So we all know we're supposed to be networking in the music industry. The more people you know, the more likely it is you'll stumble upon someone who can help push your career forward right?
While this can be true, it's not as simple as that. You see, network wrong, and you could let potentially useful contact slip through your fingers. Furthermore, you'll probably waste a lot of time which could be better spent elsewhere.
It's one thing getting in front of someone in person or online, but if you don't make an impression or make it easy to work with you, chances are the relationship is going to break down.
With that in mind, let's look at a few things you can do to increase the chances you make the most out of your networking efforts.
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Put Your Face On Your Business Card
Now this may sound like a weird thing to do at first, but hear me out. When you next go to get your business card designed, make sure it has a picture of your face on it!
Musicians, put your face on your business card and make it unforgettable! – Tweet This
Think about it; the last time you went to an event, how many business cards did you pick up? If you got over 10 (or sometimes not even that much), chances are you went home, had a look at these cards a day or more later, and couldn't remember who gave you which one. I know, because this has happened to me. Multiple times.
The people worth networking with often get given a lot of business cards. Chances are, as well as all the cards from this event, they have more in their wallet from the last one too. So unless you made a real impression and they want to follow up with you urgently, it's going to be easy for them to forget which card is yours.
Having your face on your business card however makes it easy to remember exactly who it belongs to. In all honesty, I'm not sure why more people don't do this. Not only does it make it easily recognizable as yours, but it also gives you a talking point when you hand it over. So get your face all up on that card. 🙂
Only Connect With Someone If There's A Real Need
One things I often see musicians do is network for the sake of it. They're at an event, and they hand out business cards to everyone they end up talking to.
This kind of ‘get as many cards out there as you can' method is a waste of you time, and a waste of trees. I mean, if you're a singer and you give your business card to someone who does lighting for the odd event, what are the chances they're going to be able to help you down the line? Sure you may get lucky. You may send them a demo which they bring with them whenever they're doing a show and show to the event manager. But realistically, this isn't going to happen. Especially as they've probably never heard you before.
More likely you'll swap business cards and neither of you will ever contact the other.
There's nothing wrong with talking to multiple people at an event, but don't hand out your business cards just for the sake of it. Stay focused on what you want to achieve, and the people who can help you with that.
Note: Remember though, relationships work best when they're two way, so you should be able to benefit those you network with too.
Follow Up With Your Proposal Soon After
If you do find someone who you can really work with, for example a potential manager or another musician you want to collaborate with, follow up with them soon after the event. I'm not talking that same night (unless you told them you was going to and they agreed), but no longer than two or three days after your initial meet. You want to do this while you're still relatively fresh in their mind, so hopefully the excitement about what you've proposed is still there.
Leaving things for too long allows the momentum to die down, so try not to let this happen.
Don't Chase Up Dead Ends
One final tip I'll give it not to chase up dead ends. Inevitably, when you try and make a lot of contacts, some will be dead ends. You may feel you want to work with them, but for whatever reason, the feeling isn't mutual.
They might give you their contact details, but when you go to contact them, they might do one of a few things:
- Ignore it when you contact them.
- Drag out things they say they’re going to do, essentially not doing them.
- They may not be as qualified as they initially made out, making you not a good match.
If you encounter any of the above, it's often best to forget about this person and move on. You won't make a good partner for everyone, so accept that and focus on networking with those who appreciate what you can offer each other.
Networking can get you in front of some great people, but it can also suck up a lot of unnecessary time when done wrong. Using the above four tips, you can spend more time on networking with those who could potentially benefit you (usually you'd need to benefit them too) and spend less time on those time wasters.
Have you got any additional tips for getting the most out of your networking? If so, share them in the comments below.