Public relations 2011: PR primer for (social) networking

Public relations 2011: issues, insights and ideas, edited by Craig Pearce (free e-report)

Earlier this year on PR Conversations, The wind is in Craig Pearce’s sails, detailed availability of this Australian’s free e-report initiative, Public relations 2011: issues, insights and ideas, which features a roster of international authors and original articles.

The sole Canadian representative, one of my two contributions is now online; following is an excerpt.

PR primer for (social) networking

When attending networking events as an organization’s PR representative, many of the same norms of behaviour apply as in the strategic steering of a viable and healthy social media presence. A goal should be to leave each event and encounter confident that an accurate and authentic profile was presented, organizationally and personally, with the intention of growing several relationships in the future.

More specifically, when wearing my PR lens as an organization’s rep, the objectives I look to achieve at networking events can be segmented as follows:

  • those relevant to organization-centred outcomes
  • contributions or value-add provided to connections
  • donning and projecting a positive attitude.

Building positive organization-stakeholder relationships

As an organization’s representative, particularly when in PR, the expectation is the face presented is a positive one. The simplest way to do this includes:

1. Going into an event with the knowledge, confidence and empowerment to speak about (or demonstrate) the organization’s core DNA (which should be consistently described in existing communication vehicles, channels and relationships).

2. Sharing anecdotes about the company and its relevant stakeholders, whenever and wherever it appears the organizational narrative is appropriate and the audience judged receptive.

3. Promising to look into a concern someone has about the organization, indicating a representative will get in touch, within a reasonable time frame and through an appropriate channel (mental note to investigate whether this is a one-off complaint or a systemic problem).

4. Offering to supply information and contacts regarding the company, sector, community and so on.

Social networking and adding value

An effective social networker – this mainly relates to real-life encounters, not Twitter or Facebook – works to enrich the perspective and enjoyment of others. Doing this effectively enhances your personal reputation, in addition to that of your organization. The opportunity to do both increases by:

1. Meeting and connecting with as many people as possible.

2. Really relating to individuals, whether limited to a few minutes or with the possibility of deeper engagement later.

3. Listening (and taking mental notes) more than talking.

4. Consciously trying to treat each person met with the same attention, interest and enthusiasm.

5. Participating in interesting, lively and always respectful conversations and debates about ideas and events, whether related to the organization(s) or not.

6. Introducing people previously known (or just met) to others, particularly if their areas of work or interests intersect – pointing out those convergences.

The right PR attitude

Being empathetic to people and welcoming a diversity of perspectives may help persuade people to value your organization and you. At times, that may mean taking an arm’s-length approach to your company, looking at it from a different standpoint….

For the remainder of this article or to download the full e-report, please visit Craig Pearce’s blog.

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