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Tips to Strengthen Professional Relationships

tips on building professional relationships

Do you want to be top-of-mind not only with people that you want to do business with, but also with those who can help build your influence? The secret is to get personal. Here are four tips to help build your professional relationships and get larger returns as a result.

1. Reach out IRL. In this world of e-mails, texts, and tweets, the value of a phone call is often underestimated. Take time every so often to pick up the phone to touch base with a prospective client or colleague. You can also stop by a client’s office to say hello or drop off a small token of appreciation you’ve picked up during a recent trip. Gestures like these let people know you’re thinking about them, and that they are important to you.

2. Perfect your timing. Reaching out is key, but don’t forget to factor in when it’s appropriate to do so. Don’t just get in touch with journalists when you want them to write about you or cover your project. Instead, suggest meeting for a coffee—your treat—to talk about the stories they are working on now and down the road. Make a friendly introduction to a third party that shares common interests with your writer friend. Send a thank you note and connect on social media by sending a LinkedIn invitation within a day or two after your meeting.

3. Socialize on social media. Social media is an essential tool for successful marketing. You can share your work and ideas in real time, while simultaneously making connections with other design pros. Maintain active Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and open up communication channels with writers, peers, and potential clients. Connect with, or ask for an introduction to, those folks you want to know. Familiarize yourself with journalists’ Twitter handles and say hi once in awhile. (Of course, don’t forget to mention your latest project!)

4. Really get to know people. If you take the time to find out what’s important to the individuals you want to connect with, your chances of establishing professional relationships with them will increase. Make a list of personal as well as professional details about each person, ranging from their alma mater to their extra-curricular accomplishments to what non-work-related subjects in which he or she is interested. If you demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about a person’s life outside of work, it shows you’re interested in building a mutually beneficial relationship.

Little Things Mean A Lot: How to Strengthen Your Professional Relationships

shaking hands

Whether you follow-up after a meeting with a brief, friendly email, send a client a card for their birthday, or simply pick up the phone to check-in and say hi, every “little thing” that you do to reach out to clients, colleagues, and journalists can help strengthen your professional relationships. These seemingly small actions place you top-of-mind not only with people that you want to do business with, but also with those who can help build your influence. Here are some “little” tips to help build your relationships and get larger returns as a result.

Use a personal touch. In today’s world of e-mails, texts and tweets, don’t underestimate the value of a personal phone call. Take time every so often to pick up the phone to say hi to a prospective client or to catch an editor up on your latest project. You can also stop by a client’s office to say hello or drop off a small token of appreciation you’ve picked up during a recent trip. The idea is that you let people you know know that you’re thinking about them and that they are important to you.

Perfect your timing. Reaching out is important, but don’t forget to factor in when you should be reaching out. Don’t just get in touch with writers and editors when when you want them to write about you or cover your project. Instead, suggest meeting for a coffee to talk about the stories they are covering, your treat. Make a friendly introduction to a third party that shares common interests with your writer friend. Send a thank you note and connect on social media by sending a LinkedIn invitation within 24-48 hours after your meeting. On the other hand, if you know the person is swamped, don’t pester them to meet or call them, they probably don’t have time to talk to you. People appreciate it when you have a sense of their schedule and you work around it.

Socialize on social media. Social media is an essential tool for successful marketing. You can share your work and ideas in real time, while simultaneously making connections with other design pros. Maintain an active Twitter and LinkedIn account and open up communication channels with writers, peers, and potential clients. Connect with, or ask for an introduction to, those folks you want to know. Familiarize yourself with journalist’s Twitter handles and say hi once in awhile. Of course, don’t forget to mention your latest project, too!

Really get to know them. If you take the time to find out what’s important to the people you want to connect with, your chances of establishing professional relationships with them will increase. That means understanding who the journalist is and not just what publications they write for. Make a list of personal as well as professional data about each person, ranging from their alma mater to their extra-curricular accomplishments to what non-work-related subjects in which he or she is interested. If you demonstrate that you know details about the person’s life outside work, it shows you’re interested in building a mutually beneficial relationship.

Strong professional relationships don’t happen overnight. It’s worth investing the time to develop real, lasting relationships with editors, writers, potential clients and peers because it builds a foundation that’s beneficial for your business in the long term.

 

 

Spring into Networking: Make the Most Out of Professional Events


business-networking

You’ve taken on the challenge of planning your own event, now it’s time to look at effective ways to get the most out of the events that you attend. The weather is getting warmer, so there’s no excuse for you to be sitting at your desk all day. It’s time to be out and about! Events can be fun, and they can also help you connect with potential clients and build the visibility of your firm.

Here are our best tips for making the most out of networking:

Be prepared. Know the event and who is attending. Make a plan to connect with at least five people that you don’t already know that you’d like to potentially work with down the line.

Do your research. Given the short amount of time you have to meet with each person, it’s crucial to leave a lasting impression. If you aren’t great at thinking on your feet, write out your elevator speech that describes what you do in a way that’s informative and engaging – so it invites further conversation.

Show up early. By arriving early, you will be able to approach people and strike up conversations more easily. It’s more difficult to jump into conversations once the room has begun to get crowded and people form groups. It’s a lot easier to talk to the person standing alone next to the veggies and dip – he would probably welcome the company.

Circulate at the event. Make sure to circulate around the room, and meet and talk to as many people as you can. There is no substitute for strong professional relationships with new people that can bring lasting value. People like to talk about themselves (it’s true!) so be sure to ask a lot of questions. 

Follow up. After the event, follow up the next day with a quick email to say hello and reiterate your contact info. Follow up in a reasonable timeframe of two days or less so they remember you. Always connect with them on LinkedIn and add new acquaintances to your contact list.

Don’t forget social media. Find the right moments to Tweet and Instagram during the event, or post the event to LinkedIn. This can bring you more followers and help you get the most out of your investment!

Once you start to network in a smarter, more productive way, you’ll see your firm and your professional network grow. Remember that the successful outcome of any professional event comes from learning new information and, most important, enjoying it as well!

 

 

 

Spring Networking: Top 5 New York Design/Construction Events

VAI-Spring_Party-Email-Header_Footer-01 copy

At long last, spring has arrived, with plenty of bright sunshine and colorful flowers. Now is the time to kick your professional social life into gear. Awaken from your winter slumber and join your industry peers for networking events to build your business while having fun. It’s the season to make new relationships and rekindle old ones!

In our upcoming posts this month, we’ll give you tips for networking at events and for planning your own. But first, to get you started on the right foot, here are the top five professional events catering to the A/E/C industry in New York this spring.

1. Van Alen Institute: The Imprint of the City (May 9 at 7:30PM)

ISSUE Project Room (22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY) 

To launch Van Alen Institute’s Spring 2014 Events, the Institute and ISSUE Project Room present a fast-paced medley of music, poetry, personal reflections, conversations, and performances by designers, artists, musicians, writers, social scientists, and others exploring the meaning of well-being, and the effects of the city on our minds and bodies.

2. DoCoMoMo New York – TriState: A Modern Affair (May 13 at 6PM)

Alvar Aalto Rooms at the Edgar J. Kauffman Conference Center (809 United Nations Plaza)

Join DoCoMoMo New York/Tri-State for A Modern Affair in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Edgar J. Kauffman Conference Center, designed by renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.

3. On MAKINGOODESIGN: Good-Maker Party (May 15 at 5:30PM)

New York Design Center (200 Lexington Ave)

The first annual MAKINGOODESIGN: Good-Maker Party is co-hosted by Design With Benefits, desigNYC, AIANY ENYA, and Keilhauer at the New York Design Center. Come meet and learn about  Good-Maker Thumbs-Up honorees, an innovative group of organizations using design to create change in New York City, and enjoy delicious cocktails, beer, and nibbles.

4. Designer City: How Innovative Solutions Transform Urban Life (May 16 at 7PM)

Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle)

This panel discussion explores how the design industry has improved life for New Yorkers as well as people around the world. Moderated by The New York Times Home section Deputy Editor Julie Lasky, the panel will feature David Burney, associate professor of Architecture, Pratt Institute, and former commissioner of New York City’s Department of Design and Construction; Christine Gaspar, executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy; Jason Schupbach, director of design, the National Endowment for the Arts; and Wendy E. Brawer, founder and director, the Green Map System.

This panel is part of NYC x Design, New York’s official city-wide celebration of design. Take a look at their website for a complete list of events taking place from May 9 to 20, 2014.

5. Van Alen Institute Spring Party (May 21, 2014 at 8PM)

The High Line Hotel (180 Tenth Avenue)

The Van Alen Institute concludes its 2014 event season with a Spring Party in celebration of its 120-year legacy and the years to come. Enjoy festive cocktails, light food, and great music by White Prism and Maria Chavez.

Posted by Beth Connolly

 

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