In order to succeed in the professional world one has to make sure that every step taken is carefully planned. As a graphic designer, professional networking can play a very important role in your success. However, I have seen most of the designers ignoring the importance of networking because they have a lot of other things to handle. Yes, other things such as working on current projects and trying to get more projects are important too but, one should never neglect networking. You will have to take out time for this activity otherwise you can delay networking forever.
The reason why mostly designers run away from networking is that they think it would require a lot of time and they might end up wasting the time too. Honestly, if you handle things carefully, you can take out time for healthy networking which can prove to be beneficial for you. Let us take a look at some tips which can really help busy designers in networking:
Keeping It Organized
If you are unorganized, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be getting things done on time. If you really want to succeed the first thing you need to do it to keep things organized. If your work place is a mess, you will end up wasting more time in finding things rather than doing some productive work. Since networking requires a lot of good contacts, keeping your contacts organized should be your first priority.
It is not that hard to keep contacts organized as well. There are a few softwares available for keeping such important things organized but not everybody is a software person. You can organize things completely in your own way. Important thing is that you should keep things exactly where they should be.
Utilize the Available Resources
These days technology has made everything a lot easier than it was before. There are a lot tools available to help professionals in networking. See, in networking you have to contact a lot of people so these days online networking has gained a lot of popularity. It is an easy way to stay in touch with people all around the world and that too without having to spend much time or money. For instance, with the help of Skype you can make unlimited calls anywhere and you will not have to spend so much time in dialing, waiting etc.
Make a Schedule and Be Sure To Follow It
For networking, you do not have to take an entire day. It requires only an hour so. The best you can do is to make a schedule and make sure you have set aside some time for networking as well. It does not have to be more than an hour. You can simply contact your clients, colleagues in this one hour.
Once in a week you should schedule a lunch with some important contact. If you are unable to get time for this, you can simply update your online professional profile and look for some people with similar interest. As mentioned earlier, If you will get organized networking won’t be a huge problem for you.
Career Advancement and Development
You have to be at the right place at the right time to excel in your career. Obviously you cannot sit and wait for opportunities to knock your door. Networking can play a very important role in your career growth so one should never underestimate the importance of networking. You need to decide your career path first if you want your networking to be fruitful for you.
Anything that goes according to a plan becomes a success so if you are networking without any plan you might not reach your desired destination. So, you need to plan things first and then start networking accordingly. If you want to freelancer, you need network with people who can help you in getting projects.
Look For Influential People
Now that you have a career path, you need to find the right people. Find people who have already managed to make a good name on your field and try contacting them. How to contact them is entirely up to you however, these influential people mostly have blogs or websites where they can be contacted. If you are able to reach to them personally, it is even better. If you know who to contact, you won’t be wasting time in contacting hundreds of people who cannot help you in career so make sure you find the right people to network with.
However, you need to keep in mind that any relationship requires give and take so in order to make it successful it should be a two way street. Also, getting to the influential people won’t be an easy task as a lot of other designers would be trying the same. However you need to stay calm and patient during networking. While networking you need to keep your goals real.
Combine Networking and Work
You have to consider networking as a part of your work and this is one of the best ways to succeed. Treat networking as important as you would treat any project of yours. Also, if you are a freelance designer, you can simply keep a blog of yours where you can update your portfolio and have a conversation with visitors. These visitors may have some potential clients so you need to make sure that you stay active on your blogs. Interlinking work with networking is a great idea because this way yon won’t be wasting any time.
I have seen a lot of designers focusing more on quantity and less on quality when it comes to networking which is not right. You need to build good and healthy relationships which cannot be done if you are trying to be friends with every other person related to your field. It is better that you make most of the connections you already have instead of wasting time with other people. It is a lot better to stay in touch with a client who is likely to give your more projects rather than contacting bunch of people that you are not even sure would do some good to you or your career.
Avoid Useless Activities
While making efforts to improve your networking, you need to keep an eye on the activities which are proving to be beneficial for you so that you can spend more time on them. This will help you in avoiding activities which are completely wastage of time. The best way is to evaluate your activities and then continue with the effective ones. Networking should always be productive because this is all what professional networking is all about.
It is no wonder that networking is not an easy task. Dealing with a bunch of people with different personalities can be really tough at times. But professional networking can prove to be really effective for your career so you have to give it the importance it deserves. You might find networking hard initially but once you know what you want out of networking, you can really do wonders. All you need is a plan and you are good to go.