Nancy Marshall PR Maven

How to Network

Sponsored Content: On the PR Maven Podcast, Nancy Marshall interviews industry leaders, top executives, and influencers about public relations, networking, and personal branding.

Photograph by Tim Greenway

As chief of one of Maine’s oldest and largest public relations agencies, Nancy Marshall knows a thing or two about building buzz. Some of the region’s biggest brands — including Orvis and the Maine Office of Tourism — have tapped Marshall and her team of PR pros to maximize their exposure.

Networking, Marshall says, is a fundamental part of brand building. And it’s not just for business. Whether you’re moving to Maine, job hunting, or merely want to connect with more people who share your interests, networking is critical. “Life feels a lot more connected when you are connected,” she says.

What’s the most effective place to expand your network: online or in person?

You must do both. With Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can reach people you might not otherwise encounter and use email to stay in touch. But if you want to create enduring connections, make time to meet face-to-face, where you can make eye contact and convey tone of voice, which is impossible to do with text or email.

What are the essential skills of networking?

It boils down to basics. Put your phone away. Get other people to talk about themselves, and listen to what they say. Find out what — and whom — you have in common. In Maine, which is often called one big small town, you’re never more than one meeting or connection away from the person you want to talk to or meet.

What’s your secret networking weapon?

Handwritten thank-you notes. Don’t wait for holidays or special occasions. I send notes to thank people for gifts, special efforts at work, and any act of kindness. When you write a note, the recipient remembers you and the time and effort you took to recognize them.

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