FIU PRSSA Networks at East End Brasserie

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MIAMI – The Florida International University (FIU) Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) hosted a mixer at the Atlantic Resort and Spa’s East End Brasserie on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Members, public relations professionals and friends were invited to enjoy a night of networking with fellow PR pros.

The mixer was a fundraising effort by the FIU PRSSA e-board. For $10, attendees were treated to delicious appetizers and a complimentary drink.

Past FIU PRSSA president, Maria Alexandra Sanchez showed her support at the mixer, along with other local public relations professionals and FIU students. Sanchez spoke to the members about the value that FIU PRSSA added to her professional life and development as a public relations practitioner. “Hunger, passion and eagerness to learn. That’s what I see in this new FIU PRSSA generation,” said Sanchez. “I wish them all lots of success in their lives!“

At the mixer, the e-board and current members discussed the plans that were in store for the current spring semester and how members could participate to increase involvement and gain hands-on experience. Plans for the PRSSA National Conference in October were in the works as the e-board discussed what a great experience the past conference had been and how members should take part in it this year.

Christina Morgan, account director at What’s Next Marketing, also dropped by the mixer to speak about all things PR and social media. Morgan offered valuable insight as to what it was like to work for a full-service social media agency and the challenges PR practitioners had to overcome. By interacting with industry professionals, members were able to learn tips from each other and how they can progress in their career paths.

Networking – Embrace Every Opportunity

net·work·ing (noun): : the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. (merriam-webster) 

As students of public relations and communications, we are constantly reminded of the value of networking. From workshops, to mixers,  conferences and meetings, making connections are a part of everyday life. But how exactly do we take advantage of these encounters/connections? Here are a few tips to spark a lasting relationship.

1. Embrace and Seize the Opportunity – Whether it’s the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a fellow PRSSA student or the grill operator at Burger King, each person that you meet offers you an opportunity. Be curious, respectful and sincere with the person you meet, focusing your attention on them rather than yourself. First impressions are key.

2. Non-verbal Communication – Always maintain eye contact, use appropriate hand gestures and aim to establish a high level of rapport.

3. Cultural Awareness – Make sure you adapt to different cultures and their customs. For example in China, it is disrespectful to look straight into a person’s eyes when you are speaking to them. In American cultures, it is disrespectful to look away from a person’s eyes.

4. Farewell/Follow-up – Show appreciation for the encounter. Exchange information, and follow up with them through e-mail.

What other networking tips would you add? Please share with us in our comments section!

Francisco Tobon ftobo001@fiu.edu

@FranciscoTobon