Does “networking” fill you with dread? Read on…

As the Christmas party season is upon us I thought we could touch on that dreaded word …”networking”. I mean it does sound pretty scary, it has the word net in it so immediately images come to mind of being a tuna, alongside a lot of other tuna in a huge net, struggling to break free to get back to swimmingly along and having a lovely old time. Maybe that’s just me… Anyway, networking doesn’t have to be a scary thing, after all its just chatting.

Top Chat tips

Smile – however silly it sounds the first step is smile! If you look approachable and friendly people are more likely to want to chat. A smile can be an instant ice breaker.

Get ready for the launch! Don’t launch into the conversation with what you do and your recent accolades as it can be a real conversation killer. It’s important to promote yourself but pick the right moment.

Opening Gambit – It’s always good to open with a question (after “Hello” of course): “How do you know the host?”, “How have you been?”, “Have you been to a [insert company name] event before”. If you want to be a bit more adventurous you can even go for “I love your shoes, where did you get them?” and “Have you tried the finger food? It’s delicious and apparently its only from Iceland”.

Connect – If you want to build a connection with the person, a good tip is to try to make the conversation all about them, initially. Show a real interest in what they do/say and they will always appreciate and reciprocate.  When they ask you what you do, it’s your chance to promote yourself.

Party tips

Business cards – so you have ace’d the chatting and now the conversation is coming to an end so you say “it was lovely to meet you, here’s my card” and hand over a beautifully designed business card with all of your details. ALWAYS bring business cards to events and ALWAYS and keep them within easy reach, so you don’t have to start rummaging through your handbag/manbag. Try and swap business cards so you have their details too.

Alcohol – I know its a party but if you are there for business you shouldn’t be drinking like its a party! Having a drink in your hand is a sociable thing and can also give you an excuse to get out of dragging situations “I’m just going to get another”. However, try and make your drink last and if you can’t sip it, resort to water in between glasses. We all know we can say things we normally wouldn’t dream of, when we’ve had a few! Make sure this doesn’t happen with business contacts, no matter how friendly you may be! A silly remark can scar or even end a business relationship!

So go forth and chat! After all, the arts industries are all about who you know – so go out and meet them at a Christmas party!

Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is one penguin with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping my way into the arts industry and helping creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact me any time for penguin chats via email: or waddle over to my