Regardless of what stage you are in your career, it is important to develop a strong network. Having a strong network with like-minded people in your industry gives you the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. It can also strengthen your connection to your industry and provide a sense of belonging. Not sure where to start when it comes to building and maintaining a strong network? Keep reading for some of our top tips:
Your network can never be too big, but when it comes to building strong, authentic connections it can be a good idea to start small. Analyse your current network, identify any gaps and where your efforts would be best focussed. Are you a script writer and your current network is almost entirely other writers? Research directors, producers and distributors in your area, who might be able to turn your script into a production.
2. Reach Out
Once you have your list of potential contacts, start to reach out. If cold-emailing feels out of character for you, try sending a professional LinkedIn message. Suggest catching up for coffee or organising a quick lunchtime Zoom chat. Remember, this meeting is not about you asking for a job. Ask for their ideas and advice on how you can achieve your current goals, whilst remaining conscious of their time.
3. Give Back
Networking is a two-way street. To maintain long-term, strong connections you need to ensure you’re giving as much as you get. Before your initial meeting, think about what you bring to the table. What can you offer your contact that they can’t get elsewhere? This could be connected to your skills or as simple as an introduction to someone else in your network. Once you have provided an offer, make sure you follow up immediately – the same day if you can. Your new contact will appreciate your diligence and increase the chances of creating a lasting connection.
Find common ground with your new contact outside of work, whilst keeping things professional, to help strengthen your connection. This could be a common interest in a television show, movie etc. Having common ground allows you the chance to connect informally and provides you with additional opportunities to provide value to your contact, keeping you top of mind.
When you are coming up with ideas or developing projects, consider what might be mutually beneficial for you and your network. Reach out to see if they would be interested in collaborating in either the development or execution of the project. Developing projects together can provide the opportunity to grow your professional relationships and strengthen connections.
If you’re looking to expand your network, join us on Thursdays 1pm (AEST) for Ask & You Shall Receive, a free online networking event for supporters of Media Mentors Australia.
Book your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/ask-you-shall-receive-tickets-193173626517?fbclid=IwAR0IC9p-2S9pxqpgWVaYIKzQ7ePjkx7GRuw4gtRJtuSzcDUcl4rkg9WMXjw