ANONYMOUS ADVICE – I Know a ‘Network’ is Important, but How Do I Build It?

0


:
I Know a ‘Network’ is Important, but How Do I Build It?

brings together professionals from different parts of the industry to share advice they wish they had heard along their journey. We reached out to colleagues and asked them to share wisdom and experiences with an eye for advice that might shorten the trajectory of a writer or executive trying to take their to the next level. Why anonymous? We want our contributors to feel they can share openly and honestly, with the best intentions of our readers in mind, rather than with concern over judgement. These are opinions viewed through the lenses of insightful hindsight and do not necessarily represent the Tracking-Board or its partners.
Have some advice, an uplifting or eventful story you’d like to share, or need to vent? Please send ideas and credentials to [email protected]. Paid gig, if accepted and used.

Be sure to stay up to date on all previous Anonymous Advice by clicking here!

***

If you’re reading this you’re probably invested enough that you’ve already built somewhat of a network, or would really like to expand your professional relationships, but how do you take that up another level?

1) Where Do I Begin?

Join tracking boards and networking groups. Reach out to your industry friends and colleagues and ask if they are apart of any “boards”. I was on my third industry desk before a boss mandated that I join some boards. I hadn’t even ever heard of them at that point in my , little did I know at the time how significantly they’d impact my trajectory in a most positive way. When I confessed to my boss that I had no idea what he was talking about, he looked at me quizzically like he had made a mistake in hiring me and told me I better start asking some of my more savvy friends about them. Networking & tracking boards are groups where people share material, favors, advice, and information. They are typically run on a Google group or Facebook group platform and they often have monthly or quarterly meetups and mixers. They are built on personal referrals, which makes for a curated group of professionally driven likeminded people.

2) I Got Accepted to a Board, Now What?

Go to these mixers! Since this industry infrastructure thrives over business breakfasts / coffee / lunches / drinks, once you’re at these mixers, it’s pretty easy to ask the person you’re chatting with to coffee or drinks, as they are there for that reason too. So meet six new people and fill your calendar after work until the next mixer and keep that cycle going. Thinking back to my first mixer – I can still vividly remember driving there solo, riddled with high school dance level anxiety, to seemingly meet a group of fancy intimidating strangers, but little did I know – I’d meet one of my eventual best friends in awkward conversation number two, and then go on that night to plant the seeds that would eventually materialize into a multitude of professional relationships that would blossom into the foundations of future business strategy over the next decade.

3) How Do I Interact With the Board?

You’ll want to engage with the requests and board-discourse as much as possible. If you can help with someone’s request – do it! People will be searching for scripts, asking for contacts, compiling lists of talent and requesting help to fulfill their boss’s demands. Helping people whenever possible is how you start to build up karma, favors and a good reputation. You’ve got a script someone needs? Send it (and ask them to keep it on the DL). Your boss pays for Studio System and someone requests a contact? Be the first to share that contact. Once you do, these are great opportunities to send a follow-up email saying “Hey, I’d love to take you out to a drink or coffee after work some time to hear about what you’ve got going on and connect in person.” That friendly helpful approach will almost never get turned down. In no time your calendar will be stacked with cool individuals from all walks of this industry.

4) I’ve Got a Meeting, but How Do I Make It Go Well?

Giving a good meeting is important because it will leave a lasting impression. Once you link up with your colleague in person, it’s good practice to try and make the meeting feel centered around the person across the table rather than yourself. Bond over your journey to LA, think about how you can help each other now in your current positions, and be sure to ask about their future goals and overall dreams and share your own. You’ll be properly informed to help each other along the journey. Your goal is to make a personal connection rather than forcing some business agenda, but that is not to say you shouldn’t have any professional agenda at all – you definitely should. Research the company your new colleague works for, see if there is overlap with yours and site commonalities to drive a strong conversation. Check Facebook and see if you’re friends-in-common. If nerves get the best of you, or the meet isn’t flowing as you hoped, you can always fall back on questions about which neighborhood you each live in, hometowns, or what shows and movies you’ve seen lately to keep the convo going and gain personal insight.

5) How Do I Keep This Up?

Make your meetings beget more meetings. After you’ve had a great meeting, and the two of you have a good idea of each other’s sensibilities, always ask who is someone else they think you should really meet and offer up an intro in return. Next thing you know, the meetings will be daisy-chaining together and over time your relationships will flourish and compound on themselves giving you the base of a solid network.  After a few years time your connections will all be ascending together, gaining formidable traction and reach. I can trace one of my closest relationships (see: great friend / great colleague) to implementing this move and I’m so thankful I asked this key question at the end of a sitdown. Once you have a solid base of contacts gaining steam, don’t forget to nurture those relationships along the way. Check-in with people often, get together periodically to drum up business, and always take people out after they get a new to congratulate, celebrate and recalibrate.

It may be tough to drag yourself to mixers on the weekend or after a long day work…

…or to overcome the social anxiety of meeting new people and putting yourself out there, but all your colleagues are going through that as well, so there is camaraderie built into this process and the bonds you build along the way will plant the seeds for future projects and business. I have projects with instrumental components / people aboard, whose origins I can trace back to a time I peeled myself off the couch and showed-up and met someone new, who ultimately impacted my life and my projects in a tremendous way. I often marvel at the notion of ‘what if I hadn’t made it out the door that day?’ and then count my blessings and thank myself that I did.

***

Enjoy Anonymous Advice? Be sure to stay up to date on all previous articles here!

Have some advice, an uplifting or eventful story you’d like to share, or need to vent? Please send ideas and credentials to [email protected]. Paid gig, if accepted and used.

brings together professionals from different parts of the industry to share advice they wish they had heard along their journey. We reached out to colleagues and asked them to share wisdom and experiences with an eye for advice that might shorten the trajectory of a writer or executive trying to take their to the next level. Why anonymous? We want our contributors to feel they can share openly and honestly, with the best intentions of our readers in mind, rather than with concern over judgement. These are opinions viewed through the lenses of insightful hindsight and do not necessarily represent the Tracking-Board or its partners.

Whether working the mailroom on your first day or a seasoned producer selling their next hit, each of us can look back on our past and find that bit of advice we wish we had starting out. We hope these columns can refresh us on the truisms we’ve heard before, explore the obvious ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moment, or dive deep into the hard-to-swallow words we all need to hear from time to time. None of us get it right the first time, and so these guest writers open up from their personal experiences to help shine a light for the rest of us.

Share.

Leave A Reply