Posts tagged ‘networking’

May 30, 2012

It’s Not What You Know or Who You Know…

I’m sure if you are in the job market or looking to grow your business you’ve heard one cliche phrase from everyone over and over. You know what i’m talking about. It’s the one you hear so much that you start to wonder if there is any truth to it or if it’s something that just got twisted up in the grapevine as though it’s a game of telephone. Yet, you repeat the cliche without giving it a second thought.

“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” 

As popular as it is, it seems as though the phrase just popped up out of nowhere coincidently around the same time everyone became networking fanatics. Well, even though your grandmother, professor, and neighbor across the street told you these fine words of wisdom, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. But it’s not exactly a lie either.

It just doesn’t tell the whole truth. 

You see, the phrase “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know,” focuses on networking to get to know new people. Of course, it’s important to branch out and meet people. But this saying seems to ignore the people you already know. Other than the professional association and your bosses lunch buddies, you’ve got a whole different networking group you need to tap into every once in a while. It’s called your friends, family, and acquaintances. I know you are probably giving me the side eye right now and wondering what your grandmother and her knitting buddies can do for you, but hear me out….

Your grandmother’s knitting buddy just might be the CEO of that Fortune 500 company you’ve been trying to connect with. Or your godmother just might be in the market for a new brochure.  Your best friend’s boyfriend, who you happen to eat lunch with occasionally could be looking to revamp his resume. Your crazy Uncle Reggie could be best friends with Angeline Jolie’s stylist and looking for a new designer – All of these are something you can do. But because you were too busy following that old mantra and networking with a different group, those in your own network ended up hiring someone else to do the work you could. They didn’t know what you know or what you are capable of.

Unfortunately, it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way more than once. That’s why I chose to ignore the old business mantra and adhere to this new one:

“It’s not who you know. It’s what who you know knows you know.”

A little tongue-tying, but important nonetheless. Unless your network knows what you know, you won’t be able to reap any benefits. You may only see your child’s preschool teacher as a kind spirit with a knack for children, but underneath it all she may be a first-rate accountant who could use your help. At the very least, she could pass your name along to the right people. But she never would’ve been able do that if you didn’t let her know what you do.

It’s very possible that you do know some very important people. They can’t help you if they don’t know what you know. So rather than dismissing them as “only your dad’s golf buddies” acknowledge the connection, build a relationship, and make sure he is aware of your expertise. Otherwise, you will just be letting a good connection die by assuming the people you know can’t do anything for you.

Have close friends or relatives ever given you lead or helped you out after making your expertise known?

TERRIfic Quip: Repeat this everyday. “Today is the day I do the impossible.” Say it enough and you will definitely believe and make it happen.

February 1, 2012

Why I Love HARO

As a journalist, there are a few tools I depend on to survive in this crazy world of media. One is the Associated Press Stylebook. The other is my subscription to Media Bistro. I also can’t go on without my MacBook Pro. And I can’t forget about Google Alerts.  Then there’s my digital recorder…  Ok, so there are a lot of things I can’t survive without in the journalism world (learn about them here), but I’m here to tell you about one of my favorite survival tools, Help A Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO is an email list in which media professionals can submit queries regarding sources they are in need off and have it sent to thousands of subscribers who can then contact them directly. It has come in handy in several occasions when I needed to find sources in short time periods. I highly suggest any business professional looking for exposure to sign up. However, that’s not the only reason I love HARO. Unbeknownst to many, HARO is great for many other reasons and uses.

One thing I like to do is  look at each media outlet and see if there is a publication I never heard of that I would like to target for freelance opportunities. I then begin researching that company and see what kind of topics they look for. This method isn’t just for freelance writers, though. Any business professional can go through HARO queries and find businesses they may like to work with in some way. Think of it like an innovative “phone book.” (Whatever, you do refrain from using the email listed in the query for other business opportunities. That’s a big no-no.)

I’m a big fan of random fun facts. Every once in a while, queries list an interesting statistic that you otherwise never would have given a second thought about. And those interesting statistics, I found thanks to HARO then become great conversation starters. – Not to mention they end up serving as inspiration for future pitches I may want to craft.

But  when I’m sick of writing pitches or queries, and choose to be on the other side of the computer I turn to HARO to become the source of a journalist’s dreams. I’ve been quoted in many articles and I’ve gotten lot’s of opportunities from using HARO to be the source. Hey, writers like some exposure too…

And I thoroughly like the exposure to like-minded professionals. Freelancing can get kind of lonely sometimes, so I find it find to interview or be interviewed and continue to stay in touch with the person. For some reason, I tend to feel a sense of camaraderie with my sources and interviewers. Sometimes, building a relationship with them has led to some great business opportunities. Just goes to show you that networking can happen anywhere.

On those days, I like to be anywhere but here, I turn to HARO and hope to find some tidbit about a different location. HARO founder, Peter Shankman, is an avid traveler and tends to include very short blurbs about his destinations at the top of some of the emails. Just the other day, he mentioned something interesting about Europe and Los Angeles. On the days, that he doesn’t mention anything about his travels, I simply use the top portion of those emails as a shopping guide. Every email has a short paragraph about advertising a service or product you should think about purchasing.

And of course, when you read as much as I do, sometimes you run out of things in your stash. Reading HARO queries allows me to pick out stories I may find interesting and make a mental note to look it up once it’s published. After all, I can’t write them all so I might as well read it all when I get the chance!