The Essentials of Networking in Graphic Design

The Essentials of Networking in Graphic Design

Networking is a term that many graphic designers shudder at the mere mention of. Our place, surely, is working on designs and being brilliantly creative, right? Not handing out business cards at the launch of some swanky art installation, right?

Sure, we’re creative talents at heart, but we need to be a little business savvy or there won’t be any business to work on.

And don’t think that networking is purely to build a client base. It’s also an amazing opportunity to connect with fellow creatives with whom you can pool your resources and knowledge for the greater good.

There’s a knack to networking successfully, so I’m going to discuss the best ways to make those professional connections.

Meetup with Fellow Creatives

On the whole, graphic designers are a friendly bunch and incredibly social, so it’s no surprise to discover that they love a good meetup.

If you head over to graphicdesign.meetup.com then you’re bound to find a local meetup that you can attend and kick start your networking game. And have a few drinks at the same time too!

These meetups act as a great chance to meet likeminded individuals and chat about the industry and projects they’re working on. Most importantly, you can discuss partnering up on future projects e.g. if your photography skills aren’t the best you may be able to swap contact details with an amazing photographer.

Don’t forget, though, that these meetups are also a social event, so don’t get too bogged down in the business side of things!

Make Sure you Listen

Listening is one of the most important aspects of good networking, but many people fail at it due to a mixture of nerves and anxiety.

We’re so worried that we’re not going to have something to say that we spend too much time in a conversation thinking about our next response. This means we’re unable to concentrate fully on what the other person is saying; our responses, as a result, are vague and lack focus.

And that never makes for good quality conversation!

What you need to do is purely listen to what the other person is saying. Conducting your attention in this way means you pick up on all the intricacies of what they’re discussing; you’re then in a position to deliver a great answer which will be rewarded with a longer, more engaging conversation.

Use Social Media

The beauty of the internet is that it allows you to conduct your networking from the comfort of your own home. You see, not everyone is a social butterfly and not everyone has time to travel to meetups to network face to face.

And social media is just perfect for a bit of online networking!

Twitter and, in particular, Instagram are very popular with graphic designers due to their visual nature and simple ability to connect with fellow creatives. All it takes is a quick search on #graphicdesign to deliver a huge payload of fellow designers you can converse with.

It’s important that you project your own personality on social media platforms to display that you’re an individual. Other designers want to network with humans, not robots who deliver Tweets at precisely the same time every week!

Open Conversations Up

Even the most confident of us feel awkward when meeting new people, but there’s a great technique for engaging with strangers and keeping the conversation going.

The key is to ask open ended questions that the other person can’t simply bat away with a “Yes/No” answer which kills the conversation dead. Instead, make sure you ask questions that start with either Who/What/Why/When/Where as this will prompt more open answers which you can bounce a conversation off.

However, some people may simply be too busy to talk to you, so don’t force it or you’ll just come across as that irritating guy!

Networking, as a graphic designer, will always be a little bit stressful but by following my networking essentials you’ll discover that it’s actually a lot of fun.

MARKUS

 

Leave a Reply

Name*

e-Mail * (will not be published)

Website