Nature doesn’t seem to have realized it yet, spring is finally here. Though we may not be able to count on the sun shining for another few weeks, there’s one thing that always happens this time of year no matter what the weather: the days are a little bit longer and we tend to spend more time out of our homes than we did during the long, long winter. During the week you may be tempted to take a walk after you get out of work, to go shopping or to get together with a friend. These are all great ideas but… have you considered doing some networking instead?
Whether it’s going for a drink or a coffee with your work colleagues or attending a formal networking event (such as those organized by professional bodies like the CIPR or PRSA), there are many reasons why you should invest some time in putting your charming self out there and showing the world what a great professional you are. No matter who you are, where you work or what you do, networking is considered to be an essential skill in PR, a field in which we’re supposed to be natural networkers,communicators, movers and shakers. Ask any successful practitioner and they will tell you that networking is not an optional extra- it’s another part of the job.
Whether you want to make professional contacts because you’d like to change jobs, meet potential business partners or just socialize, networking can help you to be perceived as an important player in the field. By regularly attending networking events chances are that not only will you meet new people, but you’ll also keep coming across the same acquaintances, who might eventually become friends.
The investment it requires in terms of time can pay off. You might get a call from someone you’ve met at an event offering you a job; you can meet people who can give you advice and moral support when needed; you might make friend or even fall in love. At the very least, you can have a couple of drinks with some nice people, maintain some interesting conversations and develop your casual conversation skills. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Whatever your motivation, network. Though we live in a digital world where mobile phones and social media rule, there’s still no substitute for face-to-face communication. The best part of networking? It’s something you can do year round… no matter what Mother Nature does.