Networking Tips for
By Day’s Lee - Writer
and Montreal Film Group member
I have been networking
for over a dozen years. I’m not a great schmoozer, but I’m a lot more comfortable
walking into a room full of strangers and introducing myself now than I was at
the beginning. I used to be afraid that if I spoke, people would think that I
couldn’t write. (Logically, I don’t know how I made that connection. Fear is an
For those who are new
at networking, I would like to offer the following tips. If you’re a seasoned networker,
skip this article and move on to the other great news the MFG has to
- Wear a name
tag. The MFG provides
name tags when you pay at the door. Put it high on your right shoulder.
Writing your profession below your name is an ice breaker. It allows
someone like me to walk up to you and say, “Hi, I’m a writer too. What do
- Say hello. It’s easier to approach someone who is
alone than a group of people who are already engaged in conversation. Remember,
everyone who attends these events wants to talk to someone. Just walk up
to the person and introduce yourself. You will almost never meet someone
who will not return a friendly smile and a handshake.
- Make eye
contact. Look around the
room. You will see other people are also looking for a way to make
contact. If you catch someone’s eye, smile, walk up to them and introduce
cards. Be sure to bring
them. The people you meet will want to know how to contact you, where to
go see your latest show, project, book, etc.
- Printing your
own cards is okay, but it’s better to get them done professionally. I
printed my own cards for over a year and when I finally got them done
professionally, a prospective client said, “Oh, you finally got rid of
those cheap cards.” If you really want to create your own, use
non-perforated cards. (Perforated cards scream “Amateur!”) Remember, your
cards represent you when you can’t be there, and you always want to look
- Don’t use
words like “aspiring,” “hopeful,” or “wannabe” to describe yourself.
Business cards have a long shelf life. I still have cards from writers I
met at conferences years ago. When I look at the cards now, I know that
person is a writer. Period. Be proud of yourself for studying and/or working
towards your goal of being a writer, director, producer, etc. Besides, would
you hire or recommend someone who printed “Aspiring Accountant” or
“Wannabe Divorce Lawyer” on their cards?
track. As soon as you get
home, write down on the back of the card any information about this
person, such as where you met, the date, or other information you gathered
during your conversation. There’s nothing more agonizing than getting
business cards from several producers only to forget which one asked to
see your script.
- Staying in
touch. If you think you
made a good contact, you may want to send an e-mail, no longer than a
paragraph, a day or two after the event to say you enjoyed meeting the
person. If you promised to send some information, be sure to do it. Check
your spelling and grammar before you send your e-mail.
yourself. Networking is
all about making contacts for the present and the future, meeting
like-minded people and learning more about your profession. If you meet one
person you have something in common with, then you’ve done well, but count
your lucky stars if you made a friend.
Reprinted by the Montreal
Film Group with permission from Day’s Lee. ©2008 Day’s Lee
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