The basic format of an introductory networking conversation between two public relations professionals is often simple: share who you are and what you do, then swap business cards.
As often as we have encounters like this, many people often don’t take the necessary post-interaction steps to sustain a connection with newly acquired relationships. In this industry, who you know is extremely important – so when you’re at conferences and networking events, it is essential to go one step further than giving a confident handshake and exchanging business cards.
As you travel home from the PRSSA 2012 National Conference this week, you should plan what you are going to do now that the event has ended. If you want to stay on top of your networking game, here are a few steps you should take to get the most out of your PRSSA relationships.
Make that database – For every business card I receive, I always take the information and put it into a Google spreadsheet I created. I keep everyone’s information online so my desk isn’t full of floating bits of paper.
Get connected – Now that you have everyone’s contact information in a centralized location, it’s time to start the real networking! Send your new friends a brief thank you or follow-up email. After National Conference last year, I sent each of my new contacts a card in the mail. Aren’t public relations professionals known for always being on their smartphones? It takes no effort to add someone on Twitter or Facebook while after a session or networking event. Besides, don’t you always feel so cool after PRSSA events when you gain 20 followers? I know I do.
STAY connected – It is easy to make the first move of sending a thank you email or LinkedIn request, but you can’t just say hello once and then disappear. Favorite your acquaintance’s tweets or comment on their blog posts. If you’re traveling or working in a new town, meet up with your connections.
At National Conference, it is easy to connect with driven and exciting public relations folks. Make sure that you’re now prepared to make your new network last by going a little further than being just a name on a business card.
About the blogger
This is a guest post by Lauren Tennet, a senior public relations student with a double minor in history and Spanish at Ohio Northern University.Tennet is currently the social media & marketing Intern at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas. A proud Delta Zeta, Tennet will serve as the director of Ohio Northern’s student-run firm, True North Public Relations. In the fall, as well as the dvertising anager forFORUM. She will also be the social media intern for Campus Crasher, an online university scouting page. Besides these accomplishments, Tennet is an avid music lover and performer.
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