Networking is one of the most valuable things you can do as a comedian and business owner. Networking at events can help gain larger fan bases/audiences, make new industry connections, secure bookings and gain new followers/customers. A great networking strategy can be the key to finding new supporters and partners that will help to grow your career and business.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to network successfully. In addition to time constraints, the initial introduction phase can be awkward when you’re trying to make new connections. Test these strategies to make sure you’re making the most of your time networking…
Make It a Daily Habit
The more you practice networking as a daily habit, the more naturally it will fit into your day.
Rather than setting aside an hour a week where you can go and talk to people who could help your business to grow, you use five minutes each day. Start each morning by sending emails to others within your network online. Take an additional five minutes to connect with your peers on social media. It won’t be long before you begin to see results.
Leverage New Connections
Networking isn’t just about building new relationships. There’s a good chance that you already have some awesome connections within your network that you aren’t using to their full potential. Take a look at your existing network. Who can help introduce you to important figures in your space?
Get to know your fans and colleagues. Learn about their backgrounds. Grab lunches with people as often as you can when you have the opportunity. Look for chances to get to know new people through your current network. You might discover that your internal network has a lot more value to offer than you originally thought.
Make the Most of Existing Activities
Make the most of your current social activities. Use these moments to make the most of your networking strategy? If you regularly volunteer at non-profit organizations, play kickball, or attend a book club, try striking up a conversation with people in different environments than which you typically network. Even if you don’t gain any new connections, making the time to practice your networking skills will benefit you in the long run. You can gain followers and fans anywhere — from your gym to the laundromat. Taking time to practice and sharpen your networking skills is a more valuable than most people realize.
Use your Calendar. Set Reminders.
Staying organized will help increase your opportunities for networking. Schedule times to reach out to potential partners and new industry contacts into your calendar.
Plan to attend at least one networking event each month — even if it’s an online event. Make a list of the events that you most want to attend and add them to your calendar. Doing so ensure you have plenty of time to prepare, and guarantees you will have time for at least one opportunity each month. Chances are that you won’t be able to attend most events at the last minute, but you can attend the most important ones by planning in advance.
Use Social Media
Social media is currently one of the most popular and convenient ways to network.
Make a little time each day to go through your online connections and reach out to a handful of contacts each day. Don’t let yourself fall down the social media rabbit hole. Set a timer, so you can avoid getting distracted for too long. The key to successful networking on social media is ensuring that you don’t let it eat up too much of your day.
Networking is vitally important for your success of your career and business. Continue looking for new ways to grow your network and finetune your social skills. It won’t be long before you can perform critical networking activities without it giving it a second thought. If networking is as much of a habit as brushing your teeth or your hair, then it starts to feel more natural.
By: Hillary Hutson