By Mark Macias
Public Relations is a skill that not only applies to the media. It applies to social situations and networking events where your image is everything.
Before the pandemic, I attended a networking event where several entrepreneurs and business owners mingled for new business. It was a much different atmosphere than previous journalism conferences I had attended.
At this networking event, no one waited for the right moment to make an introduction. Everyone seemed to seize even the smallest of openings to introduce their services.
This event helped me realize PR skills apply to so many different areas of business.
Life Skills from PR
When you’re networking or merely mingling at a social event, be conscious of your words and how you use them. Drive the conversation with open-ended questions that lead to your point. Guide conversations, as opposed to talking to others.
The best publicists listen and respond to questions based on answers. They ask questions that push the conversation forward.
The worst publicists talk to you and ask few questions. The conversation is usually centered around themselves and rarely ignites engagement.
Here are some PR skill tips to help with your next social gathering or networking event.
Make Eye Contact
This sounds like common sense, but many people fail to make eye contact. I observed this at the networking event I attended.
It was like many people were afraid of emotionally connecting, or they were hiding something. If you have difficulty with eye contact, practice in the mirror.
Dress the Part for the Event.
Be aware of the clothes you choose. Yes, it’s superficial but 80 percent of our communication is projected from how we look. And our clothes plays a critical role in that.
I met some business professionals at this networking event who looked like they were models for a 1970s Kmart catalogue. They looked out of place. I don’t want them advising me on creativity.
It’s not about me. It’s about you.
I always tell my PR team that we need to think of what reporters want. It’s not about us.
It’s no different at networking or social events. If you’re talking to a real estate designer, you need to learn more about what his/her needs. You get there by asking questions about them.
And don’t forget to listen before you interact. The best publicists are authentic. You can feel their genuine spirit when you first meet. They also engage in areas of interest beyond ourselves. That’s because they understand that life and social events are really about us – and not just you.
Want to read more tips on networking? Click here to read another BK Chatter article on how to talk to strangers.
About the Author
Mark Macias is the founder of the NYC based PR firm, MACIAS PR. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.