These are not the only tools for the artist.

As I mentioned yesterday, Lisa and I attended an “Entrepreneur’s Expo” on Friday night. One of the more memorable people we met was Keith Paris, a local artist whose particular focus is three dimensional art — basically imagine a painting with raised and textured surfaces. His work is meant to be touched. In particular he designs his work for the visually impaired. One of the pieces he had on display at the expo even had the title in Braille incorporated as a part of the picture.

Now as cool as the idea is, the story behind it is just as compelling.

He told us how when he was younger he had done some work around the house for his aunt who was blind. One of the chores was applying stucco to a wall. He accidentally left a handprint in the middle of his efforts which eventually set up there. His aunt later happily told him that she could tell he had been there because of that handprint. What had been a mistake on his part ended up making an emotional connection for his aunt which she treasured for many years. He realized then that he wanted to make art for that section of our society which artists often overlook — the visually impaired.

Now, I have not done his story justice. When he tells it, you can see the shine of profound emotion in his eyes. And it’s an emotion which he conveys to his listeners.

The funny thing was, Keith claimed that he wasn’t a very good networker. Yet, he had already accomplished two of the goals that any good networker must in order to be successful. He knew why he he was doing what he was doing and he also knew for whom he was doing it. Once you have those core basics in place, the rest of networking is a lot easier.

So, if you do want to improve your networking practice, take a page from Keith’s book. Know who you serve, but also know the reasons why you’ve chosen to do that. Then just tell the story.

Photo credit: Billy Alexander