Speaker Recap - Jennifer Robinson
One of the things that makes PRSSA so unique is the myriad of guest speakers that come in and provide guidance and advice to its members. The October 9 meeting was a phenomenal example of just what great information guest speakers provide when Jennifer Robinson, CEO of Purposeful Networking and FemCity Philadelphia President, came to speak to us.
Robinson began the lecture with having all of us perform an icebreaker. She asked us to turn to the person next to us and ask about one new thing you did this year. After we all broke up into pairs, she asked for a few volunteers to share their answers with the rest of the audience.
From the icebreaker, Robinson segued right into her topic: networking. Her first, and arguably most important, point was to make it personal. It was very stressed how important it was to have open-ended questions like “what’s a new thing you did this year?” or “what was the last show you binge-watched?” to begin a conversation. These kinds of inquiries open people up and often have them remember you.
Robinson carried on with some really great tips for how to navigate a networking event. A very prevalent suggestion was not to monopolize people’s time. Everyone is there for the same purpose, and it is not very fair to completely take a person’s attention away from the rest of the guests.
Another one of Robinson’s great tips for networking events was that we should always introduce ourselves if we enter a group of three or more people. It is best not to interrupt a two-person conversation while at these events. Robinson shared that the best way to enter a group without feeling awkward is to just be confident -- introduce yourself and say that you want to join in on the conversation. On the other side, the best way to exit a group gracefully is to give a natural conversation closer; “It has been great talking to you” or “I’ll be sure to follow up” are both great examples on how to leave a conversation without making it awkward.
After those helpful tips, we learned about following up after networking. As mentioned before, Robinson stressed that you should try and make the follow up as personal as possible. Mention something that you talked about at the event, and they will be more likely to remember you. Always follow up as soon as possible unless there are circumstances that don’t allow you to. Following up sooner is better than later because you are more likely to remember conversations the sooner you do it.
As someone who has never been to a networking event before, all of Robinson’s advice was extremely helpful. I never considered a lot of what she had to say, especially how to enter and leave a conversation gracefully. Robinson was a phenomenal guest speaker and gave us all some fantastic advice on how to navigate a networking event with poise and dignity.
This blog post was written by Alison Hopkins, General Body Member