It’s All About the Network

There is value in PR beyond coverage, and that’s the PR Network. I am personally thrilled that almost half, if not even more, of networking occurs online in today’s focused media culture; however I’m very well aware that I have to master the courage and skills to network and communicate with the public effectively in person just as I would virtually to be attain a successful career.

“Don’t talk to strangers! That was the advice many of us received as children. No one told us when to start talking to strangers again (at 19? 22? 43?) We had to figure that one out on our own. As professionals and communicators we need to not only talk to strangers to build our network but we need to talk to the right strangers to build a robust, meaningful network.” – Diane Schwartz

In a PR News Online blog post, Senior VP & Group Publisher Diane Schwartz quotes and summarizes Top Women in PR Awards Luncheon tips and advice to other women in the field. At first you might think a PR specialist’s first concern would be to figure out effective communication techniques with our audiences, but Diane Schwartz points out that before we do that, building a strong internal network might be of interest beforehand. As women in the PR field, I agree to acknowledge the notion that we are all in this together. Each individual has different sets of objectives and goals, something another person might be able to help achieve with the right connections. Recognizing the kinds of people we want to meet, work alongside with, and get to know is important to be a successful PR professional.

Some of my favorite tips shared by the women that Diane Schwartz noted were such as, “kick fear out the curb,” “communication is more about listening than talking,””don’t ask, don’t get” and “your network is your critical asset; your network equals your net worth.” I know I personally need to work on my courage of talking to strangers, especially when I know it can benefit me. Listening to others is critical in creating meaningful conversations and relationships. We’ve heard the third tip countless times in our courses, if you never ask you’ll never know; the worst thing you’ll get is a no, but never the possibility of a ‘yes’ if the chance isn’t taken. Lastly, your net worth seemingly being represented by your network is a really interesting way to see the value of the people you know.

“Self made business icons have succeeded, first, by figuring out what they do better than everyone else and earning money by doing that and, second, by finding assistance with everything else. These self-made icons, to a person, needed a network of people to succeed.” – Lewis Schiff

In an Inc. article titled 6 People Who Determine Your Future, Lewis Schiff, author of “Business Brilliant”, focuses on his focused studies dealing with the importance and benefits of networking. Every individual has particular skills and talents that will differentiate them from another professional, Lewis Schiff recommends identifying that skill and exemplifying it. I recognized when I came to college that I loved to write, and I that I loved to persuade. However, taking Lewis Schiff’s advice into consideration, I won’t be able to achieve any of my goals on my own.

As an aspiring PR specialist, I am learning every day the importance of starting to network today, before I am even in the professional field. We have so many opportunities to connect in 2016 compared to a time before we could message someone out of the country via an online message, there is no excuse not to get involved and expand the world around you. We can’t just rely on a virtual network however, getting to know my journalism classmates, connecting with them not just on a virtual level but personally enough to leave an impression, creating exemplary work to stand out to professors, volunteering in organizations that prepare me for my interest in the nonprofit sector, and continuously engage in the world around me are the little things I need to keep doing. The network I begin to build now will not just inspire me, but hopefully simultaneously help me in the future.

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