Did you know that networking is a simple, effective and fun tactic to add to your marketing strategy? Not only does networking provides a unique platform to execute P2P (people to people) marketing, it also provides opportunities of exposure for your artistic practice.
Below are reasons why I love networking, which I hope inspiring other artists to consider doing more networking in the immediate future:
1.) Make new friends – Who wants to work with people they DON’T like? Not me! Networking is a great opportunity to meet new people and develop new friendships. And friendships lead to clients/customers. Even if you don’t earn a direct transaction from a friend, they can certainly introduce you to others who will become your clients/customers.
2.) Build your network of contacts – Knowing who is out in the market for your services or products is a important key to building a sustainable practice. Therefore, the act of building a network is extremely valuable to your artistic future. Think of this way: building a network is like backing up your computer - it’s a safety mechanism to fall back on when things crash.
3.) Acquaint yourself with industry resources – Many networking events offer opportunities to meet guest speakers, also known as resources. Their expertise and advise can inspire new ideas to encourage you to continue on your current path. Soak in what they have to say, and learn from guest speakers.
4.) Get out of your space – Like many artists, I too work from home and sometime it can feel like ages since I last changed my environment. So to help me break up a monotonous routine, I attend networking events. By placing myself inside a new environment, my creativity is revived! To receive fresh air allows me to revisit my work with new eyes that help produce effective results.
5.) Eat and drink good food or beverage – Whether at a café, restaurant, pub or community space venue, often times networking events will provide the opportunity for food and beverage. So take the opportunity to treat your taste buds to something new! Not only are your taste buds receiving a workout, but the act of eating and drinking also calms your nerves. Studies show that eating ‘together’ builds relationships. Additionally, eating ‘together’ is ‘an opportunity to de-stress, a chance to catch up’ (www.theatlantic.com). Yummy!
6.) Initiate collaborations – It’s certainly a challenge to work on your own. But collaborations can alleviate this isolating feeling. Networking events can kick start a collaboration between you and another artist. Oh the possibility!
7.) Practice pitching your art – The art of selling is not easy, nor smooth. But it can become easier! Attend a networking event to gain practice in how you tell others about your arts practice. Yes, more than likely your first attempts will cause you to stumble over words but keep powering through. Remember, everyone is nervous and shy to talk about themselves! So be gentle to yourself and power through the first few attempts. I promise you the pitch gets easier the more its practiced.
8.) Overcome shyness – Speaking of pitching, many artists do not like to talk about themselves. Writer and researcher, Susan Cain of Quiet: The Power of Introverts notes, ‘shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments’ (www.blogs.psychcentral.com). While attending networking events it is important to remember that others are also shy; however, networking events are intended to be safe spaces, free from judgment. Try busting out of your shell, and inspire others to do the same!
9.) Find your next client/customer – You never know whom you are going to meet when attending a networking event. You could potentially meet your next client/customer! More often than not, someone attending a networking event is looking for help. Go out and investigate who that person is and how you can be the solution they need!
10.) Receive feedback about your creativity – Have ideas that you want to explore, or are currently exploring? Test them out at a networking event! Discuss your plan of action, or role play a scenario with others within the group and ask for their feedback. Doing research at a networking event keeps you focused on your practice and can provide real and raw insight for your future. Remember to express gratitude for the feedback!
Hope to see you at a future networking event!