Posted on 11 June 2018 by Mireille Harper
Networking can seem daunting, especially in the creative industries. Whether it’s finding the right thing to say, worrying about hounding a fellow networker, or not knowing how to move on to the next person, the whole thing can seem to cause more anxiety than it’s worth. Networking doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are our top seven questions to have prepared when you’re networking – you’ll be a pro in no time.
#1 How did you hear about this event?
Introducing yourself can be the most daunting part of networking. Whilst kicking off with ‘What do you do?’ or ‘Where do you work?’ can seem intrusive, asking how fellow guests heard of an event can help to break the ice and build conversation.
#2 Have you been to any good events recently?
Not only does this question help you get a broader idea of what other fellow creatives are doing and where they’re going, it also helps to see where you have connections, similar interests, and things in common (outside of work).
#3 What do you do outside of work?
At networking events, it can seem like you’re regurgitating the same information again and again. Nobody wants to repeat what their job role is, their day-to-day tasks, and where they work, so this helps to allow your fellow networkers to recap what they do briefly, but also highlights their interests and passions.
#4 How did you decide what you wanted to do?
Often people ask how people got into their industries, and how they’ve managed to progress the career ladder. The importance thing is why! By asking how someone decided to pursue a career path, this also helps you to understand if you are passionate about what you’re doing, or if you’d like to get involved in other projects!
#5 How have you found working in (insert industry/job title)?
It helps to be tactful about the advantages and disadvantages of working in certain industries, and this question is a soft approach to engaging in discussion about the highs and lows of working in the creative world. It will also help you to get an idea of what you do or don’t want to do work-wise.
#6 If you could do something else, what would you do?
Often, people have more than one career goal. It can be interesting and eye-opening to discover people’s hidden talents, interests or hobbies with this question. It also helps to make the discussion more personal and more engaging.
#7 Could we keep in touch?
Rather than pushing business cards or social media handles on people, asking to facilitate contact is not only polite, it is also a gentler way of networking. In the creative industries, sensitivity and patience are qualities that are much more appreciated! Swap your email, and suggest going to an event together, or offer to mention future projects they’d be interested in!
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