Navigating the Network Scene

by Kenji Maeda on November 16, 2008

Image: odolphie

Many people are uncomfortable with the thought of networking. Not knowing how to start, where to go, who to meet or what to say can feel daunting. The truth is, it’s not as difficult as you may think. So here are a few things to keep in mind to help you move forward.

How to Start?

What are you trying to accomplish from networking? It could simply be that you want to get out and meet like-minded people. That’s completely understandable. Being around people who have similar interests and goals may be what you need to keep you moving forward when you’re feeling down or unmotivated. Don’t expect to meet people and have them hire you for some project they or their friends are making – it doesn’t work like that.

Where to go?

There are a number of events around Vancouver that are great places to meet new people. Granted, walking into a room where everyone seems to know everyone else… except you, can be unnerving, so here are some events you can get started with:

Who to meet?

Anyone and everyone. You might focus on the people who’s name or face you recognize, but you may be missing out on meeting other people in the industry. Meet directors, producers, editors, actors, photographers… anyone. You could be selective of who you want to meet, but that also means that you’re limiting your own opportunities. You never know if you may be able to help them or vice-versa in the future. Try to be confident (or act like it – but not cocky), but be honest and meet people… especially when it’s at an event geared toward networking with others within the industry.

What to say?

Be yourself. Don’t always talk about industry related things. That may be a way to start off a conversation but that tends to be less interesting to know than what you do outside of acting, writing, or directing. That way you can show your personality. And a business card goes a long way. It allows people you meet to have your contact information handy (assuming they don’t lose it) and will be easier to remember who you are in the long run. A business card that you print out at home can be more effective than a scribble on a piece of paper.

Remember that networking is what you let it be. If you want it to be all about hierarchy and power imbalance, then that will affect how people perceive you. Alternatively, it can be about truly meeting people who have similar interests and want to continue to grow and connect the community within.

Do you have any more ideas about how or where to network in Vancouver?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Menard D Caissy December 30, 2008 at 1:19 pm

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