Whatever one wants to call it — meet and greet, mingling, networking, exchanging ideas, schmoozing, chitchatting, making conversation, etc. — it often becomes a road block because you feel awkward about joining in a conversation or taking the initiative in starting a conversation with just about anyone you don’t know. Until I learned to use some cool skills and tools it was hard for me too. Not anymore. I want to share them with you. They are important because in our industry, you are constantly meeting new folks that might become a resource, or conduit to moving closer to the person who can help you move up the professional ladder. So, let’s talk….
Here are the 3 key ideas:
- You must get to know yourself, warts and all. It’s important that you spend some time defining who you are, what it is you want out of life beyond a singing career and what you have to offer as a colleague, friend, or acquaintance. Start by figuring out your deep values, purpose, strengths, and your passion. What is your intention in getting noticed, know and connected? Why is it important to you? What do you hope to gain? What are you offering and what needs will you be fulfilling for yourself and others?
- Develop a great opening phrase that let’s others know who you are and what you are about. (When I was young, it was called an elevator speech.) It only takes a few minutes and creates an opening for a real and easy dialogue with others. It might start with who you are, what you do, and why you are doing it. Even if you are shy or feel awkward, when it is complete, it will feel comfortable to say and will ignite your passion. It will open up your “personal” space to include and even go beyond the other person, so conversation flows naturally, and easily. Good communication is not only about you talking, and asking questions, but more about your ability to truly listen, without looking for the perfect retort or cute comeback in your head as they are talking. Work on improving your listening skills. Stay present. (This is a great skill for on stage as well.)
- Challenge yourself to get out there and meet new folks. Practice your listening skills. Practice getting good at asking thoughtful questions. And make time to strengthen existing relationships using these new skills and tools, that might be advantageous in getting you to the next step of your career as you continue to practice your communication skills.
As they say, “Practice makes permanent.” Ciao until next time. Carol
P.S. If you have a subject you would like me to write about, let me hear from you.