By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
As the founder and president of Technica Communications, Lisa Ann Pinkerton offers up a different perspective on networking through the workshops she teaches in Silicon Valley after an award winning career that has spanned both the newsroom and boardroom.
However, the former broadcast journalist and Senior Account Executive for the San Francisco PR firm Antenna Group wasn’t always the expert at networking she is today. We start our discussion talking about what happened when she attended some networking events hoping
to spark her fledgling company just after she started it.
“I was terrible at it,” she says, “because I’m inherently shy and didn’t know how to introduce myself, how to talk about myself and I didn’t know what to do after I’d met these people.”
Those early encounters were the impetus for Pinkerton to develop the system she teaches today and her number one tip for anyone looking to further or start a career in the Big4 hinges on persistence.
“You have to follow up. There’s no point in even going to a networking event if you’re not going to do that.” She adds this shortcoming applies to the majority of people attending events and even those that do reconnect only do so with the one person they feel can further their career, ignoring the future possibilities in the others they’ve met.
Creating the necessary value over time where people remember who you are can be accomplished through a steady stream of Linkedin updates and on other platforms like Twitter. Pinkerton feels the best way to create lasting business relationships includes social media and explains this layered approach.
“It’s like farming. You’ve planted a bunch of seeds. Will you water only the ones that you think are going to grow? No. You’ll water everything because you’re not sure what’s going to sprout.”
People also get tripped up on what to write in their follow up emails. This isn’t the right juncture to try and sell yourself, according to Pinkerton, but a place to let the other person know it was great meeting them and to let them know you’d like to stay connected.
“Then you get your email into their system,” she says, “and then you follow up with a LinkedIn request and then follow them on Twitter and other platforms like Facebook. Then you just do your social media outreach and the postings that you would normally do.”
Although reaching out through cyberspace is an important part of the process, she concludes by highlighting another great reason for attending those very types of networking events that gave her some trouble in the beginning.
“Our bodies are evolutionary wired to trust people once we are in their presence,” she says. “Once we can take stock of who they are by watching the facial expressions and body language, the brain is wired to deicide whether or not to trust that person.”