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Tips for Successful Professional Engagement in the Creative Sector

By Colin DeKuiper

Opportunities to speak with industry professionals abound, whether you are still in school and can attend invited speaker events and conferences or network with alumni, or are in a professional setting such as a work event, social event, or a colleague-referred meeting. It is important that you are well prepared to maximize the outcomes of the opportunity.

Prepare by locating articles and resources that provide information on:

  • The individual you’ll be meeting or hearing from
  • The organization that individual works with/for
  • The topics that are currently affecting that industry sector

Questions about the individual will help you to:

  • Connect with that person
  • Gain an understanding of how her / his unique experiences have contributed to their current professional role
  • Gain an understanding of the skill and experience sets required by a professional role
  • Understand how that individual approaches their work

Questions about the organization will allow you to:

  • Understand what makes that organization unique compared to its competitors
  • Find out how it communicates its mission and engages an audience
  • Connect how individuals contribute to an overall organizational culture

Questions about the role of that organization within the creative sector will enable you to:

  • Gain insight into how an individual and its organization deal with industry change
  • Discover areas for growth within the creative sector

It’s always good to be able to talk about your skills, experiences, and interests, but knowing your audience allows you to ask the right questions and create professional opportunities.