How to Effectively Network

Welcome back, music lovers and makers. Today, we’re going to talk about networking! I’m really excited to delve into this topic, because it’s something I struggled with for a long time, and I’m only just now hitting my stride with. As an introverted socialite (or something like that), I always find that I want to be out where the people are, but when I get there, I struggle to talk about myself, make new friends, or I feel like whatever I have to say will bore people. Not good! 
Even if I do have a connection with someone, I’ll usually be too nervous to follow it up over the following days or weeks. So let’s dive into this mystery, and figure out how to successfully network. 
First things first:

It’s who you know, not what you know.

Ah yes, the age-old saying. But it’s true. That, and a combination of being in the right place at the right time. But at least you can semi-control who you know. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that most of us weren’t born to someone already famous, and thus doesn’t have unlimited resources and money to start their career. So, we need to go out and meet as many people as we can. The most important thing I would advise is this: Never stop talking about what you do. You might meet a producer, who’s work is just about to take off, but if they don’t know you write toplines, you may miss a great opportunity. Always mention your passions, because you never know who’s listening. But it’s not always easy to offer up information about yourself. So…

Go to events where people will have a common interest. 

Networking nights, music seminars, you name it. The Marshall Street Studios networking night was great fun, because everyone was on the same level, and we all got to jam together and share our experiences. I still talk to a handful of people who I met on that night, and we all get behind each other’s releases or music news. This industry is about making and maintaining good relationships, and the best place to start is locally. But, do you find yourself getting nervous when you go to these events? Worry not! You just have to…

Be you after 2 glasses of wine.

Or beer, or whatever your poison is. Me after two glasses? I LOVE her. She’s fearless, confident, and feels like everything she says, matters. Not to be confused with me after 5 glasses, who is more or less the same, but it’s become inappropriate. 
What I’m saying is: be yourself, but relax. Take it all in, feel no urgency, and just roll with the punches. You don’t even have to drink to put this into practice, and I’d actually encourage you not to. Just remember that feeling and draw from the carefree nature of yourself after two glasses, even when you’re completely sober. 

Speak to people in all stages of their career.

There’s no such thing as people who are on a “higher level” than you, or more/ less advanced in their career. Artists blow up and overtake other artists all the time. Just because someone’s been doing something longer, doesn’t mean the girl you know who started last month won’t catch the right person’s attention next week. Or that you’ll be that person, either.  If you see someone in the game who you look up to, or if someone who’s just started out comes to you for advice, embrace it. Remember: no-one is ‘too good’ to talk to you, and you’re not ‘too good’ to talk to anyone, either. Every connection matters.

Don’t have an agenda

This one is a bit tricky. Because, isn’t “networking” just forming relationships with people to help you further advance in your career? Well, yes and no. Primarily, you want to be focusing on the relationship, the friendship itself. Don’t introduce yourself to someone while you’re thinking “what can this person give me?” People will see right through that and it will backfire on you, fast. Keep in contact with people who you really connect with, even people who you admire. There’s no shame in messaging someone, or commenting on their posts to try and get their attention, and form that relationship. Just make sure you actually like who they are (or who they seem to be) and you’re not just doing it to get “noticed”. 

Networking is a tricky business sometimes, and what comes naturally to some, is difficult for others. Figuring out how to network effectively is something I will always be working on and improving, and I will always be striving to form new relationships in this industry.

I hope this article has been of some help to those reading, so now we can go out and conquer the world with our new found skills! Hit me up if you want at alex@marshallstreetstudios.com.au

All the best!

Al

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