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Zambia Chronicles 2023 — Day 4 - afternoon Professionalism & Networking workshop

Where do I want to go? What do I need to get there? And Who's going with me?!

Taking inventory

We've handed out a practical worksheet to help guide each participant on a review of past successes/“failures”/experiences; goals and vision for the coming years; while identifying current strengths and “weaknesses” (aka gaps in skills and/or resources). A fairly personal process of self reflection intended to help any artist to shape their next steps and identify potential collaborators/partners.

Getting the gig

Who doesn't love a good Venn diagram? I came up with this one to help frame the discussion for our first entrepreneurship workshop in Bamenda, Cameroon in 2012, and it's still serving its purpose in shifting the artist mindset towards a more holistic approach to one’s craft, and one’s resources (both human and material).

After a lively debate around the distinction between pure showmanship and other equally important skills, participants brainstormed and shared personal experiences around the various facets their human networks including such as fan base, employer/income base, and communication/promotional assistance.

We were all reminded that there is no magic formula that guarantees results, but that “following the bread crumb trail” as I like to say, showing up regularly and “going where it’s warm” yields surprising engagements.

Keeping the gig

Consistency is the name of the game. Again participants shared their experience on how producing a reliably consistent product (“always bring your A game”) and a steady dose of regular communication helps keep us on each of our network’s minds so that we will be the first one they think of when they require the expertise we so deftly provide.

Know thine audience

And above all, cultivate meaningful means of communicating with each of one’s various networks. Meeting them where they are and providing them with a “path of least resistance” to engaging with you.


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