Getting the most out of Networking Events
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
Whether Reeperbahn Festival, Midem, SXSW or another of the numerous industry get-togethers: in the music industry, there is a lot of networking going on. Here you can make valuable contacts and not infrequently create a new job or project opportunity. But even though these events are usually rather casual, the attendance of a networking evening should not remain unplanned. Our Networking Timetable tells you how to get the most out of such a meeting.
Step 1: Preparation
Going to network meetings without a purpose makes little sense. Therefore, you should think about what you want to achieve first. Formulate your goals precisely and quantify them, e. g.”Getting to know two business contacts of an indie label”, or “Awakening the attention of an A&R”. In this process, you are also actively involved in the question of what you have to prepare and take with you for this event (e. g. your current songs and the EPK on CD/USB stick or business cards).
There are several industry meetings, but you should think about where you want to go and where you can go. More general industry meetings such as the Reeperbahn Festival should be an integral part of the networking calendar. But each branch of the industry also organizes its own smaller meetings. Have a look at Facebook, LinkedIn, the MusikWoche Calendar or the websites of relevant institutions in the industry to see if networking events have already been announced.
Prepare your Pitch
A huge part of a networking event is self-presentation. Unfortunately, nothing seems more unprofessional and uninteresting than stuttering in front of someone or not getting to the point. What’s your current position? What new challenges are you looking for? What are your talents and strengths? How can others benefit from you? Prepare a short Elevator Pitch with what you want to say about yourself. It’s best to practice it before with a friend and get some feedback.
After preparing your pitch, it is always interesting to know who else will be in the room. For many events there are now Facebook events, whose list of participants can be viewed. The organisers and ticketing service providers in the B2B sector now also work with guest list systems or even small communities for the events, so that you can directly view the complete guest list and, if necessary, contact the participants directly. Alternatively, at the latest on the evening of the event, you can ask the organiser whether there is a list of participants. See in which position and with which company they work and whom you want to get to know.
Arrange Appointments with Participants in advance
The more “important” the person is, the more busy they are at such networking events because many people want to meet or talk to this person. If you want to make sure that you are talking to the person, contact him/her in advance and make an appointment. Further advantages: the first ice is broken, it makes the conversation easier to get started and ideally you have a place and time agreed upon.
Know important Topics and Trends
There is a lot of talk about new developments in the industry, especially at conferences and networking events. Therefore, make sure you are up to date with the latest industry topics and trends. For example, read the business news regularly or relevant blogs such as Music Business Worldwide or Hypebot to ensure that you are informed and competent in your conversations.
Step 2: Visit the Event
Establish a first Contact
Establishing a first contact can only be difficult if you have not already carried out this step in the planning stage as described above. If you want to speak to a particular person, join their conversation group or talk to them in an appropriate moment. Don’t impose yourself, especially if he or she’s in a one-on-one conversation.
The first sentences of a conversation are the most important ones. Keep eye contact, shake hands with your counterpart, remember his/her name and repeat it in the conversation. Before you start talking straight away and chattering down your pitch, take the opportunity and ask first questions like “What’s your position?”,”Why do you love your job?”, “How did you get to your job?” or talk to this person about current or past events like “Your artist YZ’s album XY has become great”. Once the other person has introduced himself or herself, he or she will listen more attentively to your presentation.
Getting to the Point
Now introduce yourself briefly and crisply and use your prepared pitch. Try to speak freely and easily, otherwise your presentation will soon seem to be rehearsed. If you have a particular concern, ask for it after some time, but don’t ambush too much. Explain why you want to work with this person and why it would be mutually beneficial.
Save contact data and information
A network meeting is for the purpose of making initial contacts and getting in touch with many people. If you have had an interesting conversation with someone, please collect their business card or at least an email address and your contact details. Thank the person for the talk and move on. Don’t wait too long to sit and write down important personal information about the person, on e.g. your business cards or your smartphone. This way you can make sure you don’t forget anything.
Step 3: Follow-Up
Nothing is more impersonal than simply sending a LinkedIn invitation or Facebook friend request. You’d better take your contact information and write a personalised email. Say thanks for the nice conversation and point out once again what you have talked about or how a cooperation could look like. Ask the person for a phone call or a personal meeting in the near future and make an appointment.
Organising contacts and maintaining relationships
The music industry is based on contacts, networks and relationships. Therefore, it is especially important to organise and maintain them. This can certainly happen with the standard data in Google or Apple Contacts. At tamanguu we develop a tool that supports this process for building a personal, valuable relationship with important contacts. tamanguu is the digital assistant for networking, relationship and interaction management. All information about this can be found on our homepage.
More hints on Networking have been provided by our interview partners of our video series “The Power of Networking”:
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With this in mind: Happy Networking!
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