The Leader Magazine

SEP-OCT 2015

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Q What are some the biggest misconceptions people have about networking? The biggest misconception is that networking needs to be a high-pressure activity. People think, I have to go out to network and therefore I have to act differently. The term 'networking' sometimes causes people to have expectations that prevent them from being themselves. Even senior professionals sometimes have the false impression that if they walk into a crowded room, they have to walk out with a client. Often, it doesn't happen that way. The most successful networkers are patient. Networking is about building relationships, being yourself and getting to know people on a personal level. It's not aggressively selling or solicitation in a public way. The more you think about networking as getting to know others, extending yourself personally to help with whatever a person needs and connecting people, the more successful you'll be. [The Irish poet and novelist] James Stephens said, 'Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.' The key is letting your true self come out even when there may be anxiety in the situation. Q Many people struggle with striking up a conversation with strangers, especially in an unfamiliar business environment. What are some icebreakers that are more inspired than the pat, 'So, what do you do'? If it feels like you're trying too hard, try to start out with something like where are you from? How do you know the group? Or, if it's a private gathering, how do you know the host? The so-called 'elevator pitch' gives people anxiety. People like to share their backgrounds. When I meet anyone, I'm curious about their path. I think about how I can learn about a person and continue the dialogue in a helpful manner. The rest of the conversation tends to flow from there. [Hollywood producer] Brian Grazer, whom we will hear from at the [CoreNet Global] Summit in LA makes the point in his book, A Curious Mind, that 'one trait, curiosity, reinforced by a readiness to pay attention and then to act,' has allowed him to forge such a remarkable career. Another key point is that professionals must being willing to act on what they learn. Q You've said networking is about building relationships. Can you share tips on how to maintain connections and cultivate relationships long after a networking event is over? LinkedIn is a tool people use as a somewhat quick, easy way to stay connected beyond their initial contact. I've found that it's better if I can be a resource—if I can say, It was great meeting you. Here's the name of that restaurant I know for your next trip—rather than following up with, I'd like to do business with you. Find something you've spoken about that will allow you to follow up. I've found that if you follow up in response to a need, people view you as valuable. Q Speaking of LinkedIn and social media in general, which has redefined the way people connect, what are some ways people can add the social component to social networking? What happens online is the same thing that should happen offline. Interact. Respond. Repost. I always say give of yourself; you never know what will come of it. Public Relations Pro Sarah Berman on the ART OF NETWORKING T hink smart. Talk smart. That's the slogan for The Berman Group, a New York City-based public relations (PR) and marketing firm known for its leadership serving real estate clients of all types. Sarah Berman, the firm's founder and principal, built her client base, which includes the New York City Mayor's office, the Urban Land Institute and dozens of labor organizations, non-profits and professional associations (the CoreNet Global New York City Chapter is a client), by word-of-mouth. Berman's curiosity and interest in people and industry have made many of the acquaintances she has encountered over the years clients, and even close friends. The New York Observer named The Berman Group #9 on its "Power 50" list of top New York City PR firms. Here, the PR powerhouse shares her networking secrets and offers insights from her personal experience on how to cultivate and maintain lasting connections. NORTH AMERICA Sarah Berman and Jessica B e e r s , MCR , E x e c ut ive D i r e c t o r f o r J L L , w i l l facilitate an inte rac tive b r e a k o u t s e s s i o n o n networking at the CoreNet G l o b a l No r t h A m e r i c a Summit in October. Stay tuned to the LEADER and for more information. 16 the LEADER | September/October 2015 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BY NICHOLE BAZEMORE

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