"I hate networking. I don't know what to do"This is a common thing you hear writers say. But actually it's a common thing to hear anyone in business say. I can't tell you, in an online post like this one, what to say. It has to be your words, about you. But I can give you four tips on how to say it and what your approach to people should be like.
1 – Be normalTake a step back and think: How do I communicate with someone else at a human level, just two professionals discussing a project? Not as a crazed, passionate, self- obsessed writer trying to impose themselves on someone they see as a walking pile of cash! If you are thinking; "how can I get them to do x" then you are already on the wrong path.
2 – Dialogue, not monologueYour conversations with anyone in the industry should be just that, conversations. You should be listening as much as you are talking, showing an interest in their projects as well as expounding the benefits of yours.
3 – Talk slowerThe ideas you’re outlining are well known to you, so you talk through them fast. This could be coupled with the desire to just get the damn thing said quickly. This is akin to the man who decides to drive home at top speed because his brakes are broken. Slower means you look more confident and you are less likely to trip over your tongue and come across like a gabbling fool. So, yeah, slow it down.
4 – Listen, really listenListen to what the other person says. And that means really listen. Not listen out for the things that you want to hear and ignore the rest of it. Listen to tone and watch body language, too.
Note: This is an extract from our book, the UK Scriptwriters Survival Handbook which I co-wrote with Danny Stack. This has been one of the more popular sections, hence why I'm sharing it here. Give it a go!