Having a successful career as a creative is more than just being good at what you do and having a fabulous portfolio; getting your name and face know is pivotal to building your career.

If, however, the thought of networking and selling yourself fills you with dread (especially face-to-face away from the blissful anonymity of social media) then fear not – here are some simple tricks to help you get creative about networking.

Virtual preparation

Ok, so this is not so much creative as essential. Ensure you have the basics covered; date, time, location, business cards; meaning you can arrive relaxed – not sweaty and breathless. Got that sorted, then you can get creative.

Use social media to get up to speed on the people and conversations already happening around the event (or even the previous events). Who’s posting or liking? Is there a speaker?

Get to virtually know the other attendees before you go. Feeling brave – then start some virtual hello’s before the event.

Have your phone handy

Checking your emails to avoid talking to anyone is not what we’re after here, but having some of your portfolio or recent work readily accessible as a talking point just might be.

I also attended an event recently where instead of taking a business card, the person emailed me a ‘hello’ from their phone as we were talking. Introduction and follow up in one. Nice!

Hover by the food and drinks

It’s so much easier to start talking about your love of sausage rolls or hate of mini quiche, to launch into a full-blown professional introduction.

Food and drink chat is an easy ‘in’ to more productive work conversations. Looking for someone in particular – they are bound to swing past the food and drink at some point making for a seemingly more spontaneous meeting.

Don’t talk

Can’t spot someone to aim for and chat to? Does it seem like everyone already knows everyone else? Stop worrying and just listen.

We are often so hell bent on talking we forget to listen. Stand near a group, listen, pick up the thread of conversation and join in when you can.

Even if you can’t join in you’ll start to get a measure of the personalities in the group or people you’d like to follow up with later.

Follow up

All that hard work is for nothing if you don’t do something after an event. Email, Link, Tweet, Like, Follow – this is the easy bit you get to do from the comfort of your own desk. Plus, don’t forget the organisers. They hold a wealth of data, information and potential introductions in the palm of their hand. Of course, most importantly, book to go again.

Relationships are built over time and your much more likely to find the work, partnerships, contacts, whatever your after, once people get to know you and you become a familiar face.


We know that some of the UK’s most talented digital & creative businesses call Derby and Derbyshire home. 

Mainframe is a community of those people, sharing their talent, knowledge and inspiration. Based at QUAD and funded via the European Regional Development Fund and Art’s Council England; we host free monthly meetup’s covering topics from the inspirational, to business growth to the downright futuristic and forward thinking. 

Mainframe is part of the Big House, a collaboration providing sector specific support; making it easier for digital & creative businesses to understand and access the free help available in our region. 


Looking for digital & creative jobs in Derby and Debyshire? Head to the new Mainframe jobsboard at mainframederby.co.uk/jobs