Does the word “networking” make you cringe? Do you break into a sweat thinking about walking into a room and talking to strangers?
If you are building a career as a musician and/or a music leader networking is an essential way to make lasting contacts that can lead to exciting opportunities for collaborative working.
I was that nervous networker! I can now see how crucial networks are in my life and career. I’ve worked and performed with some brilliant people as a result!
In the Music Education Code of Practice “Working well with people” is one of the quality statements. Music leaders need to develop skills to communicate well with a whole range of people. Some preparation before an event will help to build your confidence. Think of it as a rehearsal!
So what might help with those network nerves?
· Before you go get clear in your mind why you are going and what you want to get out meeting these people
· Be able to tell people who you are and why you are here
· If possible start with those you know before moving on to other people
· Prepare how you can introduce yourself
· Have your card with contact details ready to give to other people
It’s not all about you!
· I’ll bet when you go to any networking event there will be others feeling equally nervous. So you are not the only one.
· You might be feeling self-conscious - in reality most people are too busy to be judging you. Don’t take things personally!
· Find out about other people. Truly listen to what they are saying.
· Remember people’s names!
· Genuinely engage with other people – smile, show interest in what they are saying. Can you see things from their point of view?
· Ask open questions (those that allow people to say more than yes or no!)
· Introduce any contacts you have made to others
· Let others into your conversations
· Tell people what you have to offer. Think of ways you might be able to collaborate or work together.
There is masses of research and advice on networking if you do a google search.
These are some of my thoughts from my experience and learning.
Be someone others want to work with!
Enjoy making proper working relationships that will help build a diverse and exciting career.
You never know who you will meet next!
Share your thoughts and tips with this network