One of the best parts of being a creative, is attending events, panels and conferences. Having meaningful interactions, meeting new people, and having in-depth conversations is really inspiring for creatives, and it reminds us that education doesn’t truly end and there is always room for personal growth. Networking with other creatives helps us to do exactly that. Getting to know other people in your industry and building friendships with people who have similar roles to you is a key part of life. However, it’s not always easy to connect with creatives, due to nerves or just not discovering the right resources. So I’ve written this article on how to help!
You should go out of your way to hear other people’s opinions, and discover new lifestyles, ideas and their potentials. And in a time that encourages mass online interaction, it’s difficult to connect with everyone on a personal level. Here are my top tips for connecting with other creatives in your industry:
Go to events
Sign up for as many events as you can. To me, meet-ups have always been essential for building your career and making friends who enjoy the same things that you do! Building your career can be a lonely journey without others who are in the same boat! One of the biggest myths floating around the career world is that you can sit at home and network through your laptop. Meeting up in real life is much more effective because you can’t make strong connections with people just by retweeting them a few times and sending them the odd message! People like to put a face to a name, so if you enjoy someone’s work and fancy a chat with them, arrange a coffee date! If they’re international, a Skype date wouldn’t go a miss!
Sign up for different newsletters to hear about events like blogging events, literary festivals, media conventions, and whatever other events apply to your career aspirations. Personally, if an event is literally listed as a ‘networking’ event, I’d avoid it, as much of the relationships formed here are forced. It’s much more authentic to find people with mutual interests at conventions suited to your hobbies or career aspirations. Finding the time to meet new people from your industry will make you better at your job and inspire you to progress your skills.
Listen to other people’s ideas
Remember that not everything is about you. The people you’re networking with are most likely in the same boat as you and will have cool, creative ideas of their own that they’re probably dying to share with others! You might end up hearing about a project you’d love to be a part of, so make sure you keep an ear open for exciting projects, and show enthusiasm for other people’s ideas. When you connect with creatives, its is about more than just pitching your own work – hear other people about and help them where you can. Encourage others as you’d like to be encouraged!
Pitch your own projects
Before you do this, make sure your project will actually appeal to the recipient. There’s no point emailing a sports personality about a beauty project. Assess the person you’re pitching to and think about whether they would really like to collaborate on this project. What are they getting out of it? Make sure you’re not just doing this for yourself, and you genuinely think they could benefit from hearing your ideas.
Make sure you’ve followed the other steps to building a relationship before putting your ideas out there, too! It’s confusing to receive out-of-the-blue emails from someone you barely know, asking for help or to work with you.
When you attend events, take business cards with you! They are the perfect little token to help you connect with creatives! Moo.com does some great deals for ordering business cards, or you can create your own simple designs on Canva. There’s really no point putting so much effort into networking yourself if people don’t remember you afterwards. If you hand them a business card, they can pop it in their wallet and on their fridge when they get home. Then, when they need someone with your kind of skills, they’ll find the card and get in contact!
Make sure you get their details too. You never know when you’re going to need someone else’s insight on a project, so build up your contact list and collect business cards. Even one’s you don’t think you’ll need!
Form real friendships
Real friendships are always much more beneficial to your personal growth, and your work progression than simply building a contact is. When you attend events or jump on a Skype call with a fellow creative, don’t judge them based on what they can offer you. Viewing human beings as favours will never work out, and it’s plain rude! Friendships are a blessing, whether they can provide creative insight for your ideas, or not. Finding the time to meet people will help you to further your career while inspiring you to think from other perspectives, and get creative in ways you might not have before their influence! Being surrounded by like-minded creatives is a blessing, and a fantastic environment to produce content in. Taking time to build relationships will always be worth it to your career and personal life.
It’s a shallow connection to simply sit behind a Twitter page and request for someone to share your blog post or work with you. Putting the time and effort into building a real connection with another creative will always pay off more than hitting like a few times than sending a lengthy, self-entitled email. Remember that cold emails are exactly that: cold. Send someone you admire a message about their work and let them know what you liked about it, before you present them with your own thoughts.
Be you. Be real.
What helps you connect with creatives? Leave me a comment!