St. Petersburg College Business Professor Dr. Rina Coronel joined other education professionals recently on a panel of experts speaking at a workshop on the importance of professional networking.
The panel focused on power networking and developing quality connections that will help students personally and professionally.
Cornel teaches her SPC College of Business students the same concepts about the importance of professional networking.
The basics of networking
Coronel explained that networking is a requirement everyone must master.
“Networking not only helps us in our personal lives, but also in our relationship with others, and in our careers,” she said.
She uses the acronym PIE to reminder three key aspects of networking:
- P: Performance – You must demonstrate your ability to perform the job; exceed requirements. Show others how you are the best and only choice.
- I: Image – Portray the image that you look the part of the desired position; others can visualize it too. Consider all social media sites and how you appear to others.
- E: Exposure – Not only do you need to know the people that can and will help you, but they also need to know you.
Professional networking using LinkedIn and other social media sites
Social media sites such as LinkedIn, are a great tool for others to learn more about your professional accomplishments, but think about the quality of your contacts. Review the appearance of your profile; use a picture that is inviting. Keep in mind that it is not about the amount of contact, but the quality of your contacts. You want to turn your contacts into lasting relationships. If they have a birthday coming up – wish them a happy birthday. The same applies with work anniversaries. This reminds them of you, and that you are thinking about them. If they have helped you, find ways that you can help. You may recommend someone that they may need – this will help two people and multiply your efforts.
When using Facebook – set up a privacy setting. Stay in touch with friends and family. Do not post boring updates – Twitter is good, but you must have time to update it, and keep it interesting; you do not want one follower.
Professional networking events
In the panel Dr. Coronel spoke on the dos and don’ts of professional networking, and if it is appropriate to bring a resume to a networking event.
According to Dr. Coronel people in high power positions can quickly spot if you are speaking to them, because they have something you want. You do not want to make them feel used. She offered these tips:
- Take time to listen, and learn from what they have to offer, and any experience they want to share.
- Listen attentively, and smile. Create a positive and inviting environment.
- You may not have much time so please do have your elevator speech memorized, and make it memorable.
- Do have business cards with you, but write something on the card that they can read later and remember you.
- Offer to help others; do not expect anything in exchange.
- Form long lasting relationships, and prepare questions.
- Yes, bring your resume, but do not hand it out unless they ask.
- Follow-up with those people that show interest. Find a standardized format that will help you organize your contacts.
- Nurture the relationship by keeping in touch you can send an email; maybe invite him/her for a light lunch or coffee. You want the relationship to continue, and not only when you need something.
Do not expect immediate rewards. Do not be shy and remember PIE-networking is about building relationships, an important component to further your goals. If you need to bring a friend for support that’s fine, but do not spend so much time with your friend that you isolate yourself from others. Avoid too much self-promotion as this type of tactic can annoy most people. Also, do not drink too much or appear intoxicated; this does not help your image. Do not walk into closed groups (two people facing each other involved in a deep conversation) – watch the body language.
Dr. Rina Coronel teaches a variety of business classes at St. Petersburg College, focused primarily on Project Management. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts; Her MBA in Management from Fitchburg State College, in Massachusetts and her PhD in Organizational Management in Information Technology. Coronel also mentors students and attends local Project Management Institute (PMI) events to keep a pulse on the industry for current trends.