Tag Archives: Networking

Never Eat Alone: 4 Networking Tips

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I’m always telling people about how Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is my favourite business book. It made me cry (not sure if that’s a normal reaction). It was a gift from my best friend senior year of college. Ferrazzi put into words exactly what I had on my mind, but didn’t know how to say at the time. He validated the way I feel about networking and relationships.

Here are a few beautiful lessons I’ve learned from that book, and just from living. I hope they’re insightful or relatable for you.

Give to others without expecting something in return. Give your time and talent. Help connect people, teach someone, give someone a recommendation or advice. Don’t ask, “What will this action deliver me in return?” as a condition of choosing to help someone. Give selflessly, and your life will be richer. I swear by this tip.

Never attend a “networking” event. Every event is a networking event. In fact, life is one big networking event. I love Ferrazzi’s approach to networking as a lifestyle and I’ve tried to adopt this same attitude.

Understand and ‘see’ relationships. I refer to this as my “online stalking tip.” The internet has A LOT of information (if you haven’t figured that out by now) so use it to your advantage. Understand how people are connected. Research what they do, learn their story and see who their friends are. Be driven by relationships before and after meeting new people.

Be genuine and interested. Gosh this one is important. If you are hitting on tips 1-3 and mucking up this one you could get in trouble. I would give you the advice of ‘fake it till you make it,’ but I’m not sure if that applies here. Please be genuine in all that you do. It will help your relationships thrive.

Have you read Never Eat Alone? What advice would you add to this list?

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My World Upside Down: SXSWi Recap

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I’ve been struggling on how to even begin describing my first SXSW interactive experience from this past week. It’s important for me to blog because I believe in the power of sharing good ideas and exchanging knowledge, so I’ll try my best.  I had an amazing time and it’s hard to fully convey the reasons I know this was an extremely valuable trip. It pieced together a lot of things for me and the timing (my senior year of college) couldn’t have been any better.

Despite knowing a handful of people going to Austin for SXSWi this was a trip I took alone. I made plans to stay with a friend of a friend who I had never met before and got permission from my professors to leave early before finals. This was my not only my first SXSWi but also my first visit to Austin. I had a vague idea of what to expect but overall decided to stick with a “go with the flow” attitude. I described my game plan to some friends as “organized chaos.”

I tried to do my homework before I went. I talked to people who had attended SXSW in previous years, emailed some online tweeps I wanted to meet, picked out the sessions that looked interesting and ordered my personal business cards. When the time came to leave I was still anxious but feeling more confident I knew what to do and could rock out SXSWi.

My first three days flew by. I seriously couldn’t even tell you what happened when, who I met what we did (no not because I was drinking too much). It was intense. Since I was traveling alone I was constantly being forced to meet new people. I loved it every moment of it. I bounced from group to group and made a ton of new friends. Also taking time to meet people I had only ever communicated with online.

hanging out w/ new friend @vero

Several people told me it’s the people you meet not the sessions or speakers that really make your time in Austin worthwhile. While I attended some great sessions, I would still have to agree. I’m walking away with the feeling that some of the people I met will become lifelong friends (thank goodness for social media keeping us connected). It sounds cliché but it’s true. I valued the feeling of being surrounded by people who want to go out and change the world. I think that was another key piece of this trip; the opportunity to meet a group of people who understood the importance of looking ahead the future.

I plan on blogging more of my thoughts from the trip soon. I did write up a post for The Next Great Generation called Embracing Your Gen Y Status: SXSWi Edition if you want to check that out. Visit here again soon for more updates.

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Networking, So Classic.

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I struggle at times to explain to my parents and some [ahem] older friends the world of social networking. Yes, there are such things as tweet-ups and yes, I do meet with people in person that I first met online. If you an avid user of these online tools this may seem very normal. If you are my father who doesn’t even have an email account, it’s not only foreign but also perhaps a bit frightening. There is a certain amount of distrust for him with the internet. Stories of children being abducted by people they met in chat rooms comes to mind. I realize that not everyone sees these online networks the same way I do.

It has been my experience that social networking is really not that different from traditional networking. It’s an old game but the tools and platform are just evolving. We meet people in the places we hang out, work, spend time, etc. So instead of hanging out at a local coffee shop, I’m spending my time on Twitter. There is etiquette to interacting with people. The rules of networking are still there. You meet people and build trust gradually.

So many of the people that I first meet online I’ve later met in person. I never feel as though I’m meeting a “stranger” for coffee or lunch. These are people that exist in my network already. Perhaps my friend has met them before or I’ve seen them at an event. I don’t want you to think that I don’t value meeting people in “real life.” In fact, I find it’s very important and part of what makes social media a great tool to assist in meeting new contacts in person.

It’s not just people like my parents who get confused on how social networking sites work. Students also get a mixed message. They are told they should be participating in social media because there are job offers, chances to meet professionals and other opportunities. This is true, however no one seems to follow up with the second part of that message. The rewards of social media are not for just being a member or participant of x, y, z site. You must be engaged and understand how the system works. The classic staples of networking still apply online. Focusing on relationships over time is so important.

What are your thoughts? Do you view more traditional networking the same way you view social networking sites? Is this typically a generational phenomenon in your opinion?

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4 Quick Tips for a PR Undergrad

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Last week was our Otterbein Cardinal Career Luncheon. It’s a networking lunch that alumni relations and career services sponsor each year for junior and seniors. I had a chance to sit and talk with public relations and marketing pro Crystal Olig from Oxiem. She is an excellent role model and has some great insights on our generation.  I wanted to share some of the advice I gathered from our talk.

1. Try to be honest when you run into with someone. The nature of business is that you may have to see former clients, or perhaps a potential client that didn’t sign with your agency. Smile and be courteous, but also be honest. Don’t be silly and pretend you don’t remember them. Wish them the best of luck in their future business and remain genuine.

2. Ask for business card from everyone. This was Crystal’s advice especially for large networking events and conferences. Even if someone is about to turn their shoulder and exit the conversation, ask for that business card before they go. You will surprise people when you follow up later, because not everyone takes that extra step.

3. Never turn down an invitation to a networking event when you are new somewhere. Crystal relocated to Columbus earlier last year and worked to make connections and start meeting locals. Unless you are unavailable that night make an effort to take all invites to network and get out. She joked that you should take invites from boring people too because they might have really fun friends you can meet.

4. Find some newsletter publications that relate to your career field or goals. I subscribe to blogs and follow articles shared on by my network on Twitter, but I don’t currently subscribe to any newsletters. I thought this was a smart tip for students looking to learn and a good way to stay current on trends from a reliable source.

You can learn more about Crystal by following her on Twitter or check out her site whY genY.  This post is my version of a Gen Y thank you note to her.

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