Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Does networking actually work?
Yes networking works both personally when making new friends and in the professional world when meeting new clients or production opportunities.
It is a great way to build rapport and enhance relationships by having conversations with like minded contacts, sharing ideas and finding common interests.
During my 17 years in the media industry my skill sets would be redundant if it wasn’t for building relationships with others. I have built long lasting relationships from attending events, office environments and short courses.
I worked with a production executive 5 years ago who calls me whenever there’s any opportunities in her new role company or anywhere else.
Build and nurture those work relationships with the same energy you would your personal ones!
What are some questions that could get you started at a networking event?
Smile and start with wishing them a good day, I often start with “Happy .. insert day of the week here”. This opens the conversation on a human level before diving head strong into “who are you“ and “what do you do”? We feel comfortable when we are relaxed, and not over thinking about what the person will say next or what witty comments I need to respond with.
My next favourite question is what exciting project (s) are you working on at the moment? If they aren’t working on something in their professionally life they may be in their personal life, buying a new house, getting ready for that trip of a life time.
We are humans before we are working media production machines, connect with the human side and naturally weave your work questions into the conversation.
Do you think that networking could actually help individuals achieve certain things in their careers? (I.e promotion, new opportunities)
Yes networking is a powerful way to grow your contacts and build relationships with a diverse range of people. The more people you know, the more you have a contact to reach out to when you have a challenge. You will always be in a much better position to find a solution to your challenge or to help your contact by connecting them with the right person. I recently attended a short course event, namely to gather insight about the industry when a talent scout approached me, and after hearing I worked for a well known production company who made programmes for a rival SVOD she requested to put me forward to a well known TV show she was currently recruiting for. Attention goes where energy flows.
What are some tips to growing your network?
When you are looking to grow your network understand the profile of the people you need to meet. Is it a specific role like Production Managers, Production Executives, Media Talent Scout, do they have a particular array of skillsets like a Production Manager who also produces?
Once you have that clarity go online and search for networks and courses which attracts the right profile of people you are looking to connect with. Ask your existing friends and professional contacts if they have heard or attended such networks. Then go with a friend to attend so you both benefit from networking and learning together.
When attending a course in subjects matters that interests you this makes it easier to talk and engage in your field. You are more open in asking those media production questions in a safe place that could offer different perspectives and ways of doing things. We have had students who work for companies such as SKY NetFlix and the BBC and are often shocked when they share similar production stories or challenges. They exhale in knowing that they are not the only ones feeling or experiencing these challenges, and often connect in finding solutions and better ways of working.