HOW TO NETWORK
If you are a creative practitioner, networking is an important part of discovering new opportunities for yourself and other people. However, knowing where to start and how to network is sometimes difficult. We’ve put together a guide to make the most of networking opportunities in Plymouth.
The Golden Rules of Networking
- You aren’t networking just for yourself – help other people you meet and connect them to useful contacts and opportunities you know about
- You are only ever 1 or 2 people away from a useful opportunity
- Make a good impression – if you say you will do something for someone, do it!
- Your aim is to inspire trust in yourself – if people trust you and value your work, they will want to work with you in the future
Join Some Networks
Social Media Networks
Get “in the know”
Join Facebook groups such as Plymouth Art Network to keep a tab on the latest arts news in Plymouth. Follow arts institutions on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook who you are interested in (you can also find the people who work at each institution and follow them too – here’s the Twitter accounts for Plymouth Culture’s Director Dom Jinks and Communications Officer Joe Meldrum). Keep up to date with organisations such as Arts Council England, A-N and Art Quest for more general arts news and advice. Artory is a great app for discovering what events are happening in Plymouth’s cultural scene.
Make some great contacts
This is vital for meeting great contacts in your sector. Plymouth has some great arts networks such as PAC Home (a group for contemporary artists) which have excellent opportunities such as residencies, professional development advice and visits from major artists. Find out about what networks are operating in Plymouth in your arts sector:
Discover new people
Events are a great way to chat to and meet people who are working in your sector. For those of you who are interested in fine art, exhibition openings are prime networking opportunities. Talking with bands and venues after gigs is ideal for musicians, and for anyone who is interested in developing their theatre career it is always good to chat to the cast, producers and venue after a show. There’s more about talking to and approaching people in the section below.
Don’t be afraid to email and message people if you have something you’d like to ask them. Most large arts institutions are funded to help advise and develop talent which is great news if you have a professional question to ask (in our experience, nearly everyone in the arts is more than happy to direct you towards others who may be able to help you). For larger organisations, find out who is the best person for you to contact and email or phone them. If you can’t find find the right person, reception or general enquires will get you in touch.
On Twitter and Facebook, don’t be pushy and don’t spam your creative work on to people – this can make a bad impression on people who might be useful contacts in the future.
Although this can seem intimidating to people who are new to networking, it is one of the most crucial aspects of unlocking new opportunities for yourself and people you meet. The most important rule to remember is that you are not just approaching someone to promote yourself, you are looking to see if you know any information or contacts which may be useful to them. This can only be done by getting to know the person and understanding their work.
If you have already made contact with a person or an organisation online, this can be a great ice-breaker and an easy excuse to talk to them. This is also why it is so useful to join professional networks (such as PAC Home for artists) – the arts world is a small world and you may well recognise people from your professional networks at other events.
There are some great guide on top tips for networking online – here are a few for you below: