From One Bridge to Another: New City Networking 101

Katelyn Campbell

It never surprises me how small the world of marketing and PR can be. I’ve experienced the tight knit PR community in Boston, and was immediately welcomed into the scene here in San Francisco. From grabbing Philz Coffee to drinks after work at Coqueta, it’s been a whirlwind of information, and this Boston girl is extremely grateful for all of the time and education from my West Coast PR peers.

Beyond the walls of PAN, I was able to leverage my network to engage with connections to learn more about San Francisco and the PR scene here. As if I were at a networking event in person, I held nothing back when approaching old connections and using LinkedIn messages to connect to new folks—all to learn more about this city and our growing industry.

Here are my top tips on networking when you’re in a new place:

1.) Put yourself out there, start with reconnecting.

I reached out to my PR peers not only directly, but also through all of my social media channels. I made my entire network (and that of PAN’s) know I was heading to SF for the summer. I was open to meet with anyone and take advantage of my time here in the city. Reconnecting with old connections (former clients, former coworkers) was the easy part; the connections that my friends made for me were even better.

2.) Set goals for yourself with networking.

Being here for a limited amount of time, I wanted to make sure I was making the most of my time here, so I set realistic goals. I thought about who I would meet, what new coffee shop or restaurant I wanted to try, what I wanted to learn and how I could do it within the 2 months I was in the city.

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Source: pexels.com used under CC license.

3.) Listen first and ask questions.

It’s easy to talk about yourself, clients or your company, but to truly understand what it’s like to live and work here, my biggest tip is to LISTEN. I learned so much in the hour conversations I had with folks here, and the insight is so valuable to someone who has only known East Coast ways for her whole life.

4.) You never know who you’ll meet where.

It never hurts to put down the phone! I spend my mornings at the dog park and then walk around the Embarcadero with #Rileypup and can’t tell you how many people I’ve met during those times. On the weekends, my husband and I have explored Napa, Sonoma, Lake Tahoe and more, meeting countless people who have helped out a Boston couple exploring California for the summer. Whether it’s on your commute in or standing in line for a cold brew coffee, it never hurts to put down the phone, smile and strike up a conservation.

5.) Be genuine

I can’t stress this enough when it comes to networking. Just as you can tell who’s fake on the Bachelorette (a hot topic at PAN Boston), people know when you’re not fully yourself or just trying to keep up with the conservation. Part of learning is that you don’t know it all and meeting people teaches you more. I like to think that my thick accent has been accepted in my meetings – no reason to hide it!

The best part of all of the outreach was all of the helpful insight into SF PR. Coming from Boston and being part of the PR community through PubClub and more, it was great to hear what it’s like here. We are super excited to be hosting PRSA SF’s next Thursday event at our offices at 100 California St. this week. You can register here.

I also have to thank all of my connections on the excellent recommendations on places to go, things to try and what else should be on my SF bucket list.

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