Creative Networking Do's and Don'ts

Staying active online on social media platforms is a great way to connect with creatives globally however it is also very important to go offline and attend creative networking events, art fairs, gallery openings and take part in workshops. It is always daunting to meet new people but designers who actually attend events are more likely to make valuable connections and be exposed to new opportunities. We have put together some tips on better Networking.

1 | Find the right event 

Like everything you have to find an event that you are genuinely interested in, similar to finding a place to buy/rent you need to make sure it ticks all the right boxes for your needs. There is nothing worse than going to an event and feeling out of place.  We recommend checking out meetup and eventbrite to find local creative events in your area. If you feel confident you can also host events yourself , do a workshop or participate in
art fairs.

2 | First Impressions

Make a effort, dress appropriately, wear a smile, make eye contacts and always carry your business card. If you look approachable then people will talk to you.

3| Be conversational

Good networking is all about having great conversations, try to avoid selling yourself instantly, and giving out your business card to everyone you meet. Try and build a comfortable connection, make small talks such ‘how did you find out about the event?’ or what’s your favorite part about what your job?. People love talking about themselves and these questions are great openings to keep the conversation flowing. If you genuinely click with someone, you will exchange details 🙂

4| Listen and engage

Listening is the best way to learn and get to know someone and gives you a window to ask the right questions. However if someone talks too much about themselves and doesn’t engage with you then chances are they are not worth your time so politely try to escape and move across the room. 

5| Stay in touch

If you meet someone that made a impact on you then stay in touch with them. Follow them on instagram or make connections through Linkedin that way they will always remember you. Always think long term that they may turn into future clients.


Event Networking Don’ts

Networking is a crucial skill that can only be developed through practice, even if you are a introvert (most creatives are). The only way you will be noticed is simply by getting out there and making connections but try and avoid these common mistakes.

Sell yourself

Great conversations involve listening and asking questions. Don’t talk too much about your services or products and never interrupt conversations or change topics. No one likes a sales pitch.

Look for clients

Networking event is about making connections, don’t try and actively look for clients. Instead meet fellow creatives, share tips and advice and you may end up collaborating together in the future or they may connect you with someone else. It is best to integrate and get to know as many creatives as possible.

Stick to your friends

We have all been to events when people stick with someone they know, it is always intimidating to join in to the conversation. The whole point of you attending these events is to widen your connections with people you don’t know.

Do you have any tips on the do's and don'ts of Networking? Check out our post on getting started as a graphic designer  and don't forget you can download awesome free resources to help you kick start your creative career!

About the author 

Shumi Perhiniak

Shumi is a self-taught graphic designer and illustrator who has worked for Toni&Guy, Renaissance Learning, Baker Ross, and many others.

Additionally, she owned a brick-and-mortar stationery shop selling her art prints and now sells wholesale to retailers and online shops under the brand name

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