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  • Frankie Regalia

Networking and Online Presence

Updated: Oct 30

Networking


I will happily admit that networking is not in my wheelhouse. At all. I am quite chatty and charismatic, but something about an environment where there is an expectation to meet people, make connections, and sell yourself to others gives me the willies. However, a good friend of mine put it like this:


Networking is just meeting people you like and staying in touch.


This is the idea that networking is not about collecting the names and Twitter handles of everyone in the room in the hopes that they give you a job one day. Real networking is being open with others in your industry, making a connection with someone that you genuinely enjoy chatting with, and staying in touch throughout your career. This can be as simple as striking up a conversation with someone at a show you are seeing, following them on social media, and then inviting them to your next project. Remember that this is a two-way street. If you want these relationships to be maintained, you also need to go out of your way to see work by people in your sphere. However, don't expect everyone to come to your work just because you came to theirs: real connections are not conditional or transactional.


When at a dreaded networking event get into a habit of having a good conversation starter in your back pocket. An easy one is complimenting something someone is wearing. Having a good opener is much more genuine than "So, what do you do?" Once you get a conversation going, don't be afraid to talk about yourself. That person is asking because they want to know. You don't need to brag about all the awards and accolades you've won, but just offer something you are excited about.


Listening and actually being interested in other people is what makes good networking. People can tell if you are merely going around trying to find the most influential person in the room to talk to. Everyone has the potential to be a good colleague, connection, or collaborator. Similarly, don't feel like you need to impress everyone in order to network. Some people you won't vibe with and that's okay.


If you are uncomfortable at networking events, bring a chatty friend! My partner is incredible at networking events. I once saw him start a conversation with a stranger by saying "Were you on the 99 bus this afternoon? I could have sworn that was you on my bus!" The man wasn't on his bus, but through that, we started a lovely 30 min conversation with a complete stranger.


Networking is difficult and we work in an industry that is "all about who you know." Surround yourself with people you actually like and want to actively support in their careers. They will do the same for you.


Online Presence


Having a digital presence is a very big part of our industry, whether we like it or not. Maintaining a healthy and productive digital presence is about being aware of how you conduct yourself online. It is also a lot of work. These days many artists have a website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, and TikTok to manage. Many artists use these platforms as a way to garner a digital crowd and bring awareness to themselves. While there are many fringe and higher level theatre companies that do post job/casting opportunities on social media, it is important to remember that these companies are not necessarily casting from social media. For many people, social media and digital presence is a fun and creative way to promote themselves. This is not the case for everyone and having a strong digital following is not worth sacrificing your mental health. Find and establish your own boundaries when it comes to your online presence.

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