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Network, Hollywood-Style

Network, Hollywood-Style

October 14, 2008

by Christina Lopez | Monster Staff Writer

Whether you’re trying to land a job or make new business contacts, networking can be one of your most fruitful strategies. And if there’s one industry in which people know the value of networking, it’s entertainment.

Although the entertainment industry has something others may not, like countless events offering opportunities for aspiring stars to schmooze with power players, you can learn a lot from this business in which workers have always depended on who they know.

According to Susan RoAne, author of How to Work a Room, The Secrets of Savvy Networking and What Do I Say Next?, those in the entertainment industry get networking right, because “they’ve integrated it into their life. Networking is not a work style; it’s a lifestyle.”

Take these cues from showbiz for integrating networking into your life.

Beyond Agents: Find Key Access Points

While big stars have agents to get them access to directors, casting directors and producers, many working actors get their gigs by showing up at events and networking. “People in the business or wanting to break into the business take the time to find out what’s going on, where people hang out and what restaurants they go to,” says RoAne. "That’s one tip job seekers should follow.

“Too many people spend too much of their time online,” says RoAne. “There’s this approach avoidance where we want to approach people but then turn to technology, because the potential rejection seems much easier to deal with.” But that alone will not create a network. “People in the entertainment industry show up. They know it’s about that face-to-face interaction.”

Wherever you go, you should always be on the lookout for an opportunity to network. But once you do meet someone who might be a good contact, how do you get the ball rolling?

“Always have a self-introduction keyed to the event you’re attending,” advises RoAne. “How you introduce yourself at a party is very different than how you’d introduce yourself at a Chamber of Commerce event.”

More advice from RoAne: “Those who do it best don’t know they’re doing it.” In other words, try to make networking a natural extension of your behavior.

Ten Seconds to Make a Lasting Impression

You may not always get 30 seconds to make your pitch. Some directors don’t even get that much time to pitch a multimillion-dollar picture. RoAne estimates that most people have about 10 seconds to hook someone into a conversation.


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