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Networking 101 by Philly PR Girl

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I was honored to be asked to speak at the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Networking event this morning.  It reminded me of one of the reasons why I started Philly PR Girl in the first place: I truly believe in the power of networking.

Networking not only lends the opportunity to connect professionally, but it is a chance to learn by listening to people’s own personal experiences.  That can result in discovering local companies, different tools, and especially new people that may be able to help you get to where you need to go. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet people that have given me so much knowledge about my website, upcoming events, and possible clients and business partners. And I want to pay that forward to you!

There is tons of advice out there for how to prepare for networking, but after you’ve conquered the event… then what?  Here are some tips I gave to everyone at today’s event for what to do AFTER you attend a networking event:

  • Don’t let your business cards you collected sit in a pile on your counter.  Connect further using LinkedIn right away and expand your network virally.
  • Speaking of LinkedIn, DO NOT just hit connect!  Add a personal message to your invitation.  Include where you met, how you can possible work together in the future, etc.
  • ALWAYS send personal follow ups after events if you think there is potential for future business collaboration. Reconnect in a low-key and causal environment, such as a cafe, to develop your discussion after the event.
  • If you are not on Twitter personally, get one for your business.  Twitter is not just for following celebrities; it’s about building brands through conversations. Use “hashtags,” retweet industry articles, and follow similar businesses.  Twitter is all about engaging in interesting information and using it as a resource for your business and for yourself.
  • Broad networking events can be great (like the Chamber’s) but I also recommend networking at industry specific events among like-minded individuals.  Try Meetup.com and use the skills you’ve built at the broad event to build more meaningful relationships.

Overall, my advice is to take the time and effort to make your network personal. That will make YOU memorable. Thanks again to the Chamber for inviting me, and I look forward to attending some of their upcoming events.