Business Networking: Finding Targets

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Networking is such an important way of finding work opportunities that my book, Finding Your Career in the Modern Audio Industry, has an entire chapter devoted to it. Networking doesn’t have to be swarmy or salesy, and genuine friendships can come out of it.

I’ve heard emerging professionals (students, people new to the industry, etc) say they feel intimidated by networking.

In reality, you have been networking already without even knowing it.

If you play in a band your bandmates are part of your network. If you go to school, other students and professors are part of your network. Networking is just getting to know people the same way you would to make friends. To start, try to identify places where you could network with other people.

Where Can You Meet People?

  • Individuals doing the same work that you do or want to do; anyone you might consider a colleague.
  • Social media groups specific to your interests (look for regional or special interest groups, also)
  • Alumni or alumni events
  • Businesses doing the same work that you do or want to do (for example, studios, production companies, corporations, theaters, clubs, etc.)
  • People who could potentially use your services in the present or the future (examples: musicians, filmmakers, theater sound designers, audiobook or podcast companies, etc.)
  • Trade organizations. Look to international or national organizations with regional events, local chapters, and organizations specific to your discipline.
  • Local businesses where the people who work in your industry go for professional needs, such as specialty repair or sales shops, gear rentals, sound companies. Look to events, seminars and training, also.
  • Places where your potential clients may be socially (examples: venues, open mics, film and music festivals, conferences, especially social events planned during festivals and conferences)
  • Formal networking events (in-person or online), informal parties or gatherings hosted by colleagues

Get Creative!

  • Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of audio where you might meet people who have ties to the industry?
  • Is there anything about you or your identity that could help connect you to others who share that identity or experience? (A favorite sports team, alumni, where you grew up, etc.)
  • Are there activities that could help you connect with professionals you respect but not have access to otherwise? (volunteering with an organization, interviewing a professional for a publication or website)

Over time, networking will become a natural part of your work – especially as you meet people on the job. You might even make some good friends out of it!