Everybody has heard of the concept of six degrees of separation. In PR, especially with the growing popularity of social media, the gap is quickly narrowing.

Every time we meet someone new, no matter what position they are in, we are making a valuable connection. Down the road, these connections can prove to be beneficial in our professional careers.

However, I would like to stress the importance of building relationships that are not based on ulterior motives. Networking has its merit, but only if it is done in a genuine manner. It is obvious to people of influence if someone is only talking to them to get something from them.

Let’s use a personal example. My father is the owner of the highly coveted Maple Leafs season’s tickets. A co-worker, let’s call him Jake, only talks to me if he wants me to get him hockey tickets. Not surprisingly, I have never given him hockey tickets, whereas I would be happy to get them for any of my other co-workers.

I think this is the same with networking events. The person at the event who is talking to everyone about common interests will be seen as more genuine than the person who is running around trying to get the business cards of the most influential people in the room. Chances are the people who are genuine will have more people trying to help them succeed.

As the school year is ending, I feel that I have made a lot of valuable connections in my classroom. Whether they become CEOs of large corporations or entry-level employees in a small firm, I know that they will help me succeed the best they can. In return, I will also do the best I can to help them out.

So class (if you are reading this) if there is ever anything you need, please contact me. I hope to one day be a valuable connection for more than just hockey tickets.