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Network YOUR Way

December 16, 2014

We had a fabulous #ShowbizChat a couple of weeks ago that was all about networking. If you missed it, check out the transcript, and try to make plans to join us for the next one on January 6th at 1 PM EST.

There was a whole lotta incredible networking wisdom being thrown around in #ShowbizChat, but there’s one specific piece of advice about networking that I’ve really been wanting to share with you all lately because I think it’s crucial and it took me a long time to learn it.

Networking doesn’t have to be something that feels uncomfortable or forced because “that’s how everyone else is doing it.” Do it in a way that suits your style and personality.

Wow, that seems simple, huh? But it took me a shockingly long time to figure out that if late-night parties or targeted networking events weren’t my thing, there were a lot of other ways to network that I’m much more comfortable with and good at.

Sure, I still hit the occasional party or opening night gala or fundraising event (two in the past month actually, and I’ve gotten a lot more successful at them lately!), but there are so many more ways to authentically engage with people that actually leave me excited about the prospect of meeting people.

Some other options for theatre networking are:

Find your niche group — For me, it’s The League of Professional Theatre Women. Feminists who love theatre and love advancing the cause of strong women in theatre? Sign me up! I would get one thousand times more excited to go to a LPTW play reading or committee meeting than a networking party, and I am meeting incredible like-minded people all the same!

Social media — I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Twitter and other social media are invaluable tools for those of us who aren’t that into late nights out. Join one of our #ShowbizChat discussions and you are guaranteed to “meet” someone new. Or reach out to someone whose work you recently saw and tell them how much you loved it! You are networking, my friend. It’s just that simple.

Volunteer — Reach out to Off-Broadway theaters whose work you admire, get in touch with your favorite local film festival, or email anyone whose showbiz values seem to align closely with yours and offer the gift of your time. You will meet incredible people, do good, and impress people around you for your gumption. Yes, I just used the work gumption.

Create something — One of the best ways to authentically network with those around you is to create something yourself! Whether it’s a self-produced project you need to hire people for (people love someone who can give them work!), or a showbiz blog (why do you think I started Green Room Blog? 🙂 ), or starting a new podcast and interviewing guests, there are so many ways to get excited about creating content that give you a chance to network with the collaborators you bring onboard.

So there you go — a few of my favorite ways to network without networking in that icky way that everyone hates. What are your favorite non-networking ways to network?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2014 11:17 am

    I love this topic! Networking gets such a bad rap because most of us think it means we have to sell ourselves. Really it’s just connecting with others and sharing who we are so that decision makers can decide whether or not we’re right for their projects. (I stole part of that from Dallas Travers).

    I’ve recently attended a couple of gala/fundraising events and had a blast! I was meeting people I wanted to work with, but didn’t have to sell myself to anyone. I was simply mingling and chatting and having fun. You’re right on track, Redhead Actress….its’ really that simple 🙂

    • December 18, 2014 9:31 am

      Funny how overcomplicated we can make things sometimes, right? It really is just meeting people and chatting and sharing a connection.

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  2. December 25, 2014 3:41 pm

    Reblogged this on ShowCaller.

  3. December 25, 2014 3:42 pm

    I love the hashtag! Some really great tips; I’m a huge fan of using social media to network.

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