How a Digital Camera Became the Ultimate Networking Tool
Before a trip to Ireland, I picked up a digital SLR camera to capture the sights and memories.
On that trip I realized I could use the camera for more than just keepsake photos. I received an urgent request to sign and send back a contract. Without a scanner on hand, I took a picture of the contract with my signature and emailed it to the client.
Since then, my camera has been surprisingly useful for my freelance writing business time and time again. I’ve photographed sketches to send to Web designers, business cards so I can stay in touch with new connections without a Rolodex, and even my equipment for insurance purposes. Any time I want to get something physical into a digital form, I turn to my camera first.
But the most surprising return is the connections I made just by walking around with a camera. It gives me a reason to approach people. In fact, people often flag me down to help them capture a special moment. (I go to a lot of blogging conferences, and let me tell you, bloggers love having their pictures taken.) Even important people who are otherwise too busy to chat are happy to stop and smile for a picture.
Taking a photograph also gives me a reason to ask for names and write them down. People can’t wait to hand me their contact info because they’d love to see how their pictures turned out. Even if I didn’t trade business cards with the subjects of a particular photo, they all seem to find me just fine when I post the photo on Flickr or Facebook. A camera is a networker’s best friend.
My trusty camera is a portal to a whole new world. When I hold my camera in my hands, I feel like a different person: I become an explorer, a connector, a digital mover and shaker. I’m no longer another forgettable face at a giant conference.
As a young freelance writer, networking is an essential part of my business. My trusty Canon Rebel has landed incredible opportunities for me. With a camera in hand, I’ve met amazing editors who offered me work, connected with other writers who are now my lifelong friends and discovered fascinating people who inspire my writing on a daily basis.
When I leave my office, I only take my laptop sometimes. But I always take a camera.