By Saralynn Kupperberg
Network. Network. Network. You’ve heard it so many times from professors, family, and professionals in the field, but how do you master the skill that is so essential to public relations? Here are 5 tips to network like a pro.
1. Don’t be afraid.
Networking seems like an overwhelming concept, but like all things in life practice makes perfect. Come up with a quick elevator pitch describing yourself, as well as a few questions that you can ask any professional, and you will be ready to network with anyone that you meet.
2. Put your reporter hat on.
Everyone loves talking about themselves. Put your reporter hat on and ask them the questions. Some great question to ask are: how did you get your start? What are some major issues in the industry today? As well as, where do you think the industry is going. There answers will allow you to dig deeper, and make connections to your life and experiences. After using this method you won’t realize how much time you have spent networking.
3. Say thank you.
Make sure to get a business card at the end of your networking experience, and then send a thank you note. This is a an essential part of the networking process. Even it is only an email, this step will help plant the seed for creating a contact and a professional relationship.
4. Let’s keep in touch.
Don’t let the thank you letter be the last time you ever talk to them. Keep in touch. A few weeks after your networking experience, send that person an email letting them know that you were thinking of them. You can send them an interesting article related to the industry, or a specific aspect of the job, or something that they mentioned during your conversation. This contact helps turn that networking experience into a professional relationship.
5. You can help them too!
You can be as much of a resource to a professional as they can be to you. While you may think that you can’t offer anything to a professional as a college student, you never know what they are looking for. In your thank you note, let them know that you are available if there is anything that you can do for them. This creates a reciprocal relationship, rather than a one-way street.