Six Degrees of You
As a art marketer, one of your top priorities ought to be compiling a list of those people who are in the best position to help you advance your career.
The parlor game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, spawned all manner of conversational tidbits and even a humorous television commercial for the Visa check card. This entertaining YouTube clip explains how it works. I recommend you put the power of it to work for you!
I gave a talk to a packed house in Atlanta last week. The presentation was titled Making Art and Money in the Digital World. It was graciously promoted and hosted by Atlanta's premier giclée printing operation, Digital Arts Studio. I'm guessing I could easily make blog posts of half the 70+ slides in my the PowerPoint presentation.
Those who can help you are closer to you than you think
One slide from my talk is the subject of today's missive. Six Degrees of You. It's been part of my presentation for this topic for more than a year. Essentially, I have been conjecturing you are only six contacts away from anyone in the world. I was using a form of Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking intuition to make that assumption. Just last week, it hit the news that Microsoft researchers had proven I was wrong… but not by much. The MS researchers found the average to be 6.6 degrees of separation.
My point has been there are people who can greatly help you, some just for the asking. Others may require some schmoozing to get what you want, and some will snub you and you will never know why. As a art marketer, one of your top priorities ought to be compiling a list of those people who are in the best position to help you advance your career. The second part of that task is to use Six Degrees of You to seek them out.
You Miss 100% of the shots you don't take. – hockey great, Wayne Gretzky
The final part is to know exactly what you want from them, how to succinctly ask them for it, and to eloquently provide the Features, Advantages and Benefits of why they should help you. It's no different than making a pitch to a private investor. Just know what you want and why and what's in it for the other guy. In the case of those you ask, it might be nothing than noblesse oblige, or it could be to return a favor, or it might be a way to demonstrate and exercise their personal power. Their motivation only matters insofar as it might help you how to best present your suggestion for help.
If this sounds like a lot of work and bother, you are right. But when it comes to ROI (Return on Investment), only well done publicity comes close to offering you a similar rich payoff as does using the personal power of influential people.
If you are focused, ambitious and believe in yourself, nothing can stop you
If I am anything, I am a realist. I know suggestions like this are much more complicated to put to use than to say or think about them. Still, when you think about how just one, two or three powerful people can make an enormous difference in your career, what reason do you have to not professionally pursue them? Compared to how much effort and expense you put into preparing for a consumer or trade show, or into an advertising campaign, it is really not that daunting. The hardest part for some may be convincing themselves they are worthy of the desired attention. If that rings true for you, try reading my previous post, The Power of Believing in Yourself.
To help you with the elevator speech you should have memorized so you can easily and glibly respond to, "What do you do?" and "What do you want?", try the 15 Second Pitch site. It's free! There is real value in being able to quickly pointedly tell others about yourself. You will need to be able to elaborate, but this is a good start.
If you haven't started using the Personal Brain mind mapping tool, the project of identifying and connecting those who can help you would be a great way to get started.
Now, you've got ideas and tools. Just add your own ambition and go for it! Don't forget to write me from the top!