THE IMPORTANCE OF NETWORKING- BY KIKI MINKOVA
Welcome to my guide to you of how to network in our industry.
In today's blogpost I will be talking about the importance of networking.I must add all facts are gathered information from my past experiences as a fashion assistant, such as facts maybe I wish I knew before learning it the hard way and things I wish I would have done but was too unsure about them.
I thought I would start my first blog with this topic because I don’t know about you, but I am questioning the actual fact me being here. What am I doing here writing when all I ever did is use my eyes for visualising and not my words to express myself. Well well well, the big secret is here- NETWORKING!
This word may be a little overused in our post-modern world, so at some point we lose the meaning of it, but generally it is supposed to mean your web of connecting with people.
Networking is a more professional way of saying it, but really even when we were kids we were networking to find out who’s gonna be our next best friend, and to be honest, kids are the best at it. Why? They manage to find their best friend on the first day of school and it has no drama whatsoever, they are still friends 10 years later. Go figure.
My point is connecting with people is so so so powerful. If you are thinking long term, the people you surround yourself with are the basis of who you are becoming in you career. It’s “instinctual human behaviour” that we are attracted to those who are nice to us, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's pretty amazing to realise that all it takes is being nice to someone for them to be a little more interested in you.
For example: Tell others what you are into, what is that exhibition that you went crazy for, whatever it is that gives others a little glance into who you are. People make the connections and will remember you, or even recommend you (OMG WHAT).
If you are someone who says "I just don’t have a friendly face"- it’s Bullshit!
Firstly try to smile and look people in the eyes. Good news, being charming and charismatic is not necessarily something people are born with, to some people it comes more naturally, but its also an acquirable skill, and you can pick it up if you are eager enough.
I think this is something that could be relatable in any industry or any social event. Ask questions, try to avoid the general basic ones, if you ask a question right, it could lead to the best convos you ever have. Be curious, give compliments. The more you talk to people the easier it gets and also it will become a great habit of yours.
Another good advice- in an industry that has many strong characters, is when you actually get on set or get a job, observing in silence becomes your super power. Super powers are great, use them! Listening and observing is phase one of learning. If you end up working with your intellectual crush (photographer, art director, writer, CEO etc.) watch what they do, how they move, how they talk to people, their habits- in silence !!
I was working with Hunger Magazine for their 12th issue with Stormzy on the cover. I was there for all the menswear shots, working week by week in a crazy intense phase and the most valuable lesson from there ended up being this; observing in silence. It was extra challenging to me because I don’t really know what silence is and when you get excited about a shoot you want to be so close and comment 24-7.
Put yourself out there! Don’t be the shy one in the corner. Actually you can be, for people like us there will be less competition haha this is a joke, join my tribe!
The idea is, let people know who you are, what you are into, next to your name you can add a little detail as your profession, do it. Or even if they ask you how you have been, say ‘Ah great, I had this shoot with ‘XY’ Magazine, or ‘I had an interview with that company etc. Im not saying every conversation like this will have immediate reaction. Which leads me to say please don’t give up, keep getting up and keep being a hustler. There will be so many rejections in the industry, or even just no answers, which technically is not a rejection some might say it is worse. But just keep on going anyway! If someone doesn’t reply, double check again, and always be polite! Timing is key, so the more you try with for example one company, you have a bigger chance of actually getting the timing right.