How to Forge Stronger Connections and Still Have Time for a Bath

“Don’t talk to strangers!”

That was the advice many of us received as children. No one told us when to start talking to strangers again (at 19? 22? 43?) We had to figure that one out on our own. As professionals and communicators we need to not only talk to strangers to build our network but we need to talk to the right strangers to build a robust, meaningful network.

“You only need a small network – 25 to 50 people can get you what you need,” advised Judy Robinett, author of the best-selling book “How to be a Power Connector: the 5+50+150 Rule.” Judy keynoted PR News’s Top Women in PR awards luncheon in NYC on Tuesday and she shared her top networking tips with the hundreds of powerful women and their teams who gathered for this annual event. She says there are essentially three levels of networking that really matter: a friend of a friend of a friend. That means that the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (4 removed) won’t do much for you.  Further, if you want to build a meaningful professional or personal network, you need a warm introduction by someone. That fourth or fifth removed “friend” won’t get you places.

The PR News awards luncheon was packed with other great advice, including how important it is to share what you know and give other people credit where credit is due.  I credit the 75 Top Women in PR for sharing on stage the following nuggets on success, work/life balance, hiring talent and staying at the top of your game. Please share in the Comments section your favorite piece of advice  (we’re in this together!):

  • Kick fear to the curb
  • You can disagree without being disagreeable
  • Communicating is about listening more than talking
  • Don’t ask, don’t get
  • Just be nice
  • Sometimes great ideas come when you’re not thinking about work
  • Hire people who look and think differently than you do
  • Work with people who have intellectual curiosity and a sense of humor
  • Learn how to say NO – you will miraculously clear your calendar for more important things
  • Your network is your critical asset; your network equals your net worth
  • Rethink your assumptions
  • When hiring for your next star, look for people who understand that PR has a PR problem and who wants to help change that perception
  • Work hard, work fun and take more baths.

That’s right: take more baths. Some of the best advice is the simplest.

- Diane Schwartz