How to maintain networking links with industry professionals

Networking is word that gets thrown around the industry as a businessy uncivilised way to communicate with potential employers/ employees. Thus, many people have issues with the word itself and feel unconfortable with going out and meeting new people that could potentially change their life.

For me and for many others that do 'networking', it is simply another word for socialising - or rather socialising with a purpose; to build a network and maintain connections with people that could offer you work or recommend you for work opportunities.

Some of the best advice I was given was to view networking as an oppurtunity to help others. What I mean is if you want to meet that big director and establish relations with him - why don't you think about how you can offer him something that could be beneficial to him?(and I don't mean your acting CV). Maybe you work in social media part time and can offer him some advice on how he can improve his social media reach or maybe you could ask him what difficulties he/she is having at the moment? or Are they looking for any specific help with anything at the moment? These questions offer you the opportunity to offer help to help them.

Ultimately,in most cases by offering him help, im sure he/she will see you in a better light, then the whole host of other actors - that would have just cack handedly handed him/her a CV and talked about all their achievements... I know we've all done it!

On the CV front - Maybe, wait for him to show an interest in you, then ask him if he'd like a CV!

Listening is all important to! Have a list of questions to ask people when networking and listen to what they have to say. Listening is powerful and can really help to make you seem more likeable. If you want to work with a specific industry professional, I am sure you are really interested in what he/she has to say anyway so you don't even need to fake it. Infact, I think its important to be natural!

There are many approaches and methods you can use in order to build better relationships with people. One approach thats a really good idea is to database contacts and do a monthly blog/ email send out - with updates on what you've been up to. This may remind people that you are still in the game and busy! This can sometimes be really helpful to casting directors as you may put yourself back on their radar! However, all send outs should be information, interesting and fun, as that is likely to keep people more engaged!

There are many methods and approaches one can take when networking and maintaining relationships with industry professionals. I think it is important to socialise and be fun! You want to give off a good first impression, so don't over think it! Everybodies human and everybody needs help. How can you help him/ her? By doing favours for people you instantly become more likeable... so why not give that a go! Whatever you do don't be needy though! That is really unnactrive! So be cool, confident, enthusiastic, and have interesting things to talk about. Somtimes talking about topics outside the Acting industry will show you are broader human being and show you have more depth to your character! :)

I hope you can utilise some of these methods/ ideas when networking.. they have been useful to me and many others. Feel free to comment with other methods you have tried and what methods have been successful to you!