Your network of friends, artists, family and acquaintances is your most important asset. But don’t stop there! You must keep meeting new people–those who can help with your career and enrich your life.
Always remember: It’s more comfortable to introduce yourself when you’re not asking for something. That’s why it’s important to meet people and build professional relationships before you need to ask for their help.
Whom would you like to meet?
Who would be good contacts for you to make?
After you’ve identified people you’d like to get to know, embrace the attitude that you do not want anything immediately from them. You might request their opinions and ideas, but you will not be asking for a gallery exhibition, a feature article, or sponsorship.
You can choose to meet people in one of two ways: online or in person.
1. Introduce yourself virtually.
Google the names of people you’re interested in meeting. Find out as much as you should know. You have a genuine interest in who they are and what they do (or you should). You would be remiss not to do your research.
Follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook (with a proper introduction, of course), and connect with them on LinkedIn.
Contribute to the conversation on their blog or Facebook wall. Don’t just “Like” something. Add value to the dialog.
Before you know it, the people you’d most like to meet will remember your name.
2. Meet them face-to-face.
Ask your current contacts if they either know the person you’re interested in meeting or if they might know of someone who is connected with the person. A personal introduction is the best way to meet someone because there is an initial element of trust.
Attend events at which this person might also be present. Ask someone to introduce you or gather your courage and introduce yourself.
Send postcards and introductions to your new contacts, but don’t hound them and don’t add them to a bulk email list. By the time you get around to asking for a meeting, they’ll already be familiar with your name!
FINAL WORD: It’s easier than ever to meet people, but it requires effort. The results will be worth your time. Don’t lament that you’re not connected. Do something about it!
Join the Cultivate Collectors class to focus on nurturing and expanding your contact list. It starts June 23.