Which of these is your typical response to growing your music network?
I really don’t like networking because it feels insincere and forced.
I’m perfectly comfortable networking — I just don’t know where to go to make the best use of my time.
I feel overwhelmed by trying to grow my network. It feels pointless unless I’m connected to industry A-listers.
I have a decent network but I don’t know what to do with it.
I don’t know anyone now, so how can I possibly “grow” anything?
If you can relate to any of the above, you’re not alone. In fact, I hear these responses time and time again when we encourage our clients to expand their music network.
However you feel about networking, you know this for sure: people hire people that they know and like. That’s just how things work.
But what kind of results you can realistically expect from networking? How quickly does it pay off? And how much time should you be putting into it?
I completely understand that you’re busy and so are the people in your network. You want to make sure you’re making the most of your time.Here’s how to build — and maintain — your music network in 10 minutes a day or less. Click To Tweet
#1 Choose the Right Connections (7 minutes)
Many of our clients ask if they should attend conferences in an effort to grow their music network. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the “return” of the cost and time it will take you to attend.
It’s also critical to attend only the conferences that draw in the kinds of people that you’re trying to meet. You want to find a conference where people will be open to getting to know you personally and to working with you.
There are a few ways to choose the right conference:
- You can learn more about various conferences by asking around. Someone you know is bound to have been to a conference or two, and they can share their impressions with you.
- You can also learn more by calling up the conference organizers and asking them about the vibe and the kind of attendees that they tend to attract.
- Finally, you can also ask the conference organizers to connect you to a previous attendee who might be working on something similar to you, so that you can ask them questions about their experience (or even gather tips for conference success) directly from them.
Identify one to three conferences that are the best use of your time using some of the methods above to make your decisions. Write down which ones you are committed to attend, as well as the names of anyone you know will be there.
Next, identify five to seven people you would like to stay in touch with closely over the next year. Write their names down and keep it in a place you’ll see often (like using a sticky note on your laptop or hanging it up near your desk).
#2 Networking Works Both Ways (8 minutes per email or 3 minutes per social comment)
Taking time to build relationships with people isn’t just for your own gain. If you’re able to connect someone in your music network with the right opportunity for them, you are actively building goodwill for all involved.
Remember that list of people you wrote down? Take some time to think about how you can help them.
I recommend emailing your key contacts three or four times a year and ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them. Also, take time once or twice a month to comment on their social media pages or promote their projects to your audience.
Regardless of the method you use for keeping in touch, make sure to reach out to your key contacts regularly, so that you stay on their radar.
#3 Get Tips from the Pros (10 minutes)
Rather than see each interaction as a make-or-break opportunity for you to “get in good” with someone, see it as a chance to get to know someone better and decide if this person is a good fit with your values and goals.
We talk a lot on the blog about the book Time to Think by Nancy Kline. The principles from this text can be applied to networking, in terms of the quality of attention you bring to your interactions.
Another book I like, is How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less. You can get it on Amazon, or even download the audiobook (which is what I have).
The bottom line is, if you can help people feel really great in your presence (by giving them attention and listening) they will be more drawn to you and will have a positive association with you.
The more genuinely interested you are, the better your networking experience will be. Take a few minutes a day to read advice from the pros, then put their wisdom into practice.
#4 Be Willing to Experiment (3 minutes)
I recently read that at one point, Mark Zuckerberg had the goal of meeting one new person every day for a whole year.
It might be interesting for you to try a similar experiment and practice striking up a friendly relationship with new people. For instance, if you go to the market and you are standing in line, you can practice starting a conversation with the people around you.
Doing this might make it less intimidating to start conversations with the important people you meet. Networking is like working a muscle; practice makes it easier over time.
Remember to Think Long Term
No matter which method of networking you choose, keep in mind that it will likely not result in major-scale results immediately. However, if you keep up with the relationships throughout the year, you will start to see real results over time.
And, even if things don’t go great at first, don’t give up! Let’s say you have a chat with someone but walk away frustrated because it wasn’t life changing. That’s the way these things go! I strongly advise you to stay in touch with everyone in your network from time to time.
You never know when the timing will be right for your contact to put you on someone’s radar or to invite you as a collaborator on something that s/he’s working on. One thing tends to lead to another.
How Do You Feel About Your Music Network?
I would love to hear where you stand on the topic of networking.
Is networking a strength or weakness for you?
What are some of the positive outcomes you’ve experienced as a result of knowing the right people?
Have you ever helped someone else find the perfect opportunity?
Leave a comment below.