Another week of Music Success in Nine Weeks and we finally come to something I'm admittedly pretty bad at – networking in real life.
One of the strengths I've developed over the last few years is socializing online – working from home has helped that along, but at the detriment of my “real” social skills. Some days I don't talk to anyone other than my family at home and most of my conversation is with myself – I have to say I'm pretty good company! Why, thanks Me – you're not so bad yourself!
So this chapter offers advice on talking to people, and most importantly being memorable. Ironically the best way to do this is to let other people talk about themselves – something I try to do if possible. I have a very good memory for some things, but remembering people's names has always been tricky for me. I need to start to use their names directly when I talk to them – I think it's a habit that will develop and get easier.
I use technology to help me develop a relationship with somebody – my computer/iPhone address book not only contains the information you'd expect (Name, phone number, email) but also any information I pick up on them. For example: their anniversary; names of their kids and partner; hobbies and interests… it gives me something I can always take a quick peek at in order to get a conversation started.
Just like the book says, I've found it's often best to try to start up a conversation with somebody who isn't directly related to the music industry or your career. That lady picking her kids up from school might be married to a record producer. The guy sitting alone at a bar might have a son who is a fantastic drummer. The butcher's best friend might be the owner of the hottest music venue in town.
I have one saving grace in my networking skill set – I am a pretty good listener. I have to try to avoid getting caught in the trap of talking to other good listeners who feed questions that result in me talking about myself too much, but if I can do that I find listening and looking interested very easy!