The Importance of Networking

By: Kevin Byrnes

In one of my last blog posts, I shared with you some suggested pointers on the importance of networking, based on my own experience, while trying to navigate the choppy waters of a job search. Since I have landed (Communications Director, City of Birmingham-MI), I thought for this blog I would share with you some networking opportunities I am involved in and why it is important to continue to practice networking—even though your back at work.

Let go of resting on laurels

I admit my tendency to rest on my laurels. There are moments where I pat myself on the back and then go into rest mode. Not my best self.  But that’s another conversation. Point in hand, all the networking, handshakes, business card passing, outreach phone calls should continue when your back to work. It’s not realistic to think you can maintain the networking pace of job seekers. However, it’s important to make time to network in some capacity while you work.

Networking= Building relationships, being open to learning about our craft

Like my job search, my employed networking efforts are good template to consider for yourself. The first five months of my new job has been busy. Writing news releases, shooting/posting videos on social media, enacting strategy decisions and learning the dynamics of the City are among the immediate highlights. Wonderful work!

Yet, knowing my tendencies, I have been working on making time to network, be it in a group, digitally or in person. One of my primary vehicles to network is writing for our chapters’ Blog Committee. Does it take time? Sure.  However, the benefits far outweigh any perceived negatives.

By being on the Blog Committee, I stay connected with fellow PR professionals, stay open to learning new techniques while updating others on what I am doing in my job. At its core networking is the willingness to be relational, sharing about oneself while also taking an interest in the work of others.

I am part of Facebook PR and media group. The group is made up of PR practitioners and media members, mostly based here in the Detroit area. One of the neat features of the group is Brag Friday. People in the group post details of their recent accomplishments. I have posted a couple of times. By doing so, we learn about the skills of the group members and share ideas and information on ways to practice our craft on behalf of clients, bosses and so on. Digital networking matters in the digital age!

In addition, I am working on meeting government communicators like myself here in the region. I recently called a municipal communicator about something and, in the course of our conversation, learned about a national government communicators group. I plan on following up with her and others who are in the group. The benefit? Not only have I made a new connection, I have a chance to see how others tackle issues common in municipalities. All good!

I could go on (such as networking within your own company/organization). Point is, once you have landed the job, networking needs to continue. It’s easy in an increasingly siloed work culture, to forget about connecting. Fight the tendency. Consider involvement in Detroit PRSA. Or find a group that fits within your parameters. You won’t regret it!

Kevin Byrnes is the new Communications Director for the City of Birmingham (MI). He previously was a Communications Consultant at ByrnesPR & Media Services as well as the Senior Communications Manager for Wayne County (MI).  He is a member of the Detroit PRSA chapter (national as well) and serves on the blog committee. He is also a member of the Individual Communicators Network (ICN Detroit Chapter) and Detroit Press Club. 

Picture provided by pixabay