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As a writer/director/actor it has taken me decades to understand "Networking". It's a horrible word for making friends with others in the same business. I took notes on an article by a journalist, whose words in some of the passages below are better than my own! (See single quotes) Whether you seek to make connections live or through social media, people who are good at this:

1. Don't focus on themselves.
'One of the most common mistakes is rushing talk about ourselves. That's understandable: We want to impress the other person, so we throw out lines about our accomplishments, interests and experiences.
But this can backfire. For example, I've had people mispronounce my name because they weren't paying attention the first time, or they'll ask me a question I've already answered. '

'Hear what the other party is saying and engage with them, rather than focusing all the attention on yourself.'
This is particularly true with social media. Getting involved in other's posts and genuinely engaging in their interests, rather than tooting your own horn all the time.

2. 'Use Positive humor, never negative:
Positive humor lifts each other up.
Laughs with others.
Gently creates a safe, comfortable and vulnerable space.
Is gentle-spirited and humble.

Negative humor:
Puts the other person down.
Laughs at the expense of others.
Humiliates, discounts or ridicules.

If you say something that the other person didn't find funny, acknowledge it with a simple: "I'm sorry, I guess that joke didn't go over well."

3. Never network without doing prep work.
This is especially crucial if you know you're about to meet with a Director, Producer, Writer, CD, high-level executive.

'If you're going to an event where you can see the attendee list in advance, identify a handful of people you want to meet. KNOW THEIR CREDITS! Prepare to move beyond small talk. Come up with questions that are unique to their work.' If you are a fan of their work all the better for specific questions and comments. I love nothing better than meeting people who actually KNOW my work and comment on it, but I've had beginning acting students take my class and not know I'm a feature film director!

4. Never expect the worst.
In social interactions,  or on social media, it's easy to overlook the potential upsides and instead obsess over all the things that can go wrong.

Nowadays you can friend everybody and anybody on social media. Done properly it leads to actual friendships.

Check out Katt Shea Acting on YELP!

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