As artists and creatives, having the right kind of network is crucial to your success and, believe it or not, it’s not that hard once you get started…

We are all tribal people. Since humans set foot on this earth, our brains have been wired in such a way that we’re driven to find other human beings who have similar interests, goals, visions, or who can help us with our endeavours.

However, for some, looking for their own tribe or network of people seems like a daunting task. So if you are a self-proclaimed or medically-diagnosed introvert (if there’s such a thing?! LOL!), check out these tips on how to effectively build your network:

1. GET OUT & ABOUT!

It’s time to see the world and spread your wings. Join networking events or conferences around your area. If you don’t know how to find one, go to Eventbrite, for example. Eventbrite has a list of events from different organisations or people that you can join in for free (some requires payment on or before the event).

2. JUST BE YOURSELF

Okay, we get it, you’re an introvert! But certainly, you have that one good friend or two. Can you remember how you and your friend met? It just happened, right? You started to talking to each other because you shared a common interest. YES! Just like making friends, connecting with a professional network or a group, doesn’t need over-thinking. Be natural and genuine (DON’T JUST ACT!). Smile, ask relevant questions and stop fidgeting. Remember, first impressions last.

3. CONNECT WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Networking isn’t so much about how many people you know, but WHO you know. Focus first on the quality of your network and not on the quantity. Forbes even has listed the top 10 people who should be in your network. Take a look at that list and ask yourself “do I have the right people in my tribe or network?”

4. BE WILLING TO HELP

Networking is a GIVE AND TAKE RELATIONSHIP. As much as you need the people in your network to advance your career, be willing to extend a helping hand too. Help the “new kid” in the group or even help the “big guy” in your network. Remember, when you do good things for other people, they tend to feel obligated to do the same in return. This is not a devilish move—NOPE! It’s just natural for a human being to pay something in return to the person who helped them.

This way too, you develop friendship and not just mere professional networks.

5. FOSTER THE CONNECTION

In other words, follow through. Sadly, most people forget about this. After going to a networking event, conference, or joining a group, they no longer make any effort to stay in contact and sustain the relationship. If someone in your network wins an award or got promoted, send them a congratulatory email. If it’s Christmas, send a Christmas card. It’s not hard, just look for every opportunity.

Finally, remember that you’ve made such an effort to get out from your little “INTROVERT WORLD” to connect with some important people who can help you with your career. Keep it up! Foster the connection. Don’t let your efforts go to waste.