Networking is Easy

Kristen Edgell, a marketing assistant at National Geographic, spoke to an audience of American University students & semi-employed freelancers last week about how to get started in D.C. area media.  

She moved up from North Carolina last summer after college, with a few bucks and the desire to work in TV. 
TIVA's Getting Started in Your Media Career featured panelists Laura
Mateus, campus recruiter at Discovery Communications, Jason Villemez,
production assistant at PBS Newshour, and Kristen Edgell of NatGeo. 
She temped for a couple of months and landed an assignment at NatGeo

Once in the door, she took on additional tasks and made herself invaluable to the team by learning everything she possibly could. It wasn't long before she was asked to stay on full-time. 

My favorite part of Kristen's story, though, was how she went on 40-50 informational interviews by the time she finished school. (And I thought I was a genius for doing three or four.)

There are two big things I've learned so far about networking: you have to show up (duh), and if you like people and are genuinely curious about why they do what they do and how they got there, then all you really have to do is listen
This makes networking not only easy but kinda fun. Then again, I've always liked talking to strangers. 

But there are plenty of people who don't, so I asked Kristen for insight on their behalf. She started with a quote from Networking for People Who Hate Networking
“Introverts, the overwhelmed, and the under-connected fail at traditional networking by following advice that was never intended for them in the first place.”
A few other pointers: 
  • Focus on a few. Are there people you can find out about beforehand? Spend your time doing your homework. You will not only feel more prepared, you will get more out of it.
  • Pace yourself. Extroverts collect, not connect. If you speak with one or two people and feel yourself getting stressed, it's okay to step away and play on your phone for a few minutes as you recharge. It will help your attitude and also allow you time to perhaps jot down the important points of what you just discussed so you can do a thorough follow up later.
  • Follow-up. When you give them your business card, write something memorable about you that you discussed, or would like to discuss. Then be sure to keep those contacts alive and intact. Send them a thank you note, referencing what you wrote on your business card. This will help people remember the quality of your initial conversation—and open the door to continuing the conversation. Gathering info with your keen observation skills and superior listening ability is what adds the quality to your connections.

No comments:

Post a Comment