Posted on 01 June 2018 by Rebecca Sander
Networking is like dating: it sucks and it drains all your energy and sometimes it can feel so hopeless you want to hide under your desk with a bottle of wine and one long straw. But it doesn’t have to be this way! With some practice and thoughtful intentions you can be a networking champion.
1. Join Facebook groups
There are thousands of groups out there for people wanting to swap skills/stories/support each other. I’m a member of several groups for female entrepreneurs/business owners, but if that’s not you do a little research and there will be something
2. Go to events
Go to an event that the kind of people you want to work with would go to, strike up a conversation after a talk, go to a private view (hopefully one where there’s free booze)
3. Reach out on instagram
I’ve “met” a bunch of amazing designers through social media, if you see some one you like, comment on their postings, with something a little bit more specific than “love this!” so they don’t think you’re a spambot. Or even slide into their DM’s and compliment what they’re doing, raise the possibility of collaborating, they might not reply but if they do you’re on your way!
4. Be reasonably clear with your intentions
You don’t need to march up to some one like “I want you to give me a job” but don’t pretend to be fascinated about stories about some one’s family when that’s not why you’re there, because they will be able to tell and they will reverse out of that conversation and your life pronto. You’re not looking for a new BFF so it’s okay to keep the conversation about your work, that’s why you’re both there.
5. Read the room, Linda
While you absolutely should be comfortable walking up to some one and introducing yourself, if they’re in a deep chat with some one one-on-one it might not be the best time to hijack their attention. It’s good to be aware that while most people are wanting to meet people in their field to talk shop, you still need to choose your moment well.
6. Find the line between talking about yourself and bragging
Talking yourself up is difficult, particularly if you’re a woman as we have been raised to diminish our achievements, so it’s something that needs practice. Write down a list of the things that you are most proud of and why before you go to an event, even if you don’t have that sheet with you it’ll come to you easier and you’ll have a more level-headed way of speaking about it, than just “that was cool”
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