How to Achieve Better Networking Through Art Art is a creative, dynamic expression, and through the combination of art and networking, you and your clients can create your own masterpieces of powerful collaboration.

By Christina Chara Ioannou

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you think the world of art is separate from work at the office? You might be surprised at just how many benefits will result from the mixture of the two.

Art is a creative, dynamic expression, and through the combination of art and networking, you and your clients can create your own masterpieces of powerful collaboration. How can you bring art closer to your corporate practice?

Art as a building block of relationships

Your relationship with your clients is more than just a business transaction. These aren't just customers; they are people with interests, hobbies and talents. As a corporate professional, you can build your relationship with your clients by connecting over more than just a single project or product. Why not hire a private gallery space for drinks with clients, or take a new client out to a vernissage as you discuss your ideas?

The best art provides a springboard for talk, debate or comment. The flow of conversation will be natural — no need to worry about awkward silences or pauses. Use the art around you as an easy inroad to discussions, a way to start up the exchanges which will lead to further collaboration.

Use networking and art in tandem, and you will be amazed at the results. Demonstrating your experience with culture, or even your wonder and curiosity at seeing something new, also makes each party more approachable. You and your client will learn more about each other than you would otherwise in a stale business meeting around a wooden table. Experiencing an event together, such as walking through an art expo, can inspire trust — and even inspire new ideas.

Related: From Dog Pictures to Art Memes, Here's What to Learn From the Social Media Tactics of Major Museums

Art as an inspiration

The creative spirit of art can inspire parallel dynamism in the business world. Think of a time when you were exhilarated at the pace of a project, at the flow of collaborative ideas. Remember the thrill of that drive, that channeled energy? Sometimes, sources of inspiration grow dull, and projects lose their momentum. The spark dies. By exposing yourself and your team to other sources of inspiration, you can broaden your creative sources.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that art and corporate business are incompatible worlds. Ideas can spring from anywhere. You can even organize a brainstorming session with your team at a museum or gallery space! Changes in scenery, place and exposure to new colors and media can all help you reinvigorate a project. Instead of meeting with a client to rehash old problems in the four blank walls of an office meeting room, why not bring them to a new space to make new headway?

Business networking 'outside of the box'

Let's say you work with new technologies or in the crypto space, for example, and you struggle to create that stakeholder group or supporting community you envisage, clientele, fan base or similar. It is important to stay at the forefront of all the developments linked to your sector, even the less obvious ones.

Everyone knows that digital art, blockchain and cryptocurrencies gave birth to NFTs. NFT collectors, apart from looking after sought-out digital artworks to invest in, are buying, selling and exchanging cryptocurrencies as well. Eventually, these people can become part of your trusted network! It's easier to ease in a discussion about your work by taking inspiration from NFT artwork or using it as a base, that's for sure!

That's why you shouldn't put on the side that NFT exhibition opening invite your received. Same for that digital art festival! You never know who you might be meeting there. Don't you have such an invite? No problem! You can easily get invited to such happenings by registering for the museum or gallery newsletters. In the end, all these gatherings with a social character were created for exactly that reason — to bring you closer to your future gang.

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Artspace exploration as a team-bonding activity

Your company's success is founded on teamwork. Think of a brilliant, luminous painting, full of details, wrought in acrylic or oil, whatever makes you catch your breath. Would the painting exist in all its beauty if the artist had made a single brushstroke of paint? No, of course not! It took a multitude of colors, of brushstrokes to create that cohesive picture. The same can be said of your company. Each member of your team brings their own skills, interests, educational background and abilities. It is the creative combination of your efforts that brings you all success.

That's part of why ensuring your team works well together is so important. Team-bonding activities and excursions help people to get to know each other in new settings outside of the office and promote friendly relationships. For your company's next team-building activity, what about organizing an outing to a museum? The small talk, banter, and stunning exhibits around you will provide a natural, stress-free environment for people to build relations, relax and have fun.

Maybe a conversation will spark a new friendship between coworkers or reveal a skill you never knew a colleague had, which could prove a valuable asset to your work. The benefits of team-building activities are numerous: greater productivity, morale and motivation, to begin with, as well as better communication. With a team-bonding activity focused on art, you will also send an important message to your team: creativity is encouraged. You may find yourself amazed at the innovative responses inspired.

Art is human. To make, to create — these are essential impulses that drive artists before a canvas just as much as they do businesspeople seeking entrepreneurial success. By connecting art to your networking and business practices, you will be able to progress in your work with renewed vigor, vision, and collaboration. Art helps you connect with clients across conversations, art inspires new ideas, and art spaces are great destinations for team-bonding outings. Bring art into your daily professional life, and paint a new vision of the dynamic possibilities ahead.

Christina Chara Ioannou

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of CCIcomms LTD

Christina Chara Ioannou is a seasoned international Communications & PR professional, specializing in strategic communication solutions for the cultural industries and affairs, luxury, and design. She has led more than 70 global communications campaigns to date.

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