HOW TO NETWORK OFFLINE
When considering how to network offline, one of the first questions to ask yourself is what do you want to achieve? Are you looking to build a large network of relatively casual business contacts with whom you can exchange potential leads, or are you looking for clients or direct gatekeepers to clients who can give you business directly? Either way, you’re going to need to shut down (or least hibernate) your computer and venture out into the real world in order to make so-called “offline” connections.
There are three places where you are most likely to make real world connections that can help you advance along your career path or sell your product, which in the case of those in the entertainment world tends to be yourself. Attending any sort of industry event is one way to make quite a few contacts, but it will usually require knowing someone “on the inside” to get invited to such events. Never be afraid to crash a party if you know there are potentially useful contacts in attendance. The worst that can happen is security will bar the gates. The best that can happen is you find that one perfect connection from whom an entire network of resources can be formed.
Another useful way to find connections is through a mentor, and mentors abound. You can develop a one-on-one relationship with a teacher while you are still in school, or even go back to teachers you knew and ask for a recommendation for a possible mentor once you are out in the working world. A mentor can be extremely useful in pointing the way as to how to network offline, connecting you with professionals he or she knows from the mentor’s own career.
The third most common way to network calls for a certain degree of social confidence, as it requires what is known in sales as cold-calling. This involves either calling on the phone, or better yet scheduling an appointment and then showing up in person, to speak with someone who might be a useful part of your network. This means talking face-to-face with an absolute stranger, but the hard part is just summoning up the will to do it. It is amazing how many powerful and successful people will be more than happy to make the time to chat with you for a few minutes about your interests and to give you advice and connections that will help you advance.
There is no single recipe for how to network offline, but if you follow these three avenues, you are more than likely to meet with networking success.