Monday, May 11, 2009
NYC, Publishing, and Networking Part I
A Twitter friend will be attending a publishing program in NYC soon and I can't help but spew advice to her via 140 characters. I've been thinking back to the publishing program I did at NYU and am diligently impressing upon her the importance of networking. She noted to me that she is terrible at networking, so I wanted to help her out a bit with some of what I learned along the way.
It's not easy! Successful networking is a lot of work, but the results are enormously beneficial. I will now channel my mother as I suggest to her that she sit up front, pay attention, and ask questions. But you know what? Mother really does know best. ;-)
At my program, we had guest speakers, representing every area of publishing, visit our group. Every day, there I was, front and center, professional business attire, noting the speaker's physical description. (Sounds silly, but is so key! You will forget who is who a week after they speak and it's frustrating as anything trying to reimagine that person.)
I would ask one or two questions during their talk and write down the questions I asked, as well as the answer that was given. Afterward, I would hang behind the crowd a bit. Many people rush to meet the speaker, giving them minimal time together as they attempt to acknowledge everyone. I preferred to wait for the herd to thin, so that I would have a more extended chat. I would then approach the speaker, offer a firm handshake, hold eye contact, and introduce myself. I would ask a follow up question that referenced the talk, thank them for coming out to speak with us, and ask if they would mind my emailing them a resume.
That evening, I would hand write personal thank you notes to those who spoke and drop them in the mail on my way to class in the morning. (It's crucial to illustrate to potential employers that you have a working NY mailing address.) About a week later, I would follow-up with an email, reminding them of some tidbit we had discussed at the talk, outlining my publishing interests, and attaching my resume.
(the second part of this post will be published May 14)