Networking … It’s a word that excites some but if your anything like me then it’s a word that ignites nervous butterflies. Throughout my young career I have heard countless times phrases like “It’s all about who you know” or “You should really be doing more networking”

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Thelonious Monk Competition at the Kennedy Center. There were tons of people from the jazz community (both musicians and presenters). As a jazz trombonist and an aspiring jazz presenter it was amazing to be there. After the competition and concert I received a ticket to the “exclusive after party”. The person who gave me the ticket said, “Now you should really go to this there will be lots of important people there for you to meet.” Immediately I heard networking and the butterflies started. “How do I meet ‘important people’ who I’ve never met before with no introduction?” “What do I say?”

I still do not really know the answer to my questions and I still get nervous in networking situations but what I learned so far is to:

  • Be confident, don’t talk yourself out networking just because you feel uncomfortable
  • Many people want to help emerging leader, especially in the arts so don’t feel like a burden
  • Just do it, the more you are in networking situations the more comfortable you will feel.

Now of course these are just 3 notes that have helped me but there are many more out there. Ask someone with a similar personality how they go about networking. For example, if you’re introverted ask another introvert how they successfully network.

Tomorrow October 20, 2012 from 1pm-3pm I encourage you all to come and network with other emerging arts leaders at the EALS Coffee hour. We will be at Tynan Coffee and Tea located at 1275 1st Street NE, Washington, DC near the NoMa, Gallaundet station off of the red line. Come connect with other emerging arts leaders and share your ideas about who you would like to hear speak at the 2013 Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium