Networking Do’s & Dont’s

Networking is VERY important in this industry, from when I first started music blogging I’ve always tried to get to know the people I’m blogging.  I’ve had general chit-chat, I’ve hung out with artists and some have even become friends that I socialise with regularly. Now, we’re not here to make friends, but if you want someone to do something for you either now or in the future such as blog your music, interview you etc. it’s generally best to network with them first and build a rapport.

I do this a lot. Other people do it a lot. I have a dedicated Facebook for networking. However, it seems that some people are clueless.

{In no particular order)

DO

  • Be polite
  • Talk about music– What music do they like? Find out! If they don’t like your genre they might know someone who does and can help you.
  • Get contact details- a name, a number, email- even a Facebook or Twitter profile. A BBM isn’t enough!
  • Make sure they get your contact details– business card at the ready.
  • Find out what they’re currently working on– About 75% of the people in this industry are self-employed, so work more than one job. Knowing their current projects lets you know their availability.
  • Joke- but tread carefully. Joke, don’t banter. Banter becomes unprofessional and may seem rude if they’re not expecting it. You want them to associate you with laughing and happiness, not rudeness.
  • Try and have a meaningful discussion– Interesting discussions are way better than boring chit-chat. It will make them remember you more, but don’t go too deep because people have different views. For example, what do you think of the way the music industry has changed to become what it is today? What do you think of today’s music scene?
  • Talk about something other than music– They work with it all the time and sometimes people need to talk about something else
  • Be practical– Depending on where you are it’s not always best to play your music when you first meet them, but do make sure they get to hear it! E.g. A gig isn’t the best play to pull out your iPod and give them headphones.
  • Match your language– No, don’t try and be something you’re not, but do speak appropriately. When I’m talking to a slightly older generation/strict professionals I talk in perfect English, however if I’m talking to a teenage artist from London the use of slang such as the word ‘bare’ and even profanities (at times) is perfectly acceptable. Some people don’t like formal meetings (especially teenagers) so in some situations being casual is best.

DON’T

  • Chat them up– can you get more unprofessional?
  • Be rude– they’re the ones doing you a favour and there are plenty of other artists they can go to out there they could work with, although on the other hand you are bringing them business.
  • Be too stiff– personality helps people remember you!
  • Bug them– When you get their contact details don’t pester them every day to see if they’ve listened to your mixtape, it’s annoying and creates a bad impression
  • Become omnipresent– You are not God. When someone suddenly starts appearing everywhere and commenting on everything you post it can be very off-putting.
  • Invade their privacy– An artist recently asked about my sex life and then failed to understand why it was none of his business. Do not be that guy.
  • Have meetings in people’s homes!– If they don’t have an office go to a cafe (there are lots with free wifi)! Inviting someone in to your home for a professional meeting can be a bit awkward.
  • Come on too strong– If it’s a gathering at a social event them sometimes it’s good to watch and listen before making your move.
  • Make a bad impression– It’s a small world and the industry is even smaller! They say it’s only 2 stages of removal and we all know that bad news travels faster than good news. I for one do let other people I work with know about particular artists with bad attitudes. You may think they’re no one, but they probably know some people you want to work with in the future.
  • Get too cosy– You’re not friends, you’re not with them for fun, you’re with them to work. Yes, over time they may become a genuine friend, but for now don’t get too comfy and start being unprofessional.

There are A LOT more Do’s & Don’ts, however these are the ones that stand out for me and are the most common mistakes I come across.

@AyshBanaysh