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From time to time, I interview people I come across in my networking journey. I’m always fascinated with them and love to hear how people, when moving to Ireland, built their network. I get to tap into their wisdom and experiences. In this edition, I speak to A South African in Ireland – meet Claire Mason, PR Strategist and all round amazing woman!
I started by asking Claire to share some tips & tricks and I asked her to give us her observations about networking in Ireland. Here’s what she had to say:
Claire’s Bird’s Eye View
My view is that Irish people are the original networkers of the world and you guys do it with aplomb. People here genuinely invest in other people through conversation, warmth and… a smidgen of slagging! (An Irish term I now know and love.)
Seriously, I’ve learnt so much being in an environment where people care for the success of others. My tips and tricks are to ask people questions about themselves and make the time for conversations. Don Harris of Talkback gave me one of the most insightful pieces of advice in my career when he mentioned that Ireland is about relationship management, whereas the countries I’d lived and worked in before were more focused on account management. Understanding the nuance started opening doors for me.
Where Did You Start Networking?
It took me a while to find my groove in networking. I started like all Generation X cuspers (I missed millennial status by a hair’s breadth!) on LinkedIn. I still love that platform and used it extensively. However, person-to-person networking took me some time and I am still learning. My Venture Business Network journey began in 2018, but I had begun investigating networking groups two years prior.
Why Did You Start?
Oh, for a number of reasons. Business development is the most obvious one, but I had even more pressing needs of wanting (and needing) to find a community. I was also looking to invest in my own professional development, and that wasn’t going to happen by posting daily on LinkedIn.
How Did You Start?
Timidly! I explored three different groups, two by immediately buying memberships.
Note to self: you don’t need to immediately buy memberships; go as a guest to a meeting first. I look back now and see a million things I could have done better as an early stage networker. However, there is one aspect that I do give myself kudos for – and that was making the move to begin networking.
The chief benefit for me is the structure. I love the consistency of meeting regularly and maintaining relationships with fellow business people. I also have grown enormously from the requirement to speak up. Even just providing an elevator pitch about my business in a few sentences is a confidence boosting exercise every week. The leads people have passed to me are greatly appreciated and a wonderful benefit. And I have also expanded my own relationships as I have sought leads and introductions for others.
I can’t think of one downside.
Claire Mason is a content strategist and digital PR specialist. She works with clients in Ireland, UK, USA and Europe to build content strategies that make a difference to their bottom line.
On behalf of clients, she regularly:
- Plans content and oversees its development (collaborating with copywriters) on client content projects
- Establishes and maintains thought leadership with clients
- Collaborates with cross-functional teams, internal and external, to seek creative ideas and provide input
- Learns the ins and outs of the client’s business, including products and services, and communicates that information
- Builds and optimises processes to ensure content development is completed in a manner that prioritises both efficiency and quality
- Provides editorial guidance to shape and refine messaging development for new and existing content
Connecting With NetworkingJean
Have you got a great networking story to share about how you moved country and how your network help set you up in your new adopted country? You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know or post in the comments.
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