7 Ways to Be a Better Networker

Networking in person will help you as a filmmaker meet awesome collaborators and grow your contact base. But, it can be a challenge to navigate conferences, meet-ups, and mixers, all the while making a good impression and remembering to hand out your card.

Here's the thing: putting yourself out there, meeting people, and taking risks is key to becoming a successful filmmaker. Even more, if you're new to filmmaking or consider yourself an introvert, there will always be other people in the room who are feeling just like you do! 

Networking is challenging, but will help you grow as a filmmaker!

Networking is challenging, but will help you grow as a filmmaker!

Once you show up, how can you make the most out of networking events to make lasting connections? Here's our list of tools, tips, and apps to help you be a better networker:

1. Have a business card

Bring cards...lots of cards.

Bring cards...lots of cards.

We know, we know, this may seem obvious. But seriously, have a business card….have lots of business cards, and make sure you bring them with you when you’re schmoozing.

Don’t have a card and don’t know where to start? Never fear, just visit moo.com. You can create a set of 50 customized business cards starting at just $19.99.

2. Keep your information up to date

Now that you’ve got your cards ready to go, make sure that the information on there—like your website or your LinkedIn profile—is current.

It’s easy to forget to post your new reel or upload your latest project. But keep in mind that if you make a connection, they will probably look you up. So make sure your links work and that you’re always refreshing your web presence. You want people to find accurate information—and an accurate representation of you and your work!

3. Have a great site or landing page

On the topic of your web presence, it really pays off to have a stellar site or landing page to show people. There are tons of options out there if you don’t already have a site—Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and Wordpress are all easy to use and affordable. We’re big fans of Squarespace, which has templates to help you build a simple site or basic landing page to display your contact info, social media sharing links, portfolio, and more. Plus, it only costs $12 a month. That’s the same price as a fancy salad, and totally worth it to help set your web presence apart.

4. Get a professional email address

Gmail is great, there’s no denying that. But an @gmail.com email address isn’t so great...it will make you look like an amateur. Take your email from personal to professional with Google Apps. You can easily create an email address that matches your business name. That way, every time you communicate with a potential lead or client, they’ll know you mean business and that you aren’t a newbie.

Have a system to follow up on leads and stay in touch

Have a system to follow up on leads and stay in touch

5. Have a system for capturing leads

Let’s say you met 7 people and potential leads at last night’s meet-up. Great job! Now how will you move forward and stay in touch? It's a good idea to have a system in place to log your contacts. Whether that be jotting down notes after the event, or scanning the business cards you collected with a handy app, it’s important to keep track of your potential leads so you can make the most of them. Check out the App Store for some card scanner apps—SamCard, CamCard, Haystack, and Foxcard are all available for download to help organize your contacts so you can stay in touch.

6. Follow up

And now that you have those leads, it’s crucial to follow up and engage. You don’t have to sell yourself or your product, this is about making a connection. Email to say hi! Or take a new connection to coffee to learn more about their needs and goals. Show a genuine interest in following up and getting to know your lead...remember, you’re trying to leave a good, and lasting, impression.

The best follow up technique? Send a handwritten thank you card or note to their office. The time and care it takes to send an actual letter stands out in a digital world, and will help set you apart from the crowd.

7. Remember to ABS

We saved the most important tip for last: no matter what, ABS. That stands for Always Be Smiling. When you’re meeting people, remember to be positive, friendly, and engaging. Who wouldn’t want to talk to you then? Keep that smiling tone even in follow up emails. People love working with nice people, and enthusiasm is catching.

With these tips and tools, you'll be an expert networker in no time. What are your networking tips and tricks? Share your wisdom with your fellow Story & Heart community members on Twitter by tweeting us @storyandheart!

Cover image from At Work by FilmLab Creative. License this story here