COFFEE AND NETWORKING
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a general disdain for coffee. The smell, the taste, the awkward social construct based around meeting up over a “cuppa”. I could think of nothing worse. However, recently I’ve begun to see the merit in this phenomena that brings people together.
Let’s face it, most of us can’t function first thing in the morning without our soy cap or skinny decaf latte. Me, I’ve never really had that issue, but since becoming a dad, sleep is precious and so is the ability to recognize when we need that something extra to kick start the motor, or keep the gears moving.
Most people I know love coffee, and they also love talking about themselves. They combine these two loves easily, becoming social butterflies who’ll talk to anyone as long as there’s a coffee involved. That’s never really been my scene, because aside from my aversion to coffee, the idea of getting out and “pressing the flesh” has been a bridge I’ve not been willing to cross.
However, what do we gain by hiding ourselves away? The world cannot find us if they don’t know we exist. If we are to make any sort of traction in the industry, we need to find ways to network that are relevant to us. Lately, this has meant I’ve been out and about, drinking coffee and meeting people one on one.
My previous attempts to build networks have mainly been done in the safe surrounds of my studio, behind the comfort of my computer, but earlier in the year, I said no more. Enough was enough. You cannot build relationships with potential collaborators and clients by simply sending an email hoping they’ll read it.
Would you do business with a complete stranger? Many times we do, going to the shopping centre or calling a tradie out to fix something, but in the media industry that simply doesn’t work. There needs to be a rapport built up over a significant amount of time for a potential business partner to trust you with their product or service.
Lo and behold, my approach has changed and therefore the results have changed. I’m having more and more meetings, things are moving in the right direction and I’m finding myself becoming more comfortable with the idea of talking to someone over coffee. I’m even getting used to the taste too.
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Gareth Stafford is the owner and proprietor of Stafford Media Solutions.