In many ways, I take after my Dad. I’ve inherited his nose; we’ve the same philtrum and we must have roughly equal heft as I still sport his shirts and jackets. I find myself using his phrases, any hat or sunglasses instantly suit and soca is our go to car music. But I’d like to think our largest likeness, storytelling aside, is the ability to talk to anyone.

Perhaps it is the fact that we’re both middle children and crave the constant attention afforded of both the eldest and the baby of the family. Perhaps it’s our extroverted nature, or propensity to be drawn like moths to the limelight. Either way, we will captivate you at the tills of a petrol station, or the aisles of a supermarket, or the stalls of a pub.

And just for context, my toxic trait is that I love hard. I’m one of those all or nothing kind of friends. I will invite you over to my house for a cheeseboard approximately seven minutes after we swap names. If you give me the remotest inkling you’re interested in what I’m saying, you’ll make my Christmas card list. If I manage to wrestle your number from you, that’s it, we’re BFFs forever and you’re now invited to every birthday party, every summer soiree, every cheeky carousal. Basically, every time I break bread, I want you there. Don’t believe me? Five weeks into my new job and I’ve already overshared in the Whatsapp group and planned after work drinks, a three-night getaway and what I’ll be wearing at Eve’s wedding. She’s currently single.

I will send you regular keeping in touch messages. I will create social events to get us together. I will introduce you to other people I’ve collected. I’ll shout you out to my 400 followers on Twitter. I’ll remind you how great you are via Insta message when you’ve posted a sad picture. I will like everything you post on social media. And you can guarantee if it’s a selfie, I’ll be there with a fire emoji.

And that, my friend (that’s right, if you’ve made it this far, you’re committed to me now) is why I love networking. Finding friends irl can be tricky, especially if you come on too strong with the sarcasm or the villa in Marbs plans. Incidentally, do you fancy it? And networking is even more ideal now you have to do it online. It’s removed all the awkwardness, it feels less like flirting (which I’m terrible at btw), no one will judge you for not having a business card and you don’t have to do a weird awks handshake. Even better, there’s none of that awkward chit chat that is ubiquitous of a face to face interaction. The internet can tell you everything you need to know about your mark in an instant, meaning you forego needing a couple of tête-à-têtes to get the lay of the land. You choose your medium – may I suggest Twitter – start following, and at some point down the line, knock up a conversation.

The cape wearing characters behind #CommsHero make networking even easier. Consider them the host of a dinner party, introducing people through mutual interests. Consider them the master of ceremonies at a festival, shouting out all the contributors. Consider them the teacher in a drama lesson, making sure everyone gets involved. These guys are providing a valuable public service to the comms community.

They are the follower that will love hard.

They will suggest wise sages for you to follow. They will like your content and encourage you to get involved with a conversation. They will get you involved in some hilarious bants. You’ll be making James Brown themed biscuit puns before you know it. They will retweet your news, big or small. They will amplify your voice to their 10K followers.

And the social event? They’ve planned a week. CommsHero 28 September to 2 October. 35 speakers over five days.

Me? I’ll be there with my cheeseboard, looking to add new connections to my Christmas card list. I can’t wait.

Teela Clayton

MA PR & Strategic Comms student @ LBU 2020
Member of CIPR & PRCA