Everyone should be able to do one card trick, tell two jokes, and recite three poems, in case they are ever trapped in an elevator. -Lemony Snicket
If you want to be a ‘working’ creative, you need to know how to market yourself. Marketing yourself is often quite different to marketing a business – it can’t be anonymous, it can’t be at arms length.
The most effective means of marketing yourself is usually through your network – and you need to keep constantly keep growing that network. And that’s were networking comes in.
I have actually been “teaching” people how to network for many, many years. It was a weird concept for me initially – I was a good networker, but breaking down what I did was difficult. Can something that comes naturally to some be taught to others? The answer is…of course! But it just means some of us will have to try a little harder to master it than others.
It also felt a little “dirty”, the whole “networking” thing, until I distilled it down to what I REALLY think good networking is about:
Look for a chance to GIVE before you RECEIVE … thereby earning the right to ask a favour (at some point in the future).
Giving before receiving isn’t as hard as it sounds – it can be small things – from talking to the shy person at an event, to giving a compliment, sharing information you come across, passing on a lead, or even suggesting a great book/article/blog.
So once you approach networking with this mindset, it feels a lot more natural. If you go in desperately ‘wanting’, you’ll put people off – desperation and need are as large a put-off as a blatant sales pitch.
Networking can happen anywhere – from barbeques to school pick up to a bar to an actual formal industry or networking event.
Networking events are great because people are there to network – but there are ways and means to get more from them.
So what should you actually do? And almost as importantly, what shouldn’t you do?
- Get there a little early-and stay right to the end. Introduce yourself to the host if you can. And if you have the opportunity, explain why you’re there. They can often point you in the right direction.
- Go with a plan or an objective. How many people are you going to try to speak to? One or several? Are you just going to try and meet the presenter perhaps? Or the event organiser? Are you going to see how others network? Would you like to connect with potential collaborators? (Note: In a half hour time allocation for networking, you would only expect to speak PROPERLY to 2-3 people.)
- Listen for commonality in conversations, and give some information about yourself when you speak. Networking, like any social interaction, is about finding some common ground to help drive the conversation or connection. Networking events are not the time to be quiet or hold back! Similarly, they are not the time to only talk about yourself. Ask a LOT of questions and you’ll find networking a lot easier, and more revealing.
- Have business cards – and a pen handy. The pen is to write on the cards you receive, to remind yourself of how you met them or any relevant follow up. The business cards are to hand out IF you want to communicate with the person again. Don’t hand them out unless you’re prepared to be contacted. (The other option increasingly is just to connect immediately via Linked In.)
- Don’t hide in a corner, or surf Facebook, or text. Stand somewhere central, be open, catch people’s eyes. At business events people are there to speak, there to connect. Make it easy for them to connect with you.
- Don’t only speak about work. Unless you’re a super -engaged, super-excited entrepreneur or artist, most people’s key passion isn’t their work. They much prefer to speak about their weekends, hobbies, travel, families, what they really want to do for work, etc. If you’re looking for faster connections, don’t open with “what do you do?”. Instead ask what they’re hoping to get out of the event or what they did/plan to do on the weekend. You can get to the work part eventually, but it’s not the ideal conversation starter. It can feel too forced and makes a connection a little harder.
- Don’t come unprepared to describe what you do if someone asks, or it does come up. You should have ready a means to explain your business/work in 2-3 sentences, without a bunch of jargon. Most people, on the spot, are AWFUL at explaining what they do. They give you very little – for example, a title only – or waffle on and yet still leaves you wondering what they do / what’s special about what they do and how you can possibly say anything interesting about it.
- Don’t forget to follow up. If you’ve taken a card, or have a name, send a quick follow up email, or a LinkedIn connection request. The whole point of networking is that it’s a LONG TERM proposition.
I hope that helps – and please share any other networking tips if you have them!
Our creative people series has unearthed all sort of creative talents which you can check out in our Interviews section. Today’s feature, Tayla Goding. is one of those young, energetic, creative entrepreneurs that make you wonder what took you so long to start a business!
At the ripe old age of 21, and from the seaside town of Coffs Harbour, she started ‘Made With Love‘ in 2011 on Valentines Day. Three years later she says she is loving where Made With Love has taken her both personally, creatively and professionally.
Meet…card designer & all-round creative lady Talya Goding
Tayla says that over the years she’s faced many adversities and the light at the end of her long and dark tunnel,was through expressing herself creatively.
She now loves the challenge of custom orders as she says “every customer’s enquiry is unique and special”!
She also says:
“Not only do I have a passion for paper crafts but also have a love of music, poetry writing, song writing, story writing, art and other areas. You will find my passion of poetry on every invitation order as a short verse or poem related to the theme of party, which adds that extra personalised touch to the invitations, a unique verse can also be found on my unique Santa Key.
For two consecutive Christmases, Made with Love has developed and released the ‘Made with Love Santa Key’, which has become a popular Christmas Eve tradition the whole family has grown to love! In 2013 through the purchases of each Santa Key, 50 gifts were purchased and placed under the Kmart Wishing Tree for disadvantaged Teens. From August 2014, keep an eye out for the 2014 edition of the MWL Santa Key.
I have met some amazing customers and business friends along the way and look forward to where the future will take both me and made with love.”
My style icon is… I wouldn’t say an icon but an iconic era! I love the fashion from the 1950’s particularly dresses or tops that really accentuate women’s curves.
I collect books about… I love reading books that express a personal journey or overcome adversities as I have always found these to be inspirational and motivational- not only non-fictional but also fictional. I have the entire set of the John Marsden ‘Tomorrow’ series along with the Ellie Chronicles. I also have the entire sets/series of twilight, house of night, fallen and harry potter. I love the worl ds these books allow me to escape to!
I feel most creative when… when I am upset. I don’t know what it is about when I am angry or emotional but I find that is when I am most creative. It’s funny that I can draw really well when I am emotional but when I am happy I find it harder to draw.
If I had a different career I’d be… working with youth or young adults who need some help. I am currently studying a social work/counselling degree where I would love to be able to help young people dealing with emotions to know that you don’t have to be identified by what has happened to you or that you are defined by your past. I found that expressing myself creatively has really helped me to cope and deal with things going on, and I used my mental health as a strength in building a business when most see it as a weakness. I can empathise and help through my own life experiences and lessons learnt.
The best way to make a statement is… to truly be yourself. With my business and designs I focus on creating the ‘WOW’ factor and creating each piece to be unique and individual to the last, which has really become my way of my business standing out from the crowd.
Happiness is… when I am creating. No matter how down I feel or facing massive adversities. Due to some extensive health issues I am often spending time in and out of hospital, which is when I am most feeling down. But once I get home and start creating again I am instantly feeling my spirits lifting. I absolutely love creating and designing, but most happy when customers love and rave about my work or tell me how much their guests love my work too. Made With Love has given me the most self worth and acknowledgement, and I really do love creating and working closely with clients.
The best money I’ve ever spent was… certainly a laptop I purchased back in 2009, which was sold to me by an incredibly handsome computer salesmen who now is my husband! Yes, we met when he sold my my laptop and we instantly got along so well that we exchanged numbers and later that week went on our first date and just celebrated 5 amazing years! We married one year later and he is an incredible support and my rock. I don’t know how I could have gotten through the last 5 years without him and so grateful for that fateful day when I purchased a $2500 laptop.. so definitely money well spent!
My uniform is… most days it is my pyjamas. I work from home in my craft studio, and as I don’t have a store front or customers visiting it is so much more comfortable working in what I feel is comfortable! One of the perks of working from home!
My favourite day of the year is…. Christmas! Ther e is something so magical about Christmas day for children. Which is one of the reasons why I love creating the unique Made With Love Santa Key! Children get so inquisitive about how Santa gets in, how his reindeer fly, how does he deliver all the presents, so I feel that through creating the Santa Key it helps parents to answer those questions through my unique personal poem. The MWL Santa Key also becomes an exciting family Christmas tradition.
My next adventure is… I am planning on writing a book about my journey so far. I would like to share my personal experiences and adversities in hopes of empowering and supporting someone going through the same experience. Until then I have been blogging through my site www.feelingostomistic.com.au. I have also recently started a second business ‘Goding Consulting’ which is to help businesses tackle the tasks they need to delegate or need assistance with such as social media management, freelan ce graphic design, blogging, content and more!
You get out of the car and catch sight of yourself in reflection. What is it you see? Have you succumbed to kummerspeck? Or is it a feeling of litost? Maybe you are just caught in a moment of boketto.
There are occasions, no matter how universal, that we just don’t seem to have the words for. Well, maybe we just don’t have an English word – here are 20 great words from other languages that I think we should adopt.
1. Vedriti (Slovene)
To shelter from the rain, waiting for it to stop before you continue on your way
2. Kummerspeck (German)
This translates literally as ‘grief bacon’. Kummerspeck is the weight you gain from comfort eating. I think we’ve all succumbed to grief bacon at some point.
3. Dolilyts (Ukranian)
To lie with your face turned down to the ground.
4. Greng-jai (Thai)
That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because you know it will be a pain for them.
5. Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is impossibly cute.
6. Yakamoz (Turkish)
A light show on the sea surface, created by the bioluminescent light emitted from sea creatures.
7. Yuputka (Ulwa)
The phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
8. Dor (Romanian)
The longing for someone you love very much, combined with sadness, and implies the need to sing sad songs.
9. Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
10. Ukiyo (Japanese)
Meaning ‘floating world'; a place of fleeting beauty where you find you are living in the moment, detached from the bothers of life.
11. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
To scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
12. Badkruka (Swedish)
Someone who is reluctant to get into the water when swimming outdoors. (Definitely me).
13. Boketto (Japanese)
The act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking.
14. S’entendre (French)
To know someone so well that you understand how they think. It translates literally to mean ‘hearing (each other)’.
15. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. It translates to ‘reheated cabbage’.
16. Litost (Czech)
Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, made the comment: ‘As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.’
Litost is the state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.
17. Tartle (Scottish)
The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.
18. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
An impractical dreamer with no business sense.
19. Kombinować (Polish)
To work out an unusual solution to a complicated problem, somehow acquiring things that are not available in the process. Involves a breach of the law or social etiquette.
20. Jayus (Indonesian)
A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.
There was an interview in New Scientist a couple of weeks ago with neuroscientist Daniel Levitin about how to negotiate an age where we are bombarded with information. The big take-away I got from his message is that it is essential that we allow ourselves time to daydream.
Why is it important to daydream?
Here’s the theory: Our brain essentially works to two modes, our ‘executive’ mode and our ‘daydreaming’ mode. When one is switched on the other is off.
Our executive mode helps us negotiate and engage in our everyday activities- from remembering to buckle the kids in the car, buy milk on the way home, to fulfilling our office and work tasks throughout the day. It’s our busy state, the ‘think on your feet’ state that is so important in every activity.
Our daydreaming mode is our default brain setting. It’s leaving our thoughts to float and not actively paying attention to one thing. Kind of like our ‘stand-by’ mode.
Because we are bombarded by so much to think about; home life, work issues, social media, social interaction, every day problem solving, it’s easy for our brain to get locked in executive mode. ‘Why is that bad?’ I hear you say. ‘I’m getting so much done!’
You may be juggling a huge weight of tasks but it doesn’t allow you to work out the BIG problems or ideas. We need our daydreaming time to work through issues that need more time than just a fleeting thought. Our daydreaming mode helps restore our mind and allows our thoughts to connect in ways other than the obvious.
Have you ever noticed that you get your best ideas when taking a shower, putting on your favourite album or going for a walk? Felt inspired when you’ve wandered though a beautiful garden? You can ‘turn on’ your daydreaming mode by listening to music, connecting with nature or just generally relaxing. Though you may not realise it, your brain is still busy in the background, beavering away, turning over possibilities and outcomes.
Give yourself time to daydream, it’s great for your creativity and your soul.
- Here’s the article in New Scientist
- Daniel Levitin has written a book called The Organized Mind, which looks like great reading for anyone overwhelmed with too much to do. Let me just add that to my reading list.
- You may also like our post on how exercise can boost your creativity
- Or this one on the Six Thinking Hats creativity tool