As I mentioned on the first post about networking, simply getting started and sharing yourself using readily available tools such as FaceBook and The Republic of Song are half the battle of networking to other musicians. These tactics get you out to the world, but they simply get you access to the people you want to connect with. To drive those connections deeper and forge them into meaningful, musical relationships, try these ideas.
Define Your Goals
Know who you are. Know what you want to accomplish. Know where you are headed. Know how much work you need to do to accomplish your goals. But above all else, know WHY you want to be a music maker. If you don’t know why you make music, no one else will either. Spend time thinking and talking with people about your motivations. The process will not only help you define yourself, but others will know you better as well. Unknown entities are full of surprises. Don’t be a surprise to your connections. Know and be known.
Think about it. Most people are very interested in what they have chosen to spend the majority of their time doing. If you are GENUINELY interested in what they do and like, say so by the questions you ask and the attention you give. Being sincerely interested in someone’s product or talent is one of the fastest ways to form a deeper connection.
Dull people don’t get far. If you’re not sure you’re interesting, read a book that will stimulate your art, attend a show, ask experienced musicians questions about their experiences, or simply practice more. Stimulate your mind in your field. Know your art as well as you can so that you can creatively diverge from the norm.
Communicate Directly and Honestly
Don’t force the communication. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t be a salesman. You don’t have to be rude and burn bridges with a potential contact, but don’t tell a drummer you like her style if you really don’t. Distorting the truth will only bring your own reputation down. Promote your strengths, but don’t over exaggerate your performance prowess. Simply be excited about who you are and what you enjoy, and the rest will fall into place.
Find what your desired connection needs or wants and look for ways to help. Recently, I found an ESL teacher in another country who was looking for educators to speak to her class to help them explore other cultures in English. The idea to me was even more rewarding when I realized that by helping her out and speaking with her class for an hour, I could also spread the word about the potential of The Republic of Song. Everyone loves a win-win situation, and lasting connections are made through reciprocation.
Of course as with any skill, don’t expect the process of developing rock star networking skills to be a predictable step-by-step process. Learning to reciprocate will help you define yourself as well as the opposite. Being interested in someone else makes you more interesting. Just dive in! Get started! Throw some mud up against the networking wall and have fun! Too much calculation will just help you end up where you started. Know the concepts and then have fun using them!
Your turn! Share with me your experiences networking. Have something to add to this list? I want to know!