Monday, March 30, 2009
I've always been one that loves to learn. I'm a firm believer that if you aren't constantly learning new things, you're doing yourself an injustice. Being content, for me, is boring. I like to be challenged. In today's current economic crisis, it's vital that you differentiate yourself. Setting yourself apart from the competition is key to a) keeping your job, b) getting a new job and c) coming out of the recession successfully (both for yourself and your company).
My goal for 2009 was to get more involved in the PR landscape here in Minnesota. If I wanted to make a name for myself in PR and if I wanted to find success as a PR professional, I believed it was vital for me to become active. My first step was to join Minnesota PRSA. I went back and forth on this and debated whether it was beneficial to join a professional organization. Although I've only been active for 3-4 months, it has been my greatest decision as a PR pro. Through PRSA, I've met, in my opinion, some of the smartest PR people out there. Through MNPRSA's mentor program, I've met @bskogrand of Risdall, who was instrumental in suggesting I blog again and get involved in PRSA. This has led to many professional relationships I've begun to develop as well as hone some basic PR skills.
One of my favorite experiences in networking is the availability of new and useful information from like-minded professionals. I've mentioned Twitter on previous posts and I continue to believe it has the biggest ROI & ROE of any social media platform. Twitter has allowed me to connect with people across the country, as well as locally. @arikhanson is full of experience and useful information (check out his blog). @cubanlaf, @djwolter, @harvatin are all folks who I've learned a ton off of by simply sitting back and listening/reading their tweets. Smart folks that I wouldn't have met had I not networked and gotten involved.
A few keys to networking:
- Offer value. Networking is like PR - it's suppose to be two-way. While people love offering their help, it makes networking easier and more fun when both can contribute.
- Be sociable. One would think this is an obvious, but you'd be surprised that some people simply show up to an event and expect to network. You need to be involved. Introduce yourself, ask questions, etc.
- Be thankful and respectful. Don't be someone who uses others. Be respectful. Realize that professionals have other responsibilities. At the same time, follow up and give thanks. A thank you can go a long way.
- Have a plan. Why are you networking? What do you hope to gain? What do you plan on contributing? Be proactive, not reactive.
- Give back. Be a mentor, get involved. Just like you, there are others out there looking for help and looking to network.
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