Networking - The Necessary Task
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Devoting time to network as an Interior Designer in the community or within your professional network is vital to the success of your business and career.
Networking keeps you connected to people who are doing what you do, support what you do (trades) or are possible future clients. By circulating and meeting people, you affirm your place as a professional in the community. By attending professional networking events, you are strengthening the values of the Interior Design profession. It is imperative that you strive to become a member of not only professional Interior Design networks but also business networks - to connect outside of your expertise.
It is no doubt a little intimidating at first - especially if you are an emerging professional in Interior Design. However, I have gone cold (knowing no one) to these events and you quickly realize everyone is feeling somewhat awkward as well. The more you do it - the easier it becomes and you actually end up enjoying yourself. Why? Because you meet people in your industry. People excited about what they do. People who want to see you thrive in the industry. Hearing their stories will inspire you and you can walk away feeling connected.
It is so important to be part of a professional network. I am connected to a few but the most prominent is ASID: American Society of Interior Designers/ LA Chapter.
We met this past weekend at a fantastic venue: Studio Channel Islands Art Center and visited the gallery, had a discussion with a panel of artists, went across the street to Sessions at the Loft and heard amazing acoustic music and then finished out the day with a lovely dinner and conversation with fellow designers. It was a terrific experience.
I have been doing these types of events for years and I still get a little reluctant to leave my day to go off and hang with people I don't know or am not too familiar with. But I'm always glad I did. Each time I walk away inspired and happy that I had yet another great experience.
Do you want to become an interior designer? There are many aspects to the profession and one of them is to connect and let people know your story. Get into a networking group, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is.
Here are a few tips to help you during those networking events:
It is most often through these events and the people you meet that you will discover resources, fellow designers and future clients. Don't be afraid to come out of your shell, we all know it's a bit uncomfortable at first. It will pay off, I promise.
- Bring plenty of business cards but don't hand them out like candy
- Hear other people's stories - let them speak. Ask them questions
- Practice what you might want to say when asked what you do or are doing. Keep it simple
- Don't corner anyone and monologue on how much you love interior design
- Circulate. Try to get to know who is in the room. Hear their story and you might learn something
- Be yourself and exude a friendly confident demeanor.
- Enjoy yourself!
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