The five things I learned about networking at the Sundance Film Festival
Published on March 26, 2015 by Bob Trewartha
Epiphany # 1: People are self-interested. One of the basic tenants of Aristotle’s philosophy is that people are driven by self-interest. I bet you needed Aristotle to tell you that. Sometimes the obvious is overlooked, which can destroy your plan before it even gets a chance to start. What is your new contact interested in, what do they need, why are they there, who do they need to meet? Try asking and provide whatever service you can, it will pay off.
Epiphany # 2: You never know who will be that great contact. Sundance is filled with people who are important in business, entertainment, legal fields, in addition to the actual actors. Some of the people meet ‘think’ they are important and others are ‘important’, but you would never know to see them on the street. As I was standing to cross the street, I started a conversation with someone who appeared to be a fan, maybe a local stargazing, but it turned out to be a reporter from Los Angeles, which our school, Broadview University and Broadview Entertainment Arts University (BEAU), was able to provide some great information about our Entertainment programs
Epiphany # 3: Have a goal. We have all see how having a goal, preparing a plan can make our endeavors more successful. An event like the Sundance Film Festival, is so large that one could be lost in the awe of the events and distracted by the hoopla. It is critical to stick to your goals, finding people who can help you, and as importantly, you can help them. Where, how, when can you find these folks, go and make an impression. One of the benefits of working with Broadview University and BEAU is the goal of networking directly relates to helping the students, school and our programs. Regardless of your ‘goal’ make sure you get a chance to express it while you are networking, whether it is for an organization like Broadview or your independent project, you will make a better connection.
Epiphany # 4: Be present. One of the biggest mistakes that ‘networkers’ do is forget why they are ‘networking’. If you are trying to meet people in a specific field, create a brand, build a relationship leading to a sale or simply expanding your network, you cannot be successful if you wait for someone to come to you! Be present, initiate some conversation, practice and implement your 30 second elevator pitch (do not make it salesy, provide information on benefits you provide), get out there and be noticed.
Epiphany # 5: Follow up-You will quickly fade into the lost recesses of your potential contacts memory, if you fail to send a thank you, it was nice to meet you or better yet, I would love to get together and see how we night be able to help each other. It is common for us to go to an event and feel a sense of pride getting a fistful of business cards. Do you do business with the business cards? NO! You do business with PEOPLE you build relationships with that have common and mutual goals. Contact those people and find out what you have in common and do something about it.