Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Ronn Torossian interview – CEO of 5W Public Relations

Ronn Torossian is the President & CEO of New York City based 5W Public Relations. Since founding the firm, he has overseen the company’s rapid growth and expansion to the Los Angeles market, and provided advice and counsel to hundreds of companies, global interests, high-profile individuals, regional businesses, government agencies and academic institutions – both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues.

Torossian was named to Advertising Age’s 2006 “40 Under 40” list, PR Week’s 2007 “40 Under 40” List, is a regular lecturer at Universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

It’s my distinct pleasure to bring you Ronn Torossian…

Josh: Ronn, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Ronn Torossian: Business networking for me is about meeting people in a variety of industries, with the ultimate goal of increasing the sheer number of people you know. For entrepreneurs, or any professionally successful person, it’s important to continually build a network – the people you meet and know and interact with.

Networking is vital for increasing sales, visibility and market knowledge. I believe that if you put smart, successful people in a room together, they will figure out a way to make money.

Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Ronn Torossian: Networking only works when it’s done regularly, without the intent to “sell.” Go with the purpose of meeting quality people, and giving contacts as well as getting contacts. Offer to introduce people to one another: it’s one practice that often comes back to you many fold.

At an event, focus on meeting a few people and leaving a lasting impression on them, rather than working the entire room. And always be sure to follow up.

Josh: Based on your experiences, which places and activities (online or off-line) have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your business network?

Ronn Torossian: The only online site where I have found networking to be effective is linkedin, and even then it’s often minimal in terms of actually meeting people.

I find breakfast and small private events to be the most useful. Breakfast events work because there’s an actual start and a finish. People come with a target and an end in mind. In the evening, with the potential for drinking or flirting, it’s more open-ended and harder to get people to focus.

Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share a few examples where it has made a difference?

Ronn Torossian: Networking has allowed me to build 5WPR into an INC 500 company, and one of the 25 largest independent PR agencies in the US, without ever making a new business call or having a dedicated new business department. We have grown our business entirely through networking, referrals and helping our clients with introductions. Specifically, we host very high profile speakers in our office and invite our contacts to come meet one another.

Once a month or more, we host 20 to 25 CEO’s at a private lunch event, where we invite our clients to get to know one another. Events of this manner have made a tremendous difference in terms of our ability to network and meet more people.

–Happy Networking! Josh Hinds 🙂

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