A LITTLE ADVICE FOR THE RETICENT NETWORKER.
July 2021 | Eva Adams
So once you have an idea of what you want to do, you then have to put that into practice, but where to start, as I’ve said before MFJF is a great place. But the next thing one needs to do is get out there! And unfortunately although we are in the digital age, and Facebook and Twitter can be great tools when it comes to making connections you are, I’m afraid, going to have to make the step from theoretically meeting people to actually meeting them!
Thus, we move to networking events. I know this may seem like a daunting concept and to be honest shear laziness can rears its ugly head in these situations. But do not despair, networking events can actually be really fun and extremely helpful!
Now, as I hope you have gathered I don’t really want to sugar coat things for you, I like to tell you things as I have experienced them. Networking can feel a bit awkward and embarrassing, but guess what? Everyone is there for you to take advantage of them so it’s okay for you to shamelessly ask for as many email addresses and business cards as you can.
I do not look upon myself as particularly shy, and I find it quite easy to start conversations with people I don’t know. However, networking events can be nerve-racking.
Here are some websites to get you started with your networking. I have mentioned before I have mainly worked in TV, but I still think attending these media events can be a good way to practice networking and TV and film can crossover anyway.
BAFTA – I have attended a few events here and they are great for both TV and film, they also do lots of behind the scenes photography exhibits, and screenings which are fun to attend too.
Broadcast Magazine – You can subscribe to this online or get a paper subscription. This is predominantly for TV but it is great to see what the people who are the movers and shakers in the industry are thinking, and this is also how I found out about the Media Production Show which was a great event with lots of conversation panels about Movies/TV/VFX and many more, plus lots of kit demos, cameras etc.
Royal Television Society – Another great website that does a lot of panel discussion events.
Women in Film and TV – They are a bit pricey to join, but they do a networking event every first Tuesday of the Month.
So how do you go about circulating at a networking event? Yes it does feel awkward when you walk into a room and don’t know anyone. First things first, go and grab a drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic) Most people tend to congregate around the bar, so smile and have an open posture, remember look confident and you are 50% there.
‘Hi I’m…Nice to meet you, what brings you to this event?’ – A nice open question I think
‘Hi I’m…Who are you most interested in hearing from today?’
‘Hi I’m…Come to many of the events here? Is this your first one?’
I mean these are in no way perfect opening lines, so apologies, but you get my gist. Remember that you are worthwhile and people should be just as lucky to talk to you and vice versa.
The advice I have given you is more what to do in practice. But of course first things first, you have to get yourself there, and really all that requires is a bit of gumption, which us folks in the media industry have in spades.
As the famous producer Kate Harwood* says ‘everyone has a story’ so go find it!
If all else fails ‘whenever you feel afraid, hold your head erect and whistle a happy tune…make believe you’re brave and the trick will take you far’
Good Luck! And Go get ‘em!
Musical Quotes are from the King and I
*Kate Harwood – British Producer, famous in the industry because she built the reputation of Eastenders into the successful soap it is today. Quote is paraphrased from her panel discussion at the Media Production Show.
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