12 Networking Tips To Success (Virtually) In The Ever-changing Music Industry Landscape
Indie music publicist and networker extraordinaire Fiona Bloom offers her tips on music industry networking during COVID lockdown.
By Fiona Bloom of The Bloom Effect
I’ve been called one of the best networkers in the Music Biz. My calling very early on in life was to connect with people.
Nothing makes me happier than introducing folks to each other and seeing the sparks and energy light up the room.. It’s quite magical!
It’s also a true gift to be able to work a room. Get outside your comfort zone, push yourself to start conversations, engage and listen. Hard enough to do pre COVID let alone now, but…. Entirely possible.
In fact, I’m here to show you just how to sharpen your networking skills in a virtual world effectively.
Ready? Let’s Go!
It’s important to make people feel comfortable in a room so, being friendly and showing kindness will have you being well received already.
What is the definition of Networking? A person who interacts /engages or exchanges information with others working in a similar field, especially to further their career.
Networking doesn’t necessarily have to be Career Driven ….. It could also be to optimize your personal and social interests. For example, you’re pulling your resources to find the best Pediatrician in your area, or a tip on best destinations to spend your next holiday or recommendations on restaurants in the area.
You could also expand your friend network if you’ve moved to a new City and looking to meet people for social activities or just companionship. May be matchmaking is a desire. Introducing people to each other who end up getting married and or you find love yourself
.I’d also like to mention Networker vs Connector.
Being a Connector comes from mastering networking. Think of it as martial arts. You go from Blue Belt to Black Belt highest level of mastery. Connecting is a special ability and gift to be able to size up the room and able to identify who’s a good match for folks outside of your own gain. Someone who knows many people and always making introductions.
You want to have a Purpose when you’re in the room – no matter the size. Could be 16 people, 2 people or 600 folks. Always know what You’re Looking for…..Your motivation for attending an event for example or why you are interested in networking to begin with.
You can’t be afraid to volunteer. Raise your hand, ping someone. You always want to be on your toes as you never know when someone will call on you. Always be prepared. Show up Ready!
Introductions are short and sweet. They need to be captivating and memorable, as the person you want to introduce yourself to is often a power mogul, role model, successful enterprising person with limited bandwidth and engagement -which is why you want to meet them in the first place, but ….Why should they care?
Introduce yourself, give a concise short backstory (Career/Journey) and your purpose /motivation. Everyone should have purpose. Your reasons for wanting to network and what you’re looking to get out of it.
Here are my 12 Gems and I hope you utilize them wisely!
Update Your Social Channels and Footprint: Make sure everything looks clean and easy to navigate and that you’re consistent and seamless across all platforms. This should include your website (Everyone should have a snapshot/splash page with just the contact info, a sign up mailing list, and integrate all your socials so everything’s in one place(Socials should include LinkedIN, Instagram, FB, YT if appropriate, and Twitter)
RESUME– – now’s the time to be working on rewrites of your Resume so you can be ready for whomever you meet that may ask you to send it.
Show Up Ready – Ready to be put on spot, ask questions, and work the room! Elevator Pitch – have it handy but depending on the room- it’s best to break the ice with idle chit chat first. Notice something about their attire, something you’ve researched, a newsworthy item that’s relevant, or hobbies,
Pay Attention – Size up the room- know who’s in the room- have an idea of who you want to meet- listen to others and constantly digest info like a sponge.
Stand Out – Best ways of standing out: Be vocal in the chat. Ask knowledgeable questions, share your info in the chat by just saying hello to everyone and where you’re tuning in from (where applicable) – reach out to people saying hello to them directly in the chat…. Add commentary where appropriate.
Lighting/ Good backdrop – make sure you’re not positioned with windows behind you. Your microphone should be at a good audio level and video clear. Customized virtual backgrounds are great and or a wall behind you that isn’t busy but reflects who you are and how you want to be represented. Be Presentable. Dress up the same way you would at a physical event. Dress to Impress still very much translates in cyberspace.
Do your research on the event prior. – You never want to come into a room cold – Do some investigating and background on the speakers, and the attendees. Know your event inside and out. This really gives you the edge and impress not just your peers but the superstars you want to make a long-lasting impression on.
You want to cast a wide net when actively networking. – It’s definitely quality over quantity but you still need a vast pool to draw from.During these unprecedented times, you have ample opportunities at your fingertips to scour the web that’s filled with information and opportunities. Yes, it can be overwhelming. Lots of these events are Free to Register. Others may have a price tag but it’s all about how important your growth and desire to succeed is. You have to be willing to invest in yourself. If you don’t invest in YOU, then why would you expect anyone else to?
Depending on the platform the event is hosted on, doesn’t hurt to learn a little about the video conferencing platform that’s being used. – Whether it’s on Zoom, Streamyard, Whova, Webex, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Microsoft Teams…. There’s loads of platforms out there so the more engaged and knowledgeable you are, the more advantage and edge you’ll have. You’ll know the platform by how you sign up!
Get into the Habit of meeting at least 3 New People a day. – It’s all about reciprocity. You grow, they grow too. Relationship building should be a Give and Take starting from the introduction all the way to cultivating and growing them long term. There are so many ways to meet people these days from LinkedIn, FB Groups, Instagram, Group Texts, Clubhouse, WhatsApp intro’s, emails, and the old fashioned telephone call/conf call, to all the video conferencing platforms. You have to stay on top of it and make sure to check your DM’s, Comments, Inbox communication daily. Need to check junk mail folders too.. In this rapid age of technological advancement, you can’t afford to miss a beat. There’s always someone next in line.
Follow Ups – When you’re meeting people, it’s always important to follow up straight away via email or even go the extra mile with a nice thank you card or hand written note that you put in the mail. That’s a great tip to have you stand out. There’s a short window of about 3- 5 days upon meeting them. After that, it’s fine to check in once every 3-4 weeks and start to cultivate those relationships. May be it’s an interesting article that made you think of them or something you saw them tweet or a Happy Birthday or anything of note and then after the 3rd or so follow up, you’re ready for a call and make it very clear what your conversation will look like.Follow ups are equally as important as the 1st meeting if not more. – This is where your relationships really begin and blossom then develop and prosper into deeper connections which is what you’re looking for. These deeper connections turn into opportunities for yourself and for them.
Have Fun – Networking shouldn’t be a task or job.. It’s social, it’s relaxed, but you still need to be professional and always on your A Game.
Now get out there and Do It!
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