“How to network successfully” interview with BAFTA award winning writer Geoff Thompson
1. How do you approach networking?
I am not a conventional networker, I don’t attend specific networking events, I like (what I call) divine networking; rather than looking at who I would like to meet I look at who I am meant to meet, then, when I am out and about I keep a keen, intuitive awareness about me. All of my best projects and opportunities have come from simply following my intuition; I get a definite feeling of excitement when I meet someone that I am meant to work with, I always follow that feeling and it always leads somewhere good. Everywhere I go I know that there will be someone there that I am meant to meet, and that the introduction will often be nothing to do with the industry hierarchy.
I once got talking to a lad (a book seller) who worked in Waterstones, and the time I spent chatting with him (he was an aspiring writer, and he wanted to interview me) lead to me meeting – purely through synchronicity – his sister who produced two of my films, one of which was BAFTA nominated, and one that won a BAFTA.
This lad was not even in the industry, but I felt the divine pull when I met him and I followed it.
When you follow the divine economy every meeting no matter how seemingly insignificant, is a powerful networking event.
2. Are there any networking mistakes you’ve made in the past?
The biggest mistake I used to make was contrivance, trying to network, trying to meet influential people who might help me make my films or plays, trying to coattail.
I believed that it was all about who you know, but that was my worldly naivety. Actually, now I realise that it is not about who you know, it is about who you are. If you are genuine, if you are congruent, if you
have a talent and are selfless in your quest to work with others to develop that talent, you will never go too far wrong.
I used to say to my wife, I need to meet this actor, that director, those financers.
She said to me, Geoff, stop trying to meet people, do the work, make the work so incredible and so unique that they will want to meet you.
That has proven to be very true for me. Do the work. The rest will look after itself.
Good work has gravitas, and the right people will be massively attracted to it.
3. When approaching networking, what’s your main goal?
To serve people. To serve people through my work. Whenever I meet people I always ask myself (in my sub-vocalisation) how can I serve this person? In the early days I was not congruent,
so I was always unconsciously thinking what’s in this for me? But this selfish attitude made me feel miserable, there was no joy in it. When I genuinely wanted to help others, the profit, the joy was
huge, in every sense of the word.
You can’t fake it though, you have to feel it, otherwise it is just clanging symbols.
If you think about others, they will know at some level and they will want to work with you, because you will be one of the very few genuine people who understand the true nature of reciprocity;
when you serve others, it always comes back to you in the end.
I understand that people might think this unworkable in such a tough industry, but I find that it works beautifully in any industry.
4. What are your 3 key pieces of advice when networking?
1) Every encounter, whether you know it or not, is a chance to practice divine networking.
2) Do the work – you can network all you like, but if you work is average, your results will be average too.
3) Spend more time finessing your skills than you do practicing your conventional networking. If you work is good your work will be found, who and what you need will come to you.
5. Do you find there are any differences to networking in the UK to the US?
In the divine economy it makes no difference.
For more details on Geoff Thompson’s past and present work, go to www.geoffthompson.com.