Meet New People (Before You Ask for Anything)

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.

Paul Garbett, Beach Crow, Oil on canvas

Paul Garbett, Beach Crow. Oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches. ©The Artist

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.

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16 comments to Meet New People (Before You Ask for Anything)

  • Thank you for sharing this Alyson. It is always a pleasure to read your articles and listen to your podcasts. The information you share is priceless.

    About meeting people and making virtual connections. One thing that I would suggest is be genuine, or be your true self when meeting others, and always offer help and contribute to online communities rather than just asking for favors or trying to sell something. It will distinguish you as a solid source.

    • Beau: Yes! That’s exactly right. Be the same person you are online that you are offline. It takes effort to contribute to online communities, but it’s important to not always be the Taker.

  • Hi Alyson, T hank you for your newsletter/blog. Getting to know myself better through the years of blogging and teaching have helped me more than anything to be able to articulate my thoughts about my art. Also meeting and greeting through shows at my studio have helped too. I used to be so intense that I came off very insecure about the value of my art.
    Thank Beau for your insight about trying to sell something through conversations on LinkedIn for example. It’s a turnoff. Contribute something instead.

  • This post comes at a great time for me. I have been updating my mailing list and I am just starting with LinkedIn. I hope to re-connect with lots of people soon and am also looking forward to meeting new people. If anyone could tell me about groups on LinkedIn that I can look into I’d love to know. I looked at the group directory by searching “artists” and “sculpture,” but it was a bit overwhelming.

  • Alex, Alyson has a discussion group on Linked In. It’s called Art Business, strangely enough. :)

  • I still havent figured out how to find discussion groups on LinkedIn. I can manage to delve into the innards of my computer, clone and swap my boot hard drive, but I can’t navigate through LinkedIn. Is that peculiar or what?!

    I’m going to try again and request to join the discussion there.

    Patricai (who is justifiably proud of her updated website http://vener-art.com and welcomes your visit)

  • Alyson, meeting new people is the most difficult part for most artists including myself… as your book’s title states “I’d rather be in the studio” :-) I have my fan page and personal facebook page, twitter and blog and all of these venues require a lot of promotion and time to meet people. I wish there was an easy button…. but it requires a lot of effort indeed….. haven’t tried LinkedIn… not sure I need to add another site to the list… Or should I? Great articles and it was very nice meeting you! Helen

    • No such thing as an Easy button (though that did make me smile). If you actually have a physical art gallery, I’d recommend LinkedIn to connect with potential buyers.

      Remember: Nothing worth having is ever easy.

  • Alyson, I know…. and I agree with “Nothing worth having is ever easy.”

  • Thank you Alyson, I used one of the links you provided above. :)

    –Patricia

  • [...] Collector I buy art from artists I meet and like. You really should meet more people and be nice to [...]

  • Thanks for sharing. I must say that all of these will help others to hide their fear in meeting people. By this, they will gain their self confidence.