How to follow up with industry professionals | Surviving Actors

Getting out to events can be a fantastic experience- you build new connections, soak up industry knowledge and take active career strides. 

So I will admit it. I am hopeless at and hate networking. Although confident and do 'actory stuff' I am a bit of an introvert. I get the fear when I have to talk to strangers and do lots of 'I'll just get a drink/look at my phone/go to the toilet for the 11th time'

Anyone with me?  

Not only do I find the event bit a little scary but what happens afterwards.

How do you follow up? In the early days I didn't know what to say or do as I would convince myself 'he/she' wouldn't remember me.

So guess what I did? Nothing. Nowt.
Instead I allowed myself a good amount of time of not taking action so I could give myself the excuse of
'Well, it is too late now'

I am much better now and I force myself to move out of my comfort zone as stuff needs to happen right? 

Sooo, here are my best 6 tips I wrote for Surviving Actors. Store them, build them into your plan (i.e the day after an event, don't have a hectic day- make sure you have time to follow up) and action them

So how do you gain the maximum results after the event? How do you continue the momentum you have built and follow up and connect with the people who could help you move forward. 

Here are six strategies to help you:

1. Assess

Take some time to access the information you have been given, this way you can prioritise what is necessary to you. 

Pull out the business cards you have acquired and start to research the names and companies. Mark the ones that are relevant and put them to one side and bundle the rest up into a safe place- you never know when you might need them. Discard and recycle any duplicates or any completely unnecessary pieces of paper to avoid clutter central.

Download the tools you need to make it happen below

2. Prioritise

As you go through your ‘keep list’ there will be some follow-ups that will require immediate action. So take action. 

Having spoken at Surviving Actors for several years, you meet so many people throughout the day and you would be surprised how many people don’t follow up. By taking the time to do so will give you an advantage. Schedule a session in your diary to complete the follow ups- don’t fall into the habit of ‘I must get back to that person, I will do it this week’. Before you know it, time will have skipped by and the moment will have passed.

3) Be intentional

Before you complete a follow up, ask yourself why you are doing it. In becoming clear on your intention, you will then be able to find the right method of communication. 

For example, if you want to thank a casting director for their informative seminar, consider sending a thank you card through the post or via email using a company such as Paperless Post. This extra thought and effort will serve you well. Or alternatively if you are following up with an agent regarding representation, schedule in some time to fully research who they are so you can contact them in their preferred manner.

4) Make it easy

I always say it is more effective to write 20 excellent, personalised letters rather than 100 generic ones. Everyone is busy, so make the communication super easy for the reader.

Don’t include any lengthy downloads or endless attachments, streamline every part of the process. The easier you make the process, the more likely the reader will engage and you will gain a positive result. Check spelling, grammar and formatting- send yourself a test email first and check it on various devices. 

Include relevant information and be proud of what you have. Don’t litter the email with ‘I am waiting for x showreel’, send what you can that reflects your work or be creative- film a monologue.

5) Track who you contact and date

Keep a record of who you have contacted as no one likes to be bombarded. Equally if you contact a photographer and they don’t reply, you can make the decision to follow up or move on to an alternative choice- you won’t be stuck in limbo.

6) Tone

Be gracious, engaging, friendly and professional. Always tailor the follow up to reflect the meeting. Don’t be too over familiar or generic and cold. Find a middle ground which feels good to you. 

On the first correspondence focus on giving, not just getting. Just asking for something can be seen as pushy and demanding. Take the time to compliment (after researching) or say why you are contacting that particular person. Or offer to share their company’s content via your social media channels. Be the person you would want to work with.