“I think the simple act of having a plan is already going to be a major leap forward from going on your gut instincts or hunches.”

Thanks to everyone who took part in last week’s “Growing from the Bottom Up” workshop, and to Genevieve Tran at NetGain Partners along with Doug Simpson for synthesizing the knowledge and insights they have gleaned from working across the arts and culture sector in the last two decades. The final summer workshop this Wednesday will be all about “Leveraging Your Network”, hosted by BeMused Network founder Margaret Lam at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information (140 St. George Street), 4-6pm.

No matter what Mark Zuckerberg may want you to believe, networks aren’t a new development. Human social networks go way back, if not quite as far as the origins of homo sapiens, then at least as far as language itself. But how often do any of us sit down and consciously map out the networks we’re a part of, or deliberately set out to use those networks to achieve our goals?

This deliberate, systematic approach is one of the aspects Margaret will be highlighting on Wednesday. Drawing on research methodology used by sociologists, the participants will map out a rough sketch of their individual network and identify the network’s strong and weak ties.

Marge_Lam“I think the simple act of having a plan is a good start. Just articulating to yourself, ‘I understand this is in my network, and these are the things I’m going to do to activate it for these purposes,’ and having that written down somewhere, is already going to be a major leap forward from going on your gut instincts or hunches.” Margaret says.

While the mapping exercise is valuable, the workshop will be taking the process a step further: We want you to come to the workshop with your top priorities in mind: What are your most important goals as a performing artist right now?

“The synthesis of these two can help you figure out how you can leverage your network to accomplish your goals.” Margaret says.

“Your network is an asset. It has social value, but also capital value if you’re using it in fundraising or sponsorship efforts. It’s one of the most overlooked assets that all of us can easily tap into.” she continues.

“Social media is such a pervasive part of our day-to-day lingo, and we use the words ‘network,’ ‘social,’ and ‘community’ without really knowing what that means. In this workshop, I want to turn a lot of that colloquial discussion into applied knowledge, addressing the specific needs of the workshop participants.”

To get a better sense of your own network and how to best make use of it, sign up today and join us at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information, 140 St. George Street, 4-6pm on Wednesday, August 13th.

Got an idea for future professional development workshops? Leave us a comment below!