Welcome to our monthly feature The PR Desk! Written by PR professional Heather Travis, it guides food bloggers on the ins and outs of navigating the world of PR agencies and brands. This month, Heather talks networking and how it takes action to make it work. Then, she goes into action and shares 5 tips for effective follow-up to help you take action!
Every new person, every new interaction is an opportunity awaiting your exploration. At big events filled with like-minded and awesome people like the annual FBC Conference, these opportunities aren’t just lurking around the corner, they're presented to you with a pretty bow. No need to "find" the opportunities — you just need to do your part to move the needle and do the work.
What Do We Mean by Networking?
When you look up "business networking" on Wikipedia, some key words jump out" relationship, create or act upon, seek, recognize, and opportunity. Networking is actively seeking out and creating relationships; it's recognizing opportunities and acting on them.
What Networking Is Not
Networking isn’t meeting, exchanging contact information, and waiting for luck to happen. Networking, in order to actually WORK (it is part of the word after all …) requires action.
Networking, in order to actually work, requires action.
Just like most things in life, if you want to see success and open doors through networking you must do the work yourself.
5 Tips for Effective Follow-Up After Networking
With that in mind, here are five tips for effectively following up after networking.
1. Fresh Follow Up
Keep your conversation and energy top of mind with prompt and fresh follow up. Next to unloading your swag bag, it should be the first thing you do when you get home.
2. Relationship reminders
Ideally you are following up after a good discussion, a shared meal or experience. Reminders of this and the relationship you are hoping to build are important. Be personal (but professional) and try not to sound like a form letter, because …
3. Templates Are Taboo
Each unique contact requires unique follow-up. No copying and pasting, no templates or form letters. Templates don’t build relationships. Be thoughtful in your correspondence, be deliberate about your intentions and have a sense of where you would like to move the relationship, and then …
4. Make a Move
Include action: immediate follow-up on your part to demonstrate commitment to the relationship. But don’t overload. Remember, this is the start — a first date in what will be a long and adventurous relationship. Don’t decide to elope right off the bat by dumping every great idea you’ve ever had. Your ideal follow up, including all the tips above should most of all be ...
5. Short & Strategic
Keep it simple, keep it to the point, and be strategic about it.
As Seneca said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Seek out opportunities, prepare yourself properly and you can create your own luck. It’s as easy as doing the work.
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Heather Travis is a PR professional and lover of all things creative. She has extensive experience developing and implementing integrated public relations and marketing programs for agricultural brands, producers and processors, as well as high end sporting goods. She’s a DIY junkie with a mean power tool addiction, and can often be found painting, refinishing, and scouring both junk yards and antique markets for her next fix … err, piece of content for her blog heatherinheels.com. Find Heather on Twitter @heathertravis and Instagram @heathertravis.