Does Networking, Work?

by Nicola Firth

Established public relations practitioner, Rebecca, landed herself a new role working for a fashion magazine. She is eager to meet some valuable contacts at her first catwalk event at the company. Ensuring she wore her best smile, open body language, a personable and confident attitude, she made her way into the crowds at the prestigious event.

Before she knew it, she came face to face with one of her icons, Karl Lagerfeld. A shake of the hands. Smile. Eye contact. Small talk. Then it finally sunk in. She was talking to Karl Lagerfeld. Head and creative director of fashion houses, Fendi and Chanel. Rebecca suddenly felt nervous and began to mumble/talk incredibly fast about her love for him and her love for writing. Lagerfeld smirked slightly, then smiled kindly and said, “It was lovely to meet you, Rebecca.”

Despite her experience in the industry, Rebecca convinced herself she had messed that one up.

Networking can be awkward or exhilarating, depending on the type of person you are. Meeting new people is a way of life. Shaking someone’s hand, engaging in a business-like conversation at a corporate event or grabbing an Americano with a potential placement employer are all effective forms of networking. The question is, what works with networking and what doesn’t? Does networking really work?

“Networking is an effective way of building your professional presence in the PR industry, it’s about who you know too,” said PR manager, Francesca Doyle.

According to Blog Hubspot, “77% say they prefer in-person networking due to the ability to read body language and facial expressions.” This shows that, despite the rise of PR tactics in social media and online mediums, people in business still prefer to communicate in person. Launched in 2006, successful application Eventbrite, allows businesses to post their networking events to the platform with the desired effect of high levels of engagement and interest. Like minded business professionals will meet up and potentially hand out contact cards – only if the conversation goes well, of course.

A good PR practitioner will hold party events to mark the launch of a new product or location. An excellent PR practitioner will attend networking events between the parties to build connections… to invite to the parties!

Some people have different opinions towards networking.

“Networking? That’s just making friends, isn’t it? That’s not real work,” said Bradford University Student Mark. To go against this point, Facebook and LinkedIn, two brand giants that have seen a great deal of success on the idea of making friends. This may not be face to face meetings, but is still the basis of collecting contacts to create a status.

According to Blog Hubspot, “77% say they prefer in-person networking due to the ability to read body language and facial expressions.” This shows that, despite the rise of PR tactics in social media and online mediums, people in business still prefer to communicate in person. Successful application Eventbrite, allows businesses to post their networking events to the platform. Like minded business professionals meet up and hand out contact cards – only if the conversation goes well, of course.

A shake of the hands. Smile. Eye contact. Small talk. Then it finally sunk in. Rebecca had met up with Karl Lagerfeld after he contacted her about doing some PR working for a new Fendi bag release. She couldn’t believe it. It seemed he admired her courage to approach him and pitch what she can do. Even in the cringe-not-confident moments, the professional but pressured moments… Networking at events always has the potential to work in your favour when it comes to a competitive career in Public Relations.

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