Just over a week ago, on a Friday, I went along to CreativeMornings Cardiff. I’ve been before, but not for a long time. I’ve probably been to more in Edinburgh than I have in Cardiff. But my memory of each one is of meeting great people, really interesting talks, and coming away wih a load of new ideas. This one was no exception.
Suzanne Carpenter is an illustrator. She spoke with great humility and honesty, things I love about CreativeMornings (and creative people in general).
Forcing yourself to network
Something Suzanne mentioned immediately struck a chord with me. I reached for my notebook and scribbled it down.
I was never very good at networking and selling myself. I would rather sit in the corner and do some colouring. If someone came over and expressed an interest, then I would happily talk to them.
I’m very much paraphrasing here, sorry Suzanne.
(I’m a prolific note-taker, but over time this only seems to have provided a negative impact on my handwriting.)
- Having already looked at Suzanne’s Instagram account, describing what she does as colouring in might possibly be the understatement of the century.
- I feel the same way about networking and self-promotion.
To be a networker, you must think like a networker
At a networking event earlier in the week, a speaker advised students… if you’re afraid to sell yourselves, take on the persona of someone who is good at networking. Just for the next hour or so.
I like that way of thinking. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to achieve more than you thought you were capable of.
But I prefer to show and not tell. Let the work do the talking.
When I started out I wanted to be a web designer. So I started designing my own sites until someone paid me to do theirs.
When we started Reserve (a holiday rental agency we built over the last 10 years), we only had a couple of properties. So we did all we could to market them brilliantly (excellent photography, the best marketing materials, guest reviews anyone would be proud of). We waited for people to see it and come to us. And they did. About 300 of them.
I’ve got a whole page of thoughts and ideas from Suzanne’s talk. As always I was very happy that I went along (and arrived over half an hour early — super keen!). But this stayed with me above all else.
Think about what you want to do, and start doing it.
by Gareth K. Thomas / Made Clear