PR and networking both share the common goal of relationship building. While my role as a PR professional revolves around facilitating relationships between clients and their stakeholders, networking is about building relationships with my own contacts. The question is can PR and networking survive in isolation or are they intrinsically linked?
By its very nature, networking is about engaging with your target audience, be it industry gurus, mentors, business partners, suppliers, clients or other stakeholders. Networking lends itself to a supportive environment for professionals where they can appreciate and learn from each other’s expertise. Through networking, you find a common ground with other professionals and learn how to communicate more purposefully. As well as developing business contacts, you evolve as a professional because it is dedicated time for you.
PR is akin to networking; but not for yourself, for your clients. PR professionals nurture their clients’ relationships – with media, their clients, neighbours, politicians, and other stakeholders. Through PR, we communicate strategically and creatively on behalf of clients. We position them as experts and build their profiles. We engage with their network and manage their reputations.
For PR professionals, networking allows you to give back to yourself, to develop your relationships, build invaluable contacts, and reflect on and define your own brand. It’s a well-earned opportunity for time-out, without which we wouldn’t be half as focused in our professional lives.