By Lisa Joahil
If you feel like networking is a task and making the first move is the hardest part, you are not alone. Many students graduate from college and attend networking events for the very first time as working professionals. Many working professionals also feel like it is their first day at college when they start networking at their new job. So, how do we break the ice? How do we overcome that awkward feeling of rejection and lack of confidence?
As I walked through my very first networking event in Washington D.C., at PRSA-NCC’s New Professionals Happy Hour at La Tasca, I quickly learned the solution. I was greeted by members of the New Professionals committee, Jenna Mosley and Josh Gordon, who immediately made me feel welcomed and provided meaningful tips for transitioning into American culture. I recently moved to the area and right at that moment, it dawned on me. The solution was to smile. The welcoming smiles of everyone from various industries within public relations (PR) made it easier to smile back and feel relaxed. At that moment, I was convinced that this was the first step to breaking the ice at any networking event.
The New Professionals Happy Hour boasted an attendance of over 50 PR professionals representing their various organizations in an environment that provided an opportunity to form meaningful connections. Many organizations and institutions were represented including American University, Elon University, Full On Communications, Hager Sharp and Sound Exchange. Everyone was very eager to share business cards and offer professional advice and in no time, the smiles turned into laughter. Networking became easier and the connections I made that night would form lasting impressions as I transitioned from another country.
I really enjoyed learning from others that evening and would recommend that if you are a new PR professional in town, mark your calendar when you receive networking emails from PRSA-NCC. The connections you could make will prove to be invaluable. Happy Networking!