Archive for November, 2010

Networking is Vital at Any Age

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by innovativemediapr

This week I attended two separate networking events.  For the first, I was asked to serve as an alumni panelist for a speed networking program set up for sports management majors on St. John’s University’s Staten Island Campus.  For the second, I helped a couple of colleagues organize the first meeting of the Central Jersey Real Estate Group in Asbury Park, NJ.  Both events were different, attracting audiences from totally different spectrums and age groups. However, the purpose of both events was the same. Create an environment conducive to learning from others, networking and making contacts, and walking away feeling like you gained something from attending the event.

For the St. John’s panel, I was one of five graduates of the St. John’s Sports Management program. Unlike my four fellow panelists who had graduated within the last few years, I was the old man in the group, having earned my degree in 1983.  There were about 25 students attending and they were broken up into groups of 3-4 members. Each group visited with one of the graduates for about 10-12 minutes and then moved on.  The students were mainly seniors, but there was one group of three freshmen.  All of them asked similar questions about how to secure an entry level position in sports and what my experiences were and advice I could lend to them in their quest to enter and stay in the profession and succeed.

My advice largely focused on keeping all options open, making sure they not only secured a strong internship, but while on the internship, ask many questions and learn as many things as possible from those they were working with. I also stressed the importance of writing.  Then, I made them understand that in order to succeed they must build relationships, maintain contacts and offer something back to others in return.

The real estate networking event was a different setting and environment. Held at the beautiful Watermark club on Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park, the event attracted about 22 individuals involved in the real estate industry. Guests ranged from attorneys, brokers, CPAs to real estate agents.  The goal of the Central Jersey Real Estate Group is to bring together leaders in the industry to share insights, learn from each other and most importantly, conduct business with each other.  The first event was well-received. There was no formal program for the first event, just an opportunity for those attending to introduce themselves, exchange business cards and learn what everyone’ specialty was.

As I explained what my firm, iMedia Public Relations does, I thought back to two nights earlier and my speed networking discussion with the students.  All of those young college students were looking ahead, hoping that they would one day have the chance to establish solid careers in the sports industry.  They were all apprehensive, wondering what lay ahead of them and the challenges they would face.   Many in the crowd that night at Watermark were apprehensive as well, discussing the impact the economy had on each of their businesses.

Thus, two different groups, one a gathering of students, the other, a contingent of real estate professionals, each had their doubts and questions about the challenges affecting their businesses and career choices.  However, all of the participants had made the right choice in learning that you cannot go at it alone.  Networking with others can help secure that first job and build your business.  If you approach these opportunities in the right way, use them for gaining knowledge and share your insights with others, networking can be a resourceful tool that you will always use for your business.

Tom Cosentino

It’s Okay to Toss the Script

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by innovativemediapr

Yesterday I received a call from the New York Blood Center thanking me for my recent platelet donation and welcoming me to the donor family. I have been a regular blood donor for years with the Central New Jersey Blood Center, but recently gave locally in my home community of Marlboro, NJ to help a local youth group. It turned out that this blood drive was run by the New York Blood Center.

I get called all the time to remind me that I’m eligible to donate because my blood type is O-, making me a universal donor.

What struck me yesterday was that the woman on the other end was reading from a script and not listening to my response. I kept telling her that I was a regular donor in New Jersey and she kept reading her script, thanking me for being a donor, telling me my blood type was O- and that they looked forward to having me donate in the future. Whenever, I mentioned my regular donations down in Shrewsbury, she said okay and moved on to the next line of the script. What I was trying to tell her was that I would continue to donate blood and do so at my normal blood center. She was pleasant enough, but it gave me pause to think how many businesses lose customers because the person on the other end gets frustrated with being read to and not listened to.

It is essential for companies, small business owners and individuals alike to realize that the voice on the phone may be the first contact that person has with your brand, company or project. Sure, it’s important from a marketing perspective to get your message across. However, it is also vital that the person delivering the message be attuned to the responses coming from the other end of the phone. By listening closely, that messenger may be able to hit on something that will turn the prospect into a customer, all because they picked up on a certain nuance or desire of that individual because they were listening to their responses. It’s something I try to have everyone at iMedia Public Relations  adhere to when dealing with media, clients and potential partners. You never know what key tidbit you will pick up by listening and not worrying about getting your views across first.

Make sure when delivering a message that you’re listening. And, after reading this, think about donating to the next blood drive in your community. It will be a great “call” on your part.

Tom Cosentino