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  • Suzy Wakefield

Connecting For Creatives

Updated: Oct 18











And The 3 T's You Need to Learn to Make It Happen


I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it. Art Williams


Want to connect with more people in your industry, meet potential clients and learn more to enhance your existing skills? Plus be able to do it without the uncomfortable and sometimes smarmy reputation of networking?


As a one-part people-centric, two parts introverted creative, I love connecting with people as long as it doesn't feel transactional. Below are some ways I’ve found to make it more enjoyable and easier. And the results are amazing. I've met so many interesting clients, colleagues, and friends, over the years from reaching out.


The three-legged stool of your TOOLS, TONE, and TRIBES will help you to expand your world and enhance your creative endeavors


TOOLS


The best strategy is only as good as the elements that make it frictionless. Here are a few that we highly recommend.




Make it easy for people you want to chat with by sending them a calendar link so they can pick a time that works for their own. Since using Calendly, It has infinitely increased the number of meetings that actually come to fruition. Mainly because there is none of that annoying back-and-forth that sometimes can get so overwhelming that you or the other person just stops trying to connect.



It’s such a versatile place to build a contact and progress funnel around reach outs. For those of us who don’t want to have a ‘CRM’ and in fact, are uber intimidated by hearing the word, Airtable provides a great service. It’s able to be so customized that it can be adjusted to how you think. Rather than being forced into a system that doesn’t work for your needs. Once you do have said system, it is a string on your finger to continuously reach out to people. Even if your dance card is consistently filled up, it’s always good to get to know more people who you can help or who can help you.


Outside of this Link-In Bio service's unfortunate name (word on the street is that they are updating soon), all other aspects far outweigh this. BLB has a landing page that is easy to update, and a lot of room to add relevant bio information as well as offerings. With the added bonus that you get your own personalized QR code to give out in lieu of business cards. So you can tout yourself while saving the planet a little at a time.




TONE


The biggest difference between relationship building and transactional networking centers around this one little word that has big consequences. Context and approach are the ingredients that will give it your personal flavor. Here are a few ideas of how to ensure you are thinking about the other person as much as yourself. This way any conversation is a win-win for you both and worth the time that you both put into it.


Never let a conversation finish without asking;


How can I support you?


What would be the best way to explain what you do to others in my network?


Before the call, decide on one or two points you want to glean from the conversation.


Plan Your approach so you are not wasting anyone’s time including your own.


This could be anything from questions about learning to do something that this person has shown to be proficient in all the way to understanding how you might fit into helping support their primary goals for growth. Keep in mind that sometimes being a helpful sounding board is as good as giving tons of advice.


TRIBES


Whatever wise person said community drives connection had it right. We all need ‘our people.’ Other humans who we aspire to be with and in some cases to be like. Outside of our own small team, we love the groups we belong to both personally and professionally. Building your own personal board of directors will be invaluable throughout your life and career. We are so enriched by our memberships in The Entreprenista League and The Upside. These two are amazing complements to each other and benefit us with their programming as well as the members within the communities themselves. They also offer a mix of virtual and IRL events which is super helpful.


Don’t have knowledge of communities near you, don't have time to zoom in, or aren’t ready to make the financial commitment to this endeavor. Then start your own.


This is what Asi Efros and I did at the beginning of the Pandemic with The Athenas, a free community primarily comprised of almost 100 lingerie, swim, and apparel design professionals who gather once a month to talk, compare notes and listen to interesting speakers. We both realized that so many designers in our world were like us, craving support and while we loved working on our own businesses, we also really wanted to have other people to talk about the industry, approach, and generally creative endeavors.


Here are a couple of other people who speak on how to expand your tribe in a really thoughtful and thought-provoking way;


Michelle Warner speaks about connecting both practically and inspirationally.


Aliza Licht shares 'fresh brewed career advice' and so much more on Leave Your Mark


Have tips of your own on how you've found success in building relationships with other creatives? We'd love to hear about them. Or if you have questions on this or anything else, we'd be happy to connect. Email us at suzywakefielddesigns@gmail.com to set up some time. We offer complimentary 30 min sessions to chat.


Want to see what else we are up to? Find us on Instagram, Linked In or Pinterest.










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