Victoria Kennedy is the master of all of her trades: CEO of award-winning Victorious PR, top-charting classical singer, and networker extraordinaire. As a leader in an industry built on who one knows, Kennedy correspondingly understands and cultivates perfect networking qualities that even her equal peers covet.
Kennedy, Rolling Stone Culture Council and Forbes Agency Council member, was personally invited to sponsor and perform at the momentous Million Dollar Mastermind event (hosted by Ryan Stewman) in July. She sang the United States National Anthem in operatic and graced the stage once more during the three-day event to eloquently explain the power of quality PR to a captivated audience.
We sat down with Miss Kennedy to hearken to her wisdom in how to network naturally, gracefully, and successfully. Here is what she had to say.
Take Your Time
“Networking isn’t an overnight achievement like applying for a job or pitching to a publication,” Kennedy said. “It is almost as if it happens without you realizing. Like the common idiom, ‘Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,’ so it is with networking. One day you look back, and see the fruits of your labor by way of all the amazing people you now call colleagues.”
Kennedy explained that networking, especially in the entrepreneurial space, is more about having your radar always on, and your lighthouse always shining. You want to attract the right people while taking note that they are around you. If you push too hard or come off desperate, you lose the game. Networking is about nurturing, not about getting phone numbers and checking names off your list.
Manage Your Expectations
To continue that thread, Kennedy shared that managing expectations is paramount.
“If you expect everyone you meet to be your golden goose, you will become unrightfully disillusioned fast,” she said. “Imagine going to a free networking event, hosted in a restaurant. Everyone there, because the event is free, is hoping that some magic wizard will walk in the door and invest in their company or teach them the skills they’ve been wanting to learn for free. But at a paid event, everyone there has something to offer — before asking for things in return.”
Give What You Want to Get
A perfect segway into Kennedy’s next point, is to lead with value.
“The golden rule applies to everything in life, including entrepreneurial networking!” she went on. “Treat others how you want to be treated. Have healthy boundaries, of course, don’t get taken advantage, but do provide value to those around you.
“Whether it’s a mentoring conversation, some free savvy tips that perhaps clients usually pay for, or even a listening ear, we all have things to share that others need. I recommend outlining, on paper, what you are willing to give with no expectation of payback so that you don’t let your excitement run away with you. You don’t see me giving out free PR very often!”
In the entrepreneurial space, you will always be surrounded by people who are a step, or many, ahead of you. This can cause intimidation and lack of confidence, which stamps out any hope of genuine networking results.
“At all times, be you,” Kennedy said. “People in my circles sometimes playfully poke fun at my vintage style of dressing, for example, but if I went home and changed into all-black power suits, I would lose their respect. Just because something is different, even if people point it out, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Being yourself is crucial — if you can’t be you, why are you doing this? Never sacrifice who you are for the sake of a feigned friendship. You started your business to be your own leader. That includes your interpersonal life.”
Know Your Strengths
Being yourself includes knowing your strengths and playing them up. If you know you are good at something, don’t be afraid to share that skill with others. Having basic self-awareness is key to making sure you bring something to the table.
“By playing to your strengths, you bring out the best in others,” Kennedy explained. “I’m not just talking about your resume skills either. I mean if you have hilarious jokes, tell them. If you are a hugger, give hugs. If you are great at toasts, making eye contact, singing, multi-tasking, or small talk, do it. Mingling can be exhausting, but knowing which parts you are good at makes all the difference. And if you don’t know, ask your close friends. The ones you made by being yourself and leading with value, even if you didn’t realize that’s what you were doing.”
About Victoria Kennedy
Victoria Kennedy is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, TEDx speaker, and well-respected authority in public relations. She is the CEO of Victorious PR, an award-winning, multi-million dollar PR agency that has helped dozens of entrepreneurs become the #1 Authority in their niche by getting them featured in top podcasts and press. To gain more credibility and authority in your market, please visit https://victoriouspr.com