Networking is one of the most glorified and yet, underrated skills to have as a creative. To network the right way as a creative, some things need to be put in place.
If you belong to numerous creative groups, then the chances that you’ve heard about networking are high. If you are a solo creative, the chances that you’ve been told that not networking is leaving money on the table are also high.
Why is it so emphasized? And why does it seem cliche to some?
What Is Networking?
By general perception, it is interacting with different people regularly in order to get more opportunities, deals, and/or awareness for their business.
The aim of networking is basically to put yourself out there, to expose yourself to connections and opportunities in order to reach your results.
But how should you network? Does it mean speaking to each and every person you meet daily about your business? Does it mean giving people your business card at every single function you attend?
Buckle up let’s take you on a ride to “right networking”.
Network The Right Way As A Creative
1. Have a goal in mind
The plan isn’t just to meet new people, the plan is to network. When networking you need to have something you intend to achieve at the back of your mind. The goal can be to create more deals for yourself or to present yourself as a thought leader in your community. Ensure you understand what your goals are so that your decisions are in line with them. And you can network the right way.
2. Know the kind of people you want to relate with
Since your networking goal(s) is set, then you know which type of person is best for reaching that goal. This is the reason advice such as “connect with people in your niche” is not really for everyone. If you want to learn from professionals in your field, then maybe this is for you. However, if you’re looking to get more deals, then you want to look for people who need your skills, and those brackets don’t involve your niche.
If you are trying to earn more revenue, connect with people who understand what you do but do not necessarily have the skills. For example, connecting to a musician as a graphic designer can have you create their music cover.
3. Present yourself the right way.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to connect with someone whose physical appearance doesn’t appeal to me. As funny as it may sound, the way you look gives some aura of trust or distrust as the case may be, so you may want to have a deep thought about what persona your look portrays you to have. This is where personal branding comes in. Do you want to come across as dependable or laid-back, trustworthy or unreliable? Dressing in tuxedos gives a different vibe than dressing in shorts. None of these are wrong; you just have to know which is best for you.
Types Of Networking
There are two major types of networking: offline and online networking. They both have their benefits and disadvantages.
1. Online Events.
These are virtual gatherings of people. Usually, they attend to listen to someone or gain some form of value from the hosts. They are usually held on specific platforms and may not be the best option for someone who really wants to reach out as communication between participants is sort of limited.
2. Social Media
Social media includes the very popular professional networking site, LinkedIn. Then others such as Twitter, Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. They are numerous.
These are best especially when trying to create your own community of people who you can impact and/or sell to. The good thing about this is that you have measured your network in terms of followers and subscribers.
You can also join a community on social media. They are in form of groups, spaces, and team chats. These networks can help you with blockers in your creativity and they can support and give feedback. A group like that is the TT Creative Community
Quite a number of people prefer this because it also provides a face to remember.
With offline events, you can interact with people better. It creates a better connection than online events.
If you want to engage with people outside your skill set, start a hobby. You can get a gym membership or join a book club. You could even start painting.
Not to mention seminars, conferences, and hangouts. Like the TT Creative Hangout. It’s a free event and you can stay in the creative space without restricting yourself to people with the same skills as yours.
The event has a range of creatives from dancers, designers, artists, musicians, creative marketers, and top executives in the creative industry. So, no matter the goal you decided while you were reading the first part of the article, it would help you accomplish it.
You can check out the reviews here. It was thrilling, engaging, and productive. As much as I call myself an introvert, I still made at least 12 valuable connections!
Networking doesn’t have to be stressful. You can use this article to navigate your way through the noise of subpar networking events and pick the one that’s best for you.
And you can start with a personal recommendation, the TT Creative Community.
Till next time.