This time of year is generally quite ripe with networking opportunities. Be it dedicated networking events or Christmas parties, there are many events to choose from. If you’re looking for networking events to head out to, have a look at this list we put together! In this article though, we’ll be looking at networking tips, the importance of networking and how to get connected in the music industry. It might seem basic, but learning to build your network the right way is a vital skill for every career!
So here’s what we found out from the AIM x Wishfish Networking Event that we attending last week!
What is music industry networking?
Networking in the music industry is one of the most important things you can do to further your career. Go out and meet people who can help you make great music or get opportunities. You need to surround yourself by like-minded people who can help push you that bit further and open doors for you.
The importance of networking
You can hardly look anywhere without being told how important networking is in the music industry! Everywhere you turn you hear ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. It’s very cliche but it’s also very true. It’s basically essential to your career, whatever that may be. Music is often a collaborative process: the majority of hits these days are made by more than one songwriter and even when the song is written you still need a producer, perhaps a manager, a record label and a publisher to get your music out there. This works in multiple directions and combinations of course. A manager is nothing without bands or artists to manage and connections to share their music with. Music supervisors would have a much harder time finding the right music if they didn’t have a network of publishers, labels, sync agents and more.
I could go on like this all day but I’m sure you get the idea by now. Networking is vital to your career in music, regardless of your role! You’ll also get more opportunities thrown your way the more people you know.
Having more connections gives you access to more opportunities and gives you more chance of getting recommended for jobs. By knowing them, essentially you have access to all their network too!
How to network in the music industry
Make sure you prepare
What are you planning to get out of it, why are you going, and what are you going to say? Another really basic one is making sure you have business cards.
Set yourself a goal
An obvious one for this is the number of new people you plan to meet (otherwise known as touchpoints). A good number for this is 3-5, but obviously the more the merrier as long as they are good quality contacts that you’ve actually had a proper conversation with. Tell yourself that you’re not allowed to leave until you’ve made at least 4 touchpoints or that you’re not allowed another drink until you’ve met two more people. We are all human so most of us find networking awkward and uncomfortable. Something that was said at AIM’s networking masterclass was that “we’ve been taught all our lives not to talk to strangers, or be wary of strangers. And now all of a sudden with networking, you find yourself being forced to talk to strangers in a room full of strangers”. No wonder we find it a bit uncomfortable!
Ask yourself what the benefits are
Why are you going? Probably the first one that pops into your mind is ‘making connections’. You’d probably be right! However, there are also other benefits. Such as spending time with your team outside of work (that is if you go as a team). Strengthening connections you have made in the past (if you bump into people you already know and take the time to chat to them again). Now this one is a little crazy but if you follow these tips and relax a bit, you might actually enjoy yourself! Networking events can definitely be fun and give you a break from your usual day-to-day routine.
What are you going to say?
Make sure you can explain who you are and what you do concisely and in a way that piques the other person’s interest. Have an elevator pitch ready if necessary! Important things to definitely include: name, job title, company and a short explanation of what you or your company actually does. It sounds harsh but apparently, people make up their minds about you within the first 3 seconds of meeting you so make sure to make a good impression.
Research who’s going. If there’s a guestlist, have a look and ask yourself if there’s anyone you definitely want to speak to.
Give yourself a confidence boost. We’ve already established that networking is awkward for most of us and because of this, you’re likely to try and talk yourself out of going. Don’t let yourself do that! It’s a great opportunity and you know it. It’s just your insecurities talking so don’t listen to that. Be confident and go for it!
When you’re there
- Have your first conversation as soon as possible. This relates to what we just talked about in terms of confidence. You need to get yourself into the right headspace. The longer you wait, the more you’re likely to overthink, the worse it is!
- Scan the room and use your instinct to find people who are on their own or look a bit left out and go talk to them. Whilst doing so, make sure to look as if you’re open to conversation because then someone might approach you!
- Keep an eye on your body language. Stand confidently (even though you might not feel it!) and make sure to be open. That means no hands in pockets, no crossing your arms and all of that stuff you would normally do to make yourself more comfortable in awkward situations. I won’t go into body language any more here as you can find a lot about it online and in books. Body language is fascinating and definitely worth reading into if you want to make a better impact with whatever you do.
- Have some easy small talk subjects to talk about. Think in advance about things to say to fill those awkward silences and keep conversation going long enough until you can make a graceful and respectful exit. Some obvious ones are to talk about: the venue, the live music (if there is any), where they’ve travelled from and more. If you’re networking at a conference, ask them what talks they went to and what they learned.
This is probably something you’re aware of. You are probably also aware of your own ability to do this (or not do it). However it is one of the most important parts of networking as you may have talked to someone, but without following up, you still won’t get anything out of it. Collect business cards and keep notes on who you talked to. I personally like to make sure I take a pen to these events and after talking to them I’ll write down one or two facts about them on their business card so that I can personalise the email to them. This makes them more likely to remember you and also want to reply.
So there you go, that’s our in depth list of networking tips! I could probably sit here adding more advice but I think you have enough to put into practice for now. Let us know if you’d like a part 2 and what you’d like to see answered in that! In the meantime, if you really don’t feel confident networking or if you can’t wait for a networking event and want to start collaborating now: take a look at our marketplace and create a project today to start expanding your network and find your partner in crime!