Do This At Your Next Artist Meeting

Do you go to artist meetings and stick with your usual crowd?
Do you attend meetings to hear the speaker and leave without connecting with other members?
Two weeks ago my team received an urgent email from Ramon Magee from the Summit Art organization in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He said his speaker for the evening had cancelled and they needed a program.
I got on the phone with Ramon and, in lieu of my hopping on a plane to fill in for their errant speaker, suggested a networking exercise. I gave him the specifics of how it could work and, after he thought it sounded good, I sent him a document that he could reproduce and use with his members.

Facilitated group sessions at my workshop in Nashville. March 2013. Photo by Mary Claire Crow.
Facilitated group sessions at my workshop in Nashville. March 2013. Photo by Mary Claire Crow.

He promised to report back to me on how things went.
“WOW what great feedback we got!,” Ramon said, adding, “this was better than a speaker.”
Of course, I don’t want to put myself out of a job. I’m very proud of how I facilitate networking at my workshops and seminars. My favorite part of the work I do is connecting artists to one another – whether it’s at my live events or in my online classes.
But I would be selfish if I didn’t share the goodies with you.
So . . . here’s the exercise for you to use with your own group. Just don’t wait for a speaker fail to make it happen.

Networking Exercise for Artists

Allow equal time for each participant in a group of 2-4 people. Someone must be in charge to facilitate the time and group organizing.

  1. Introduce yourself to someone new – don’t stick with your usual crowd!
  2. Practice introducing yourself as an artist to see what is most effective.
  3. Discover something you have in common.
  4. Find out what s/he needs most right now.
  5. Offer an idea, contact or resource to help with that need.
  6. Bonus: Think of something to collaborate on.
  7. Allow 15-20 minutes at the end for people to share what they learned.

Ramon added this about the Summit Art experience:

As an observer, during the exercise I was able to witness the sincere and open exchanges in the groups.  They were showing each other cell phone images, and having genuine conversations.  Sometimes the dynamics were between two each of the group of four then would change to four then back to two.
In the end they want to do it again, which we will.  They all felt that the general meetings left the group seeing but not knowing either the person next to them nor those whom they see across the room.  They come, each to their “own pew”, or with a friend/s they know, then leave with organization news and a learning experience provided by a quest speaker.
I suggested to the group that we might also use this format for idea generation for our organization.  They agreed and seemed hungry for more……..which is great.

Use It

I have adapted this networking exercise from another speaker and I wish I remembered where I first heard of it so I could share credit.
Since connecting artists is a top value in my business, I’d love to help you by sharing this networking exercise download. Just promise you’ll share the results with me.
So, how can you use this? Can you see a way to adapt it outside of a meeting?

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9 thoughts on “Do This At Your Next Artist Meeting”

  1. Victoria Pendragon

    I love this Allyson. I love the reaching out, the support offered, the implied sense of community.
    I’ll remember this.

  2. I always make sure I introduce myself to at least one stranger everywhere I go… it eventually became part of my personality.
    It does wonders for business. A great part of the new people I reach out at meetings, festivals and competitions, become collaborators or at least friends of mine. And many of them are simply awesome people.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Interesting. If that’s the case I’m curious as to why you are hiding behind a moniker here.

    2. Haha, well said. 🙂
      It’s mostly because I have a few different online businesses. I can’t really use my real name for each one — there are lots of reasons for this, and I’m sure you can think of some yourself.

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