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The Rotary Club of White Plains is Club 5043, District 7230, Zone 32, Region USCB, Federal tax ID 13-6111471.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 1712, White Plains NY 10602.

Our "Foundation of the Rotary Club of White Plains" is tax exempt, New York State #219346, tax ID 13-6165380.

Website created August 2001.

The Rotary Club of White Plains was chartered October 1, 1919, charter number 540.
 

Harriet Lerner Writes Column

Harriet has begun writing a series of columns on public relations for a Yonkers newspaper, the Westchester Times Tribune. Here is the first one:

Flesh and Blood

By Harriett Ketive Lerner
Published: January 3, 2008 in the Westchester Times Tribune

Social Networking:

With all the fuss about social networking, which involves the Internet, people might forget to focus on good old fashioned “live” networking, which remains the key technique to make new contacts for your business. It doesn’t work well if you don’t do it properly - – nor isn’t it as easy as “abc” The following are some suggestions that have worked for us and others on how to help you succeed in making a real, live contact. You don’t want an empty, insincere dialogue or hands waving in the air to exchange cards.

Networking Varies - according to where it is held:

Your trade associations; networking within your profession.

Are you with peers, that is, would we be at a public relations association? Would a tech specialist be at a technology meeting, or a lawyer at the Bar Association– etc.? Many professionals overlook this kind of networking, because the targets are less obvious. However, for this reason, you might already know these professionals and so you should be touching base and trying to find out what’s happening. If your manner is relaxed and friendly, they might be more likely to tell you. If you are obviously digging for business, they will be less likely to share. It’s probably best to start out with something innocuous like “have you seen my web site,” or “we updated our website” and then tell how. You are discussing the tools of the trade, and not the trade itself, so the conversation can be relaxed. Sometimes a person really opens up about a big project they just got, and this might be your moment to volunteer assistance and work together. If your offer has no takers, just move on and change the subject. You might want to offer your card “for future needs” You can also network for vendors from other professionals in your field. Most people don’t mind sharing good providers, what better source than a colleague for a really good web designer, photographer, and search engine optimizer, etc.?

Networking Events for all different businesses and professions:

Under 50 people. This size is in my opinion the most conducive to meet business prospects. Because the room is not overcrowded, people don’t get frantic about meeting everyone in it (that’s the best way to actually meet no one!) You can take your time and see who looks friendly and walk right over. Use glasses at all events if you need them. You won’t be able to read their names otherwise and it’s better to retain a name than to be gorgeous looking. (Maybe.)

Keep a smile plastered on your face. Keep cards hidden from sight but readily available to you when it’s time to hand one out. Try not to act over anxious when you think you have met “the perfect prospect.”

Initiate the conversation by getting as much information about the person as you can. Ask for their cards and if the conversation has gone to a point where they have not asked a single thing about you it is time to say “nice meeting you” and move on. If you have the stomach for the sardonic you can say “don’t you want to know what I do?” It’s not worth the time. It is worthwhile to hand out your card anyway – perhaps the person was in a coma.

Don’t run around trying to give your card to as many people as possible. You will be observed doing so and deemed desperate. Desperation does not sell well. Cards in themselves only carry value if you have made the “connection” with the person and want to take it one step further. Write on the back of the card why you would want to contact them. Believe me, you will not remember.

Large venue; over 75 people. A great big room is less effective for networking.

Everyone will be networking like mad. This hardly ever works because people are concerned they are missing out on meeting someone “perfect for them”. Also you will probably meet a number of people you know already who will remark “let’s not waste time talking to one another.” This will stand in history as one of the least enlightened comments I have ever heard. Not only is it insulting, but it overlooks the opportunity to quickly network with a friend who might tell you about a project, or better yet, include you in it. The only good part of these “free for alls” is the sit down. If you are lucky enough to sit at a table with a potential client you will have it made, unless he/she turns his back on you to network with the person on the other side!

In all networking encounters, remember to talk about your website and ask about theirs. No matter what business or profession, this is the greatest commonality today. You certainly aren’t going to chat about your brochure or your card!!!!

Harriet Ketive Lerner, president of Harriet Lerner Enterprises, LLC, public relations and branding, has been writing for almost thirty years and creating visibility campaigns for clients for almost ten years.  http://www.goVisiblePR.com

 


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