It was 1992, in Linda Buzzell’s book, that I first read the words “watering your contacts.” I still use this phrase, because it’s pretty awesome.

Our contacts in this industry — and in life, really — are all different kinds of plants, and every plant requires a different watering regimen in order to grow, blossom, and thrive long-term.

There’s the ficus, that needs water every few days (especially if in good sunlight); then there’s the orchid, which I’m told does best when fed two ice cubes once a week (I wouldn’t know, since I *always* kill orchids within a week); there’s the violet, who needs to sit in a dish of water so it all gets soaked up from beneath; and then there’s the cactus… and you’d best keep that bad boy dry.

Think about how you have friends that require different tempos of contact to keep the friendships flowing. There’s the friend you have to stay in touch with regularly or it gets weird, and then there’s the pal you’ve not seen in years and it’s as if no time has passed EVERY time you get back together.

Your business contacts are no different. Some you’ll need to keep watered well. Others may only need a light spritzing of attention now and then.

How do you know who’s who?

Consult your show bible.

Yep. This is total show bible territory. And part of your early work in connecting with others includes sussing them out for what sort of plant they might be. Q&A during the CD workshop? Ask how best to stay in touch. And how often. Agent meeting going really well and it looks like they may sign you? Ask right then about best method of contact and preferred frequency. Networking event at which business cards are happily being swapped? You guessed it. That’s the time to find out what kind of plant you just met.

And consider this: What kind of plant are YOU? Do you need to get a text from your bestie daily? Do you get blue when your rep doesn’t make contact regularly? Are you sure the casting office that used to bring you in all the time has forgotten you exist when it’s suddenly a couple of months between visits? How much watering do YOU need?

Treating everyone the same when it comes to networking is, well, bush league, frankly. Don’t overdo it. Don’t underdo it. Get specific. Stay organized. And plan your garden’s feeding schedule with care. Spring will be here before you know it!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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