Over the years I’ve built an extensive network that I’m proud of. I’ve even landed some pretty lucrative positions in my own career leveraging my network and helped many others get theirs. Now, I coach others in career development and leadership. Regardless of technology, the Music Industry is still the relationship business, and so you probably know that networking is everything. I mentor a lot of young people looking to get into the Business or grow their careers to the next stage who tell me they HATE networking. They’re shy or they feel like it’s forced and fake and so they just don’t do it. Sound familiar? So many feel like this. It doesn’t have to be this way.
In a recent survey put out by Performance-based Hiring Learning Services, 85% land jobs from networking. So yes, it’s still all about who you know. Submitting cold resumes and applications rarely work.
The value-add you can bring to your network will vary based on need, timing and location, but I promise you, if you’re in it for the duration, it’s completely worthwhile. There are varied levels to my network and I work very hard to operate within the reality of each level’s framework. Doing this has brought me incredible dividends lasting even now as I bootstrap my new business. For this I’m very grateful, and so I’ve put together a few tried and true methods for effective networking where you can still respect yourself in the morning!
Always Be Curious! Ask questions! If you want to set yourself apart from the “me, me, me-ers”, then focus on the people in front of you. Ask open-ended questions (as opposed to no/yes-answer questions) and get people talking about themselves. This forms deeper connections and you can learn some fascinating stuff about people this way!
Always Be Helpful! I know this might sound counterintuitive but it’s not all about you! The prime objective is to understand the person you’re networking with enough to know how to help them with the thing they need help with (hey, we all need help with something, right?). Maybe you can’t help them, but you know someone who can? Put them together- this person will always remember you facilitated that.
Always Be Respectful! You NEVER know who you’re talking to. They might be the future president of Live Nation! I mentored a young woman who now works for Oprah! You just don’t know. What you do know is that it’s hard to put yourself out there regardless of who you know, your title, or what stage of career you’re in. RESPECT the others in your process for just for showing up and you will come out on top.
If you’ve read everything up to this point you’ve probably noticed I didn’t talk about refining your elevator pitch or making sure your face time with each person is limited to 3 minutes and following up post-network- y’all know this already! Yes, preparation of what you’re going to say when it’s your turn to shine and staying in touch is super important. Focusing on the 3 methods above will really up your networking game. Let me know how it goes!