Networking in New York City is distinctly different from networking in the D.C. region, according to Rachel Adler, digital media business development manager for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
“I’m a research junkie. A lot of my research comes from working for New York State. I used to do a lot of vetting for political candidates,” said Adler. “I try to find touch points I could talk about… I look through their social platforms if they have them,” including Twitter and LinkedIn. By finding touchstones of common interest, it’s easy to build rapport.
“If it’s a really good networking event or a really good event, I’ll live tweet,” said Adler. By mentioning who’s speaking and adding relevant hashtags, it’s possible to connect with others interested in, or even attending, the event.
Adler says despite New York’s reputation, she finds that when people meet there — whether at a grocery store or a neworking event — connections are more personal and don’t dive right into professional questions.
Adler warned against simply “networking” instead of building genuine relationships. “When most people see networking, they see it as a means to try to gain something back from someone else. If you’re trying to build a relationship, [we should be thinking]… ‘How can I help you?’ and ‘How can I be a part of your network?’”.
“I always try to offer up my services, as much as I can, to anyone that I meet. Eventually, maybe three, five years down the line, I can get something back,” she told What’s Working in Washington.
Being genuine and authentic like this is key to building real relationships. “I can [tell], within the first ten seconds of meeting them, if they’re just trying to use me or use my network,” said Adler.
“If you’re authentic to yourself, that’s going to show through in trying to network.”