We’ve been hearing people saying others should put down their phones for a couple years now and may or may not agree with the reasons. Whether it’s the Pokemon Go craze or just out for a drink with friend, there seems to be no shortage of people telling others what to do.
Now it’s my turn for another reason communications professionals especially need to get out from behind their phones and social media applications.
Nothing replaces personal relationships. Nothing.
Relationships can be started on social media. I have plenty of friends I’ve not met “IRL” but in many cases we have spoken on the phone. For those who are new to communications and public relations, or any field, it’s important to get out to meet real people.
Before you begin building relationships, it’s important to know what you want to do. Not what you want to do today, but instead what you’d like to be doing if you could choose any career.
Some early steps:
- What do you want to do – not today but three years from now?
- Who do you need to know to get there? Who can introduce you to those people?
- Ask for the introduction. Then say thank you.
- And follow-up with both the person who introduced you and the one you were introduced to!
As a public relations professional, I’m a firm believer in the importance of relationships in our profession but it doesn’t happen without a lot of work. It doesn’t happen without a lot of perseverance. I’ve been building relationships for more than 40 years and have developed something of a reputation as a connector. It’s something I love to do, but I have a set of expectations too:
- Follow-up with me and the person to whom I introduce you.
- Pass on the favor to someone else.
- Keep in touch so I know how things are going.
Also, don’t discount professional organizations designed for training and networking. For public relations professionals, the granddaddy of them all is the Public Relations Society of America. This organization is important for building and growing your career. But you can’t just pay your dues. You need to join in and learn. Meet people and become part of leadership. It’s how you’ll grow and also how others will learn. PRSA also has a mentoring program for members who want to meet with a senior professional to learn more and get advice.
There’s so much I could write. I care so much about this I write about it often. Read my other posts: