PR students at Southampton Solent University attended a Professional Networking Event, where Matt Desmier, founder of Creative and Digital Consultancy Wise Old Uncle discussed the importance of networking.
During his talk, he emphasized five main principles that PR students should consider in order to create useful connections on their way to obtaining the perfect job.
1. Relax. Be yourself.
Our gust lecturer took his own advice. He was charmingly relaxed and he told us that people who are pretending to be someone they are not won’t have too much success while climbing the career ladder. The employers or partners want to see their employees as humans, to know their weaknesses and their strengths, in order to make the most of them. As a result of being confident in his ability to inform and influence the young practitioners, he engaged us in the conversation, and debating different topics with him was a delight.
2. Be prepared.
The second point referred to always knowing oneself (what your goals are, so that you show them you have considered your prospects) but also who one is interested to work with. Look at it from the employers’ point of view: it is always flattering to find that there is someone interested in your work. Who knows what business opportunity can emerge from there?
3. Be interesting. Be interested.
All those present at the event realized how important the above-mentioned statement was, as towards the end of the event, we were asked to socialize amongst ourselves. This simulation of real-life networking events helped me understand that if one does not seem interested in what the other individual has to say, the connection is lost. Therefore the chance of getting the job one would like to land may be lost.
4. Small talk is the prelude to big talk.
Following the Chinese way of doing business, Matt recommended us to do some small talk before getting straight to the point. Introducing ourselves and stating something relevant, like where we come from, for example, might help the other person see us as a trustworthy person he/she would most definitely like to work with.
5. Nurture your network.
It is of utter importance to maintain a good relationship with your potential clients. Introducing yourself once is not enough, as they might forget about you. Just imagine how many meetings they must have, how many people they might interact with on different social networks every day. Having experienced working on both sides of the barricade in the design business, Matt told u, from the very start of our conversation that building solid relationships with our potential employers is based on establishing regular lines of communication.
Having talked to him towards the end of the event, I was advised to always have in mind the five principles. “It will carry you far,” he assured me.
His talk had a huge impact on me, as it helped me realise once again that communication lies at the heart of society. Depending on how we use it, it can portray the right image of us or it may not. It is up to us to choose.