Networking Lessons

You Just Never Know – the Networking Lesson My Parents Taught Me

Some people network the traditional way. They attend networking events, dinners, and happy hours. Or they join membership organizations, serve on boards, etc.

The planned socials are not really my thing, though. Rather, I have built much of our public relations agency’s success on being open to engaging others, at just about any time, place or event. That’s a lesson I learned from my mom and dad!

They always pushed me to talk to everyone. I can still hear my Dad say: “Go talk to him. You never know where it will lead!” and “Go say ‘hi’ to her. You never know who she knows.”

Not surprisingly, my parents were right and today it’s a philosophy I live by: network with everyone. You just never know! I have built my business on the unintentional events and truly believe that one experience leads to the next.

Here’s a great example. I recently received a LinkedIn note from someone looking for a national healthcare/pharma PR agency; her CEO had suggested she meet with me. Of course, it felt great hearing that the CEO remembered me and our high quality work—especially since it had to be at least 12 years ago that he engaged us.

A meeting was scheduled. We barely got into the office when the lady said, “I can’t believe how you and Michael met. What a funny story!” To be honest, I had totally forgotten but when she gave me some details, it jogged my memory and wow, it was a good story!

Michael and I met at a car wash. Yes, a car wash!! It was a Friday afternoon and we were both waiting for our cars to be done. My mom, who was with me, engaged Michael in conversation. When she learned he was in healthcare—she proceeded to sell him on my services!

There are not too many people in the healthcare/healthcare IT/pharma public relations space in Arizona, and Michael was impressed that I knew the lingo. We exchanged cards and met the following week at Starbuck’s. We did some project work for them and then lost touch … until now.

Here’s another example. Jim R. was a neighbor of mine. We were chatting at a pool party and became family friends. He was an entrepreneur and encouraged me to start my own business. I had been thinking about doing just that, and Jim’s encouragement gave me the extra push I needed. He also became a client and remains a good friend today.

And one more example—one of my favorites–about how I met Gregg C. in the taxi line at the Dallas airport. In town for the HIMSS convention, along with tens of thousands of others, the line stretched on forever. Finally, the man managing it all yelled out, “Anyone else going to the convention center?”

Gregg and I got into the same taxi (pre-Uber days, of course!), and soon fell into conversation all the way into the city. It turned out Gregg was a top exec at Intel, and also from Arizona. At the time, I worked for a different healthcare IT PR agency, and Gregg said that Intel might need some specialized healthcare PR. He introduced me to a colleague, Chris, and the rest is history – Intel’s Internet healthcare division became one of the agency’s clients.

But it gets better. I invited Chris to an event. She brought her colleague, Kate. I remained friends with Kate long after the engagement with Intel ended. In fact, years later when I launched my own PR agency, I reached out to Kate, and hired her to start our marketing department. Now, 14 years later, Kate is a vital part of Amendola, still leading our marketing efforts and so much more!

Networking has continued to build Amendola Communications. It was about eight years ago that I got a call from Jim G. He looked me up because I led his company’s PR efforts decades before. We not only re-connected but became great friends, attending HIT meetings and network events together, and cross-referring business leads.

Jim referred me to so many great HIT influencers that today, I rarely participate in RFPs. I don’t need to. Between my many years in the business, networking with editors, clients, and others, business leads just come in.

Of course, it is also a testament to my team and the agency that we have so many repeat clients: Doug, a four- time Amendola client; Jay, a three- time Amendola client; Brett, a three-time Amendola client; Steve, a two-time Amendola client; Michele, a two-time Amendola client; Laura, a two-time Amendola client. And the list goes on and on.

Mom and Dad were right. You just never know what that one connection will lead to! Why not connect with us today? At the very least, you’ll have a free, no-obligation consultation with the healthcare IT industry’s leading public relations agency. Shoot me an email at jamendola@acmarketingpr.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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