Mindfulness in the workplace
As a Public Relations professional, there are many different occasions when you must showcase your social skills and engage with others – meetings, business trips, parties, events, client outings and beyond.
However, not all PR pros are naturally outgoing and have a knack for starting up or carrying a conversation. Some are more comfortable expressing themselves through a more online, textual approach, playing to their strengths of writing, planning and organizing. In my opinion, face-to-face communications are still a very strong and meaningful way to network and connect. On the flip side it’s vital to have skills to be comfortable following up, sending an email, tweeting, blogging or posting, as the new version of face-to-face…screen-to-screen.
That´s why it’s important to be comfortable with both sets of communication skills – in-person and online. If you think that your live networking abilities could use improvement, take a cue from the book, Networking for People Who Hate Networking, by Devora Zack. The following tips may be helpful:
1. Be True To You
Capitalize on your existing abilities and exercise them as strengths, rather than focusing your energy on your weaknesses. If you’re more comfortable listening in a conversation, then listen. If you’re more confident in one-on-one conversations, then seek those out.
2. Less Is More
Select the best events that will offer you the most value towards achieving a determined goal – whether that is networking, learning a new skill or having fun. Don’t try to go to every event. Pick the right one and stay focused when attending.
3. Plan Your First Impression
Present the best version of you in any occasion. This doesn’t apply simply to appearance. When network with someone or a group, express optimism, pay attention to their comments, ask the right questions and showcase your strengths in an elegant way.
Volunteer to help out during the event. Be the first to offer your help if something needs attention – i.e. supplies/sufficient materials at a booth, making introductions and tending to talent participating/speaking. If you don’t get a chance to help out during the event, be sure to follow up and offer your assistance at the next one.
5. Get In Line
If you find yourself at an event with nowhere to go and no one to talk to, get in a queue – for the bathroom, the bar or coat check. This will keep you busy and you may start a conversation with your neighbors in line.
6. Set Challenging but Achievable Goals
This may include meeting one or two key people at the event, or sharing a specific message with attendees that will benefit you and/or your organization.
7. Show, Don’t Tell
Rather than telling people how brilliant you are, demonstrate it by being helpful and funny. Actions speak louder than words.
Prepare before an event. Know about the organization that’s hosting the function. Know what their business is and/or who is going to be there. Have questions prepared in advance and don’t walk into the event clueless.
Be conscious of the person or group you’re talking to and balance the conversation. Don’t speak too much or dominate the conversation. Make sure to listen and ask thoughtful questions.
Write personalized follow-up notes within two days of meeting someone. If you’re not following up, you’re not networking.