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Networking is scary. Most of the time, when I meet someone new I’m like “Hi, I’m Ashley Randazzo,” but my subconscious kicks in and I’m slowly dying inside saying “Hi, I’m nervous.” Networking isn’t for everyone, but it should be. There’s so many benefits to it, from adding a new client to landing that dream job.
Let me share a personal story:
My boss encouraged me to join the Society For Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) a while ago and I joined with the turn of the new year. I had the opportunity to go to a Social Media panel event a few months back and was excited because I knew I was ahead of the curve in the SM department. Although the panelists did a great job presenting, the information presented was something I already knew and I felt that I should be included on the panel next time around. So what did I do?
Well, I mustered up some courage and decided to approach the president of the NJ Chapter. I was so nervous. Even though I may not act like it, I get a lot of anxiety with meeting people in authority positions. Anyway, I introduced myself, asked about how I might get on a panel, and the conversation tapered off with a firm handshake. Of course I did all the right things, get his business card, send him a follow up email, and even followed him on Twitter and LinkedIn. (Social Media…hello?!)
I never forgot about our meeting, and neither did he. Fast forward to Wednesday of this week. I received an email from Mr. President asking me to manage all of the social media for the NJ Chapter. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, it’s a SM fanatic’s dream! And there’s me, right smack in the middle of it all. Not only will I have a lot of freedom, but I’ll have some real exposure. It’s not a paid gig, but the experience will tremendously beef up my resume. Give a little, get a lot!
Don’t be afraid to mingle.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Find ways to be “remembered.”
More times than not, it’ll work out positively for you.