Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to guarantee that you would be your most funny, charming, and magnetic self all the time? There can be a lot of pressure to “light up a room” when you’re attending a networking event, especially if you know that an agent or casting director from your target list will be there.
The ironic part about wanting to make a connection with someone you would like to work with is that the harder you try, the harder it becomes to actually connect with them. If they can’t see the real you, how can they relate to you and appreciate your unique cast-ability?
If you’ve ever felt like networking “just isn’t your thing,” read on because there’s a golden opportunity to totally change your expectations here.
Reject the need to impress.
Jack Plotnick has some really awesome affirmations around being yourself in any situation. One of my favorites is, “I reject the need to impress them.”
Instead of walking into the room feeling like you need an agent to meet you, be swept off their feet, and sign you on the spot, adjust the expectation. Perhaps the new expectation can be to go in and make everyone laugh or to really enjoy yourself. It could even be to make one solid connection with another actor at the event.
Find an objective outside of the need to find representation or getting called in for an audition. Whatever it is, put it into a one-sentence mantra or affirmation so you can periodically check in with yourself and stay on track. When you feel the pressure to make them like you come up, take a breath and say the affirmation to yourself. Then return to the present moment.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Sometimes your inner critic just needs to be distracted from the fears and judgments that naturally arise in situations like these. Try playing a game at the event: find a dozen things for which you’re genuinely grateful.
When you focus on feeling appreciative, thoughts that sound like, “Are they noticing me? Do they like me?” tend to slip away. Maybe you’ll realize that you’re grateful for the incredible friends that came to the event with you, or the fact that you’re able to pursue your acting dream.
Keeping your mind focused on positive things is a great way to stay relaxed and approachable.
You have everything you need.
The truth is you have everything you need to move your career forward. There’s no one casting director, agent, manager, or publicist who will magically make your career take off.
You could find yourself talking to one of your target list agents and realize that you really don’t think they’re a good fit for you after all. Stay grounded in knowing that you are your own best representation and there is nothing that can make or break you at this event.
Have you ever been intimidated when you walked into a networking event, but then had an amazing time? Share your experience in the comments below.
Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her book, "The Tao of Show Business," garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival, the London Festival, and the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation, and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work.
For more information about working with Dallas, visit www.dallastravers.com.