Networking and Making Connections

chimchim.jpg

“Good luck will rub off when I shake hands with you”

‘Chim chim cher-ee’ – Mary Poppins

Last week, the lovely people at TodayTix invited me to their Social Ambassadors’ launch party. It was a little gold star moment when their social media executive, Emily, contacted me on twitter and said that she enjoys reading my blog. The TodayTix Social Ambassadors scheme has selected six young (yes, significantly younger than me) theatre enthusiasts to go to as much theatre as their schedules allow and share their experiences on social media. The TT Squad will encourage people to ‘see theatre differently’ and help to create a more diverse theatre audience. They are a super cool bunch and I look forward to following their adventures! Check them out here.

Spending the evening with lots of fun theatrical types that I had never met before got me thinking about “networking”. That whole, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ thing does often ring true. At least once a week, I see notices about ‘networking events’ or posts on Facebook forums from actors inviting people to ‘network’ with them. In true ambivert fashion, this whole ‘networking’ thing fills me with dread and excitement in equal measure. I’m not shy but I’m also not always the life and soul of the party (although after one too many gins that might change). I love talking to people and I love listening to people. I love being around people but I also enjoy a bit of alone time.

Society is the most connected and the least connected it has ever been. There are so many rants about how wonderful/terrible the internet is because it enables us to connect with people all over the world at the tap of a key. I love the internet and social media when it is used to positive ends. However, I have often allowed my Facebook newsfeed to become fuel for comparison with seemingly more successful friends resulting in feelings of inadequacy or downright self-hatred. Sound familiar to anyone?

This juxtaposition of connection and disconnection is something that seems to perfectly sum up life as a performer. When I am working, I feel alive and connected. I love being part of a company. I love the chaos of a rehearsal period, the buzz of working together on something and sharing it with an audience. It is just the BEST. On the other hand, when I am not working, I miss that connection. I miss being part of a company. I feel lonely. Funnily enough, that’s often when the social media comparison is rife. I also notice that my self-esteem plummets and I find it much more of an effort to get out there and ‘network’ or even just catch up with friends. Can you relate to this?

In my previous post about goal setting with intention, I identified one of my core desires as ‘connection’. Being with people, sharing ideas and learning from others makes me happy. So what can I do to find more of that? Here are a few ideas that you might want to try too:

  • Get a group together to go to open mic nights.
  • Do a play reading.
  • Attend a workshop.
  • Spend less time alone and more time with fun people!
  • Use social media and the internet for good vibes only! – remembering, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

Making connections and networking is wonderful when it results in creating something good: friendship, love, theatre, art, music, a team, a discovery, progress. That sounds like good luck to me. Who wants to shake hands?

 

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