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Networking Tips for Newbies

Let’s face it, networking is scary. For soon-to-be graduates such as myself, even the word “networking” seems intimidating. However, networking really is key to making your career possible. Rather than attending hundreds of events to make maybe a few connections, it’s better to be strategic about your networking. Taking a systematic approach to networking and using a plan will help ease the tension and result in more meaningful business relationships.

Here are a few tips to help make networking more enjoyable and effective:

1. Find the right events.

Use social media outlets to find new events through your friends and local venues.

  • Facebook: Take an informal approach by joining a group or Facebook event.
  • LinkedIn: These groups are associated with specific industries and often post events. This can offer insight into specific group members’ professional experiences and interests.
  • Meetup: Use this site as a resource for finding groups in professional and non-professional contexts. Most of these groups meet regularly.
  • Eventbrite: This site provides a simple, categorized search and map of local upcoming events.

2. Arrive prepared.

Create a long-term plan by choosing the events most likely to be attended by the types of people you are looking to connect with.

When you have an upcoming event, do some research beforehand. Look at previous events by the same host or organization to see what they have to offer. Check to see if a guest or sponsors list is available. Then, see if you share common connections with participants and request an introduction.

3. Actively understand other’s needs.

When you get to the event, be sure to an approachable demeanor. It is likely that everyone is experiencing the same anxiety as you and acting relaxed will make others around you feel more comfortable themselves.

Take the initiative to start a few conversations or join group discussions instead of waiting for others to come to you. Introduce yourself or casually ask: “How are you liking the event?” or “What do you do?” Listen carefully to the dialogue so that you can align what customers need with what you offer. At this point you may present a more targeted pitch.

When you do exchange contact information and business cards, quickly jot down some mental notes about your conversation to help with memory recall later.

4. Stick around for the aftermath.

As the event comes to a close, remember that you don’t necessarily need to leave right away, especially if things are going well.

If there is an after party, gather some of your new connections and go together. If there is a lunch session, ask permission to join someone’s table. If there is nothing planned, take action and invite people to continue the conversation over dinner or drinks.

Later that evening, connect with the people you have just met on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That way, you’ll have multiple channels in which you can communicate.

5 Ways to Kill Writer’s Block for Good

Situation: you have something to write – a challenging email, a brief or presentation about a new project, a post for your blog you have been struggling to keep up with – and a deadline to meet, but you are at a loss for words when you put your fingers to the keyboard.

What follows is a cycle of looking at the screen, walking away, writing a few sentences, deleting them, and then walking away again. Claiming “writer’s block” is an excuse that many of us use, but it is a problem that you have complete control over. The solution is to break this negative cycle by starting a positive one and to take action to obliterate writer’s block once and for all.

Here are 5 simple approaches to get unstuck:

  1. Allow imperfections. Lower your expectations for your first draft and give yourself permission to write poorly. The American poet William Stafford said, “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” Having high expectations for your first draft will ensure your fingers freeze up and crush your confidence.
  2. Mind map. Grab a blank sheet of paper and some colorful markers. Start scribbling words and phrases about your message. Take a few ideas from your mind map and put them together to help form content.
  3. Record yourself. Maybe your issue is between your brain and your fingers. Speak your ideas into a voice recorder or even leave a voicemail for yourself. This helps to shorten the distance the message has to travel.
  4. Talk it out. Call a friend or sit down with someone face to face. Ramble to them about your idea, have them take notes, and restate what you said.
  5. Shrink the task. Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Break your work into smaller chunks to make it more manageable: write the headlines, insert your bio, or drop in the page numbers.


Remember that you have written before, and you will write again. Start by choosing one of the tasks from this list, and you will be writing up a storm in no time.

10 Reasons You Should Still Blog – Even If No One Is Reading It

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your blog. It can take a good couple of years to develop a solid readership of a blog. As a new blogger, you should not give up prematurely because you are not getting the kind of attention you had hoped for. If this is a long-term problem then there might be some issues you need to fix, but if you are just starting you should not give up. You should readjust your focus from the lack of readers to the content you are producing and how you feel about your creation.

Just because no one is currently reading your blog does not mean what you are doing is not worth it and that your content is not important. Here are ten reasons why you should stick with blogging even if no one is reading it (yet):

  1. The act of writing helps to shape and crystallize your own thoughts and opinions.
  2. The research you do in order to write helps you to stay on top of trends.
  3. It is hugely motivational and helps you work towards a goal.
  4. Blogging is something you have complete control over which is rarely the case in paid employment.
  5. Knowing that people will eventually ready your blog (even if they are not currently) forces you to aim for a certain level of quality.
  6. Getting into a regular rhythm of blogging is like making a contract. It is as if you have made a public declaration of your intent, and you’re more likely to stay the course if you’ve publicly committed yourself.
  7. It helps to consolidate your own knowledge and skills. The best way to internalize knowledge is to teach others how to do it.
  8. You are creating content that can be later used in your own speeches, presentations, workshops, and marketing literature.
  9. Whether you are an experienced writer, or looking to develop your writing ability, blogging allows you to experiment with different styles.
  10. You can build your own blog or website to host your posts.

Keep your spirits up, solo bloggers! By investing time and energy into your blog, the days of zero readers will become a distant memory. Stay focused on why you are blogging in the first place, and keep creating content!

Meet H&A’s Newest Intern, Allie!

A senior at the University of California San Diego, Allie Leachman will graduate in June with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Business Marketing.

During her internship, Allie will serve as an account assistant with several of the agency’s public relations and marketing clients. Her responsibilities will include client research, writing and editing press releases, and coordinating special events and community outreach.

Benvenuto, Virginia!

Virginia Eastwood, a senior at San Diego State University, has joined H&A as an intern account coordinator.

Graduating cum laude from SDSU in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Television, Film, and New Media, and a minor in Business Management, Virginia will assist clients with writing and editing press releases and media advisories, client research, and special event planning.