Follow our 5-step guide to networking and what your contact list grow in no time!
Making your way in any industry requires making connections and building a valuable professional network. You may have heard the term ‘relationships industry’ and knowing someone in the industry you want a career in certainly helps, but if you’re starting from scratch, then it is up to you to build your own professional network.
This can seem daunting at first, but it is an essential part of any career development and the music industry is no exception. The wider your network, the more opportunities, referrals and recommendations you’re likely to find.
So how do you network? How do you ensure you build meaningful and beneficial relationships?
We’ve put together our 5 top tips for networking to help alleviate any anxiety around how to build your contact list.
“Everything you want in life is a relationship away.”
- Go to the right places
The first task you are challenged with when wanting to build your networks is how to find the right people and places. The internet is rich with information on where to find the right events and places for rubbing shoulders with music crowds. We found Eventbrite and Facebook Events the best places to find the right events. Eventbrite tags all events to the relevant genre and facebook search bar allows you to search for very specific events, within a certain location.
You could also check out renowned and established music networking events, we recommend the Notting Hill Music’s Networking night, a bi-monthly networking event based at Tileyard London, where over 1000 creatives and music-business types descend upon Tileyard’s communal courtyard. The Birmingham Music Awards also hosts a monthly Networking Night at Mama Roux’s in Birmingham, full of talented musicians and music-business aficionados.
2. Know your brand
So you’ve found the right event, now you have to go and sell yourself. This isn’t a difficult task if you know exactly what you’re selling. Networking is a transactional exchange of guided conversation, with a potentially beneficial outcome for both parties. Go into each networking event with full confidence in your idea, artistry or whatever it may be, with a product ready to show your potential collaborator. We believe the best currency is still a business card, though some people like to gain Instagram followers, both are good options. However, a business card is an efficient way to give insight into your brand, get someone interested, and allow space for them to want to know more. Make sure all links on your business card take your potential future collaborators to a link with thorough information about yourself, or your music. Personally, we prefer one platform, over three, done properly. A website is still the best way to sell your product over social profiles, as they have creative limitations. We recommend Wix for creating a simple and efficient website if it is the first time you’re doing it.
3. Be genuine
This one may sound obvious, but this is for us, the most important tip to remember. Being genuine creates meaningful connections, think of the people you are approaching as professional friends, that could later become professional contacts, find common ground when discussing your passion and try to steer away from superficial conversations.
Of course, the goal of networking is to make connections and to find future professional collaborators, so explaining what you do and what your future goals are is a fundamental part of it, however, be sure to make space for the other person to talk too. Listening is one of the most important parts of any conversation and can be overlooked when you are trying to sell someone an idea. You will never know how compatible your ideas are, or what you have in common if you are unable to make space to listen to the other person. Keep your questions open, to allow space for the person to elaborate, they are more likely to enjoy the conversation and leave with a good impression if you make an attentive conversational buddy.
5. Follow up
Once you’ve made your professional and creative connections, be sure to follow up, and we recommend a 24-hour window to keep the momentum strong. Firing off an email with a “Nice to meet you” is not time-consuming and will keep your first meeting relevant. Cover touch points of what you discussed and what you enjoyed about the meeting, suggest a second meeting, so you have time to build on your initial talks and ideas.
Remember though, people may not respond right away due to busy schedules, do not put pressure if they do not reply straight away, allow them space and time to answer, if they genuinely want to connect with you, they will respond in their own time.
And most importantly, remember to have fun. Networking is a space for learning, building human connections and experience, with a potential mutually-beneficial outcome.
For more on our networking events, head along to our Eventbrite page here.