Our Power of Networking series will address three categories: networking success stories at The Fearey Group (Fearey), networking tips from the firm and how we network.
Learn how Fearey networks from the perspective of vice president Laura Tufts and her five tips for authentic networking.
In the business of public relations, we spend a lot of time talking about stories. The lifeblood of our PR industry is developing relationships and creating stories that connect with an audience, convey a message and offer a solution or an inspiration. It’s one of the things I love most about this business and I know I’m not alone.
At Fearey, we take a macro approach to connection, meaning the stories we tell are just one aspect of a larger philosophy. Making and maintaining connections (or “networking”) is a near-constant exercise, and it’s vitally important to our business. It is something we pride ourselves on doing and it is one of the main links that has kept our firm going for more than 36 years. Networking is a main source of new business for us and our key partners. For us, it means we approach it with only the simple agenda of knowing people. Anything beyond that is a bonus.
Here are five tips to keep in mind while networking to create meaningful, long-lasting relationships and mutually rewarding connections:
- Instigate – Not everyone is an extrovert; some people are shy. There is a natural tendency in many of us to take a glass of wine and hide behind a fern. Approaching someone with natural curiosity and sincerity is easier than you think because they will usually be instantly relieved someone else is doing the hard part.
- Listen first – Listening is an art, and shutting up is 90 percent of it. The other ten is asking thoughtful questions. It’s amazing how much trust can be built simply by resisting the urge to dominate a conversation. If someone feels like they can talk to you without being bulldozed, you increase your odds of them taking your phone call.
- The relationship is more important than the sale – Is there a chance your business might benefit from this person? Maybe, but that’s not the point. Friends help each other out, but not before they’re friends. And even then, it needs to be sincere and mutually beneficial. Be prepared to put your agenda in the backseat for a while. Seeds don’t grow overnight.
- Trust is everything – If you promise something, do it. If you say something, mean it. If your heart isn’t in it, move on. Being real is underrated — and everybody knows when it’s not happening.
- Following up shows you care – If you’ve established a relationship of trust and mutual reward, then don’t let it die. Put in the effort. Adding to the pile in someone’s inbox may seem rude, but long-term relationships need coaxing. If you don’t get a response, simply honor it as a sign of a full plate and wait a week or two to reach out again. People like to know they’re being thought of.
Relationships are a priceless, intangible commodity. They can’t be bought and if not properly tended, they can be lost. At The Fearey Group we not only honor it, we’re obsessed with it.