4 tips from a professional creativity coach on getting the most out of networking

Paul Shadi Sanbar, Shapr member

Paul Shadi Sanbar makes a living coaching creative professionals and solopreneurs on how to set actionable plans for artistic pursuits. Referring to himself as a Creativity Launch Coach, Paul first works with his clients to visualize successful outcomes that are aligned with their core values. Next, Paul helps his clients devise a plan of action for achieving their goals while attaining a healthy work/life balance. Shapr caught up with Paul for a few coaching tips on how to get the most out of networking:

1. TRY DIFFERENT APPROACHES

Networking is a great way to work on your elevator pitch. It can be difficult to experiment in person since our natural inclination is to stick to a script we know well. An app like Shapr gives you more time to craft a response due to asynchronous communication. Use the time to experiment with different ways of breaking the ice and to get better at articulately explaining what you do when you meet for coffee. Also be sure that your profile gives a great first impression and make sure you change your interests and bio over time to reflect your current networking goals.

2. ASK QUESTIONS

True coaching is about asking powerful questions and then listening to those answers. Networking works the same way. When I meet someone new for coffee, I always ask the same question. “If you had the best possible experience with meeting someone from this app what would you be walking away with?” That is a great question to break the ice in person and learn more about the goals of the person you are meeting, so you can have a humbling conversation that is two-sided.

3. NURTURE THE RELATIONSHIP

Treat a new connection like you would treat a budding plant that was left on your doorstep. You may not know right away what kind of flower that plant will produce, but you want to nurture it and help it grow. If you hurriedly put that plant outside or rush to pour buckets of water on top, you may drown or scorch it. Instead, take time and let the growth happen organically. While not all new connections will blossom, the ones that do can lead to great projects and conversations.

4. BE GENEROUS

Networking is not just about selling services or finding clients. If I made that the number one reason I am on a networking app, I would not be as authentic as I want to walk through this life. You should focus first on developing genuine relationships and jump at the opportunity to talk with younger professionals in your field who may be seeking advice or mentoring. I feel the most inspired after meeting someone from a similar field and exchanging ideas and advice. Try to leave this place a little better than you found it.

Paul is an active member of the international and local chapters of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and also writes and performs poetry in his hometown of Los Angeles. For more information on Paul’s coaching services visit his website or download Shapr and look for him on the app!