Nigel Tucker, Entertainment Business lecturer at JMC Academy and experienced artist manager, often tells his students about the importance of networking. ‘Building your contact base, and then turning these associations into ongoing professional relationships cannot be overstated,’
The same applies to all sectors in the arts, where who you know leads to new opportunities and increases your chances of employment in the future.
Tucker recommends these techniques to improve your networking.
1. Have better conversations
Start researching your area of interest so you can become up to date and knowledgeable on current topics and trends. This knowledge will come in handy next time you see someone you want to speak to.
‘By regularly checking or subscribing to relevant industry newsletters, blogs, trade publications and websites you can also build your own current database of industry professionals and potential connections,’ said Tucker.
2. Get out there
The only way you are going to start building relationships is by putting yourself out there. ATucker reccomends you should start attending conferences, events and seminars.
‘This will assist in, not only meeting prospective contacts and being seen, but also builds a shared experience which can be a good foundation for any introductory discussions,’ said Tucker.
3. Be aware of your social media activity
Network is no longer just shaking hands and sharing drinks. The social media space is perhaps the most powerful networking environment.
Social media allows you to research the person you would like to connect with, find out what they like or dislike and potentially allow you to find common ground for any future conversations where you do get to meet in person. ‘But be careful here –no one likes to be harassed on social media,’ said Tucker.
The other important thing to remember is your profile is also on view so make sure you are presenting yourself professionally. One way to do this is by posting industry related articles and tweeting or re-tweeting relevant and interesting information, said Tucker.
4. Be friendly and supportive of others
‘The entertainment business is a competitive and often volatile industry. I don’t know anyone who has sustained a long term career in this industry who has not been up and down the mountain a couple of times. So the lesson is you meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down,’ said Tucker.
‘My advice is always to be professional, friendly and supportive of others, as best you can, since they and you will remember how they were treated. There is likely to be a ‘next time’ and options for assistance –or the opposite- could be the difference between a career option or not.’
Find out more about the courses on offer at JMC Academy.
The Essential Skills Series is brought to you in partnership with Artshub written by Brooke Boland.
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