In person, unless I know you, I can be on the shy side. Therefore I find it incredibly difficult to ‘network’ or interact face to face. I’m more than happy to help any one else out if I can, but find it pretty difficult to ask for help myself. Case in point, I was having trouble with a blog post and asked my brother for help. His reply, “Why don’t you ask someone who actually reads? Like that group you belong to on Facebook.”
It wasn’t like I hadn’t thought about doing this, but I didn’t want to impose. Instead I chose to ask someone who, although supportive of me, really couldn’t have helped. So I plucked up the courage and did. I posted the link to my blog post and asked for feedback, the good and the bad so that I could improve. And the people were awesome and did it! I was stoked and then began to rethink my approach to networking.
In this day and age technology is pretty awesome (can’t wait to see what it’s like in 20 years!) and allows you to connect with people all over the world quickly. But the benefit is that it does allow you a little time to think about your response, unlike real life. In real life my face gives me away long before I open my mouth. There is a reason I have never won a game of poker or chess. And unless I’m confident about the situation or the people I’m with, I’m very quiet. I’m getting better. I go to events on my own and things like that, I just don’t always make the best impression, fading into the background. And that’s not great for networking.
So after my success with my post I approached things a bit differently. I started encouraging other people on social media like I would if I knew them instead of being quiet like I would in a real life situation. I started networking. I share other people’s successes and commiserate when they have a set back. If they ask for help and I think I can give it I do or alternatively ask for help myself.
There is generally something happening somewhere within the creative community and you know what, I don’t really see it as networking. These people are people on a journey like myself and we really need to support one another and ultimately that is what networking is, helping one another. Celebrating another person’s success doesn’t stop your own and in fact makes it sweeter when you do succeed because they celebrate with you. And those same people are generally there when things don’t go your way, helping you to get back up. So thank you technology for giving this sometimes shy person a way to network.