Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Networking. For some, it’s a fun and invigorating activity. For most, it’s challenging, time consuming, exhausting, and not always the most productive. How can you get the most out of your networking time, create fruitful connections and generate new opportunities for your art career?

We collected the seven top networking tips from art business experts to help you get the most out of your networking efforts:

1. Help Yourself by Helping Others 

Approach networking with a “pay it forward” attitude. Create relationships based on positive interactions and goodwill. Then, people will be more willing to help you out with your art career goals.

“By helping you I help myself.” - Renee Phillips

2. Meet Other Artists and Offer Support 

Building on the last tip, make an effort to meet other artists. Go to association meetings and offer resources, tips, encouragement, and useful discussion. And keep attending - make yourself a familiar face!

“Your art community is actually a perfect place to start your own network.” - Carolyn Edlund [Artsy Shark]

3. Prepare an Elevator Speech 

People are bound to ask “So, what do you do?” Have an “elevator speech” ready so you know exactly what to say. It only needs to be a few sentences - a minute or less - about who you are and what you do. If they’re interested, they will follow up with additional questions.

“Your standard opening explanation should be brief and to the point” -  Alan Bamberger [ArtBusiness.com]

4. Look to Connect, Not to Sell

Switch off the infomercial instinct. Instead, focus on forming a genuine connection with people. Ask questions about who they are, what they do, their interests etc. People are looking to see if they can relate to you.

“You’re looking to engage the other person, not to control the conversation.” - Alyson Stanfield [Art Biz Coach]

5. Collect Business Cards and Follow Up 

Show interest by collecting business cards from the people you meet. Then follow up. Send an email or a card - and be sure to include the context of the meeting. Set up a future appointment with your best connections. Learn more ways to leverage your contact list here.

“Get business cards from everyone you meet. Jot notes about them because you will be following up later.” - Carolyn Edlund [Artsy Shark]

6. Bring Your Own Business Cards (Lots!)

Be sure to have a stack of your own business cards to hand out to interested people. It’s an easy way for them to contact you - and it’s professional. Want to create a memorable business card with the right information? Check out our tips here.

7. Relax

Meeting new people can be fun and full of endless positive possibilities. Stay calm and enjoy getting to know people who are interested in art. You never know where it might lead. And remember, people are rooting for you to succeed!

“Ever stand up before an audience and introduce yourself? It can be flustering, but understand that your audience wants you to get through it, and they support you.” - Carolyn Edlund [Artsy Shark]

Being social might be the key to your art business. Try these 6 activities that will help you build the right relationships.