So my husband is also a photographer, some of my clients know that but most of the time it doesn’t come up. David is a stills photographer in the film and television industry, he’s the guy that works on the sets and takes the publicity photos you see in magazines. He occasionally does the ‘gallery’ or seamless shots for publicity departments, and I happened to be asked to assist him today. I have to admit that once or twice a year it’s sometimes nice to be just the assistant and hang out!
Anyway, today we are sitting waiting (there’s a lot of hurry up and wait in the film world), and one of the actors we shot just came back to say ‘bye, thanks and hope to see you again.’ His manner stood out significantly as one who had been schooled in networking; I just had to write about him!
Jake had a bright, extrovert, up-beat nature that you often see with actors but not always with dancers. He came right over and shook everyone’s hand with eye contact and made sure he knew your first name. He used his body language to indicate he was interested in everyone he spoke with, from the photographer (Dave) to the assistant (me), to the production co-ordinaries. If the guy who had brought up the catering had been there I’m sure he would have done so with him as well.
When he was finished the shoot he made sure to exchange Instagram feeds with everyone and I actually do think he was the type to stay in touch, if only to see the pictures when they were used.

rachel neville career tips for dancers networkingKaeli Coleman and Forrest Rain Olivers, Dancers Photo Rachel Neville

Clearly his personality was helpful and extroverts have an easier time with these types of situations.  But when you don’t know where your next job is coming from we could do well to pay attention to those who are more skilled at networking than we are.

Keys to Good Networking

1. Make eye contact
Do not waver, indicate enough interest and intensity to be sure you will not be forgotten.
2. Express appreciation
Make everyone feel like they were necessary and you are glad they were all there.
3. Work the room
Make sure to connect and say a quick goodbye to as many people as possible.
4. Make a genuine connection
Like Jake, show that you are interested in staying in touch with people and offer your social media as a way to do so.
5. Ask questions
I noticed that if our actor friend didn’t know what to say, he found a way to ask a question, even if it was to ask for a name again.
Jake gave me the impression that he had been networking in the film industry since he was a child… practice is often what we all need to be that good at networking.  These tips will surely help you practice your skills at your next audition, workshop, class or event.

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