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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Dec 15

The Challenge of Networking in the Irish Event Industry

We're all very quick to advise students looking to get into the event industry here to 'get out there' and 'network' but is it actually that easy to do? I don't think it is and that's our fault.

We joke in here that there are 2 types of networking - online and offline. Put more simply, on Twitter or in person. 

The joke continues that I'm really good at networking through Twitter. We've met some amazing clients and suppliers on there and there's definite value in it. Martin and Mags then are really good at networking in person. They connect with people quickly and that, obviously, has significant value too. 

We've put together a Team that has members who are good at both. That works for us. 

The problem

Students and people looking to get into the industry here have no real opportunities to network with people already in the industry. 

When we set out to put on the SideStage event we ran recently, providing people with an opportunity to network in person was one of our goals.

On the day of the event all members of our Team were approached by various attendees as were plenty of our contributors.

It was a good feeling, knowing that the event we'd put on was giving people that opportunity. Some people were always going to come to SideStage to enjoy the panels and head about their business after. Others, those who have been starved of opportunities to network in person, were always going to take advantage of being in the room with some good industry people. 

We met some great people that day. We met students and people looking to get into events that have been in touch since too. I'd imagine the same can be said for the other industry people who were there on the day also. 

When will people get to do the same again? Other than doing so on Twitter (which, by the way, some are doing quite effectively) what opportunities will they have to do this again?

The solution(s)

We need to provide these networking opportunities. It'll benefit those looking to get into the industry in the short term and it'll benefit us and the industry in the medium to long term. 

It's an important step in the development of the industry we all love so much. It's one element of the industry becoming more professional, both in our own eyes, and the eyes of those outside the industry. 

We need to be welcoming and open to new people coming into the industry. We need to give them chances to speak with us and get in front of us. 

All that said, there's also an onus on the students and those looking to get into the industry to help themselves too. They can run events to give themselves networking opportunities too. They can invite industry professionals to come in and talk to them. They can run conferences themselves too. 

It needs some work and effort on both sides to provide these networking opportunities. 

The bottom line

Whether it's structured networking events, conference events like SideStage, going out to colleges and guest-lecturing or anything else, we need to make these things happen. We owe it to one another, the industry and to those looking to get into the industry. 

They're our future and the industry's future. 

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