5 Tips For Networking As A Creative Destined For Success
As someone pursuing success in the creative or entertainment industries, there is no getting around it: you have to network. Often during my time networking with creatives specifically, they want to outsource the more business-oriented tasks that are absolutely essential to moving their careers along. Networking is one of those. They’ll get really excited about the coaching side of what I offer, then try to recruit me to act as an agent or manager. (Answer: nope. I’m a coach and a consultant.)
Agents and managers play their parts in your success, yes. But at the end of the day, you’re the one who is responsible for your career. You have to actually show up for the life you want, and that means going out into the world and making it happen. Not only do you get to show up, you get to step up to the opportunity to network in a way that will have people thinking about you long after you’ve left the room.
That last part is important. Anyone who has gone to a networking event before is no stranger to the over-eager, pushy person who is chomping at the bit to tell you all about them with zero regard as to how they can actually serve you. You have an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the crowd in lots of different ways. Because until people like and trust you, they won’t be interested in how much talent you have.
So here are my tips about networking for success as a creative professional.
- Get yourself into an excited state. I listen to a playlist that energizes me before any networking event and avoid serious podcasts. Even though I’m an advocate of authenticity, networking is not a time to show up authentically disinterested or authentically skeptical about what’s going on. I definitely still get nervous walking into a room, but if I can find a way to keep a smile on my face and tap in to my inner bad-ass, I know my chances of making meaningful connections will increase greatly.
- Connect with different industries. Don’t write off certain people because they aren’t immediately connected to the kinds of people you would like to network with. For example, if you’re an artist you might want to strike up a conversation with a commercial real estate manager. They might know gallery spaces – and owners.
- Know that you’re developing a relationship. There is a huge difference between the people who show up eager to “get a client” or “make a sale” and the people who show up genuinely curious about the other professionals there. Relax into the idea that you’re probably not going to book a gig the first time you meet someone. But you might be taking a first step down a path that leads to places you’ve always dreamed of.
- Be strategic. When you’re first starting to network, it’s a good idea to go to as many different events as you possibly can to get a feel for what’s out there. You’ll start to know which ones are a good fit and which ones aren’t. Remember – a good fit does not mean comfortable. Make sure you’re in a room with people who are more successful and knowledgeable than you. They’re the ones who likely have the keys to doors that you’d like to have opened for you. Also be prepared to pay a price for entry as many of the quality networking events that I’ve been to are not free. (Consider it an investment in yourself and save the receipt for your accountant to write off at tax time.)
- Go in a state of service. Forget the What’s In It For Me mentality. About 98% of the people there are going to have that same mindset and, trust me, it’s exhausting. Be the person who asks yourself: how can I serve just one person in this room so powerfully that they’ll never forget me? It might be connecting them with someone in your database. It might be acting genuinely interested in what they have to say about their business. It might be introducing the shy, awkward person in the room to someone else and help them get out of their shell. When you serve others, people remember you. They like you. They want to hang out with you more.
Is there anything that didn’t make it on to this list that’s worked for you? Leave it in the comments below. And don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram, watch my videos on YouTube or check me out on Facebook!
Until next time, shine bright.
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