I have been asked numerous times,”What does one do with all the business cards and other materials you collected at a musical event, summer program or convention”? How do you go about following up on it all and also knowing what is the appropriate way for staying in touch with those you met?
My first comment is that if you used your networking skills really well after an event, you should have many business cards with information to put into your online business address book and every one of these people should have one of your cards as well. Congratulations!
“It’s the final steps of a journey that create an arrival.”
~ Sam Parker
As you already know networking is a very big, important, and yes, tiring job. The most important part of networking is for you to represent your Personal Brand, which in this case means being more of who you are than you have ever been before. It means turning up your Personal Brand sizzle dial in an authentic and focused way. This is a big part of your job even if you did nothing other than attend the musical event, summer program or convention, collect and give out business cards. Remember that whether you have a Personal Brand or not, everyone you have ever met has an idea of who and what you are to them. You know from you own experience how quickly you make a value judgment of the person you have just been introduced to. So what you want to create for yourself is a powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind when others think of you. You want to capture not only their minds, but their hearts as well.
Want someone to relate strongly to you? Do it through your Brand. Your job is to make it a memorable and interesting experience for everyone, yourself included. You have to be awake and conscious to make this happen and that can make one tired. Throughout your career, you will find this to be true. Representing and presenting your Personal Brand is important no matter where you are because you never know who you might meet who knows someone else of influence. This in turn might lead to your getting an important introduction, a job or finding and starting a relationship with a patron/sponsor. You never know.
“The pros, the champions, the ones who are determined to succeed (and you’re one of them), do the little things right, consistently.”
~ Bob Burg
The second part of networking is learning what to do with all the information you received. Keeping track of all your new resources is work, there is no doubt about it, but singing is after all, a business. I want you to look over the questions I have asked here so you can start to recognize how to organize your thoughts and put your new resources to work for you, keep them working for you and do it right away.
- Were you a participant in a Master Class and if so, what is the best way to help keep your name in the fore front of their minds with a follow up?
- If you were appreciative of what the Master of the class shared with you, the audience, what is the best way to respond?
- Were you introduced to someone of influence or importance to your career by someone else because they felt you were ready to use this kind of introduction? What kind of a response is appropriate?
- What do you do with materials that made a positive impression on you once you had the opportunity to really look them over?
- How do you stay in touch with the many singers you met and why is that important?
Here are some suggestions for handling the aftermath of having done your job of networking well.
Being a participant in a Master Class is first, a great way for other colleagues, teachers, coaches, conductors, stage directors and audience members to be introduced to your talent. No matter if you agreed or liked how or what was presented to you by the Master, it is important that you write a hand written thank you note expressing how much you appreciated the opportunity and time they took to work with you, what in particular you were excited about learning, etc. If you liked the outcome of what happened for you, you might want to further this relationship and can also ask their permission to keep them informed of the progress of your career as it unfolds, or do they have time to work with in the future. If you don’t yet have personalized professional stationary, buy a pack of Thank You cards that support your Brand. Keep your note short and to the point, make sure all spelling is correct and follow-up in a professional and timely manner, usually 3 days to a week after the event. Always make sure that there is an easy way for them to stay in touch with you as well if they choose. Make sure your email address, website, phone number is at the end of the note where you sign your name. Put this persons name on you’re “A” list, the list of those who have influence or can help promote your career. When you send materials out to them you can do a mass mailing if you like, sending one copy to yourself, and blind copying everyone else. Most times it is a simple announcement of an upcoming event. It can also be made more personal by addressing each person on your list one at a time if that works better for you. That means just cutting and pasting the info and perhaps writing a short note to each person on your list. If you get reviewed, send them a copy of your review as well. If they were at the event, thank them for their support and let them know how much it means to you.
If you really appreciated and loved what was conveyed at a particular Master Class even if you didn’t directly participate, you can still write a short and succinct thank you email or personal note to the Master. Perhaps you would be interested in working with them. Ask if they would hear you if there is room in their studio or classes and direct them to your web site for any further information they might need. Put them on your “A” list.
“Don’t bring your need to the marketplace, bring your skill. If you don’t feel well, tell your doctor, but not the marketplace. If you need money, go to the bank, but not the marketplace. ”
~ Jim Rohn
How do you respond to someone of influence or importance who has taken the time to introduce you to someone else who can help you make the next step on your career path or possibly give you an audition, or might be interested in becoming a patron or sponsor? Obviously you want to write a hand written thank you note to them and also write one to the person you were introduced to following up with the appropriate questions of how would they prefer to proceed with arranging or following through with a lesson, coaching, audition, meeting, etc. Unless you have already been given a definite time to call them, add that if you haven’t heard from them by (here give them a date 2-3 weeks from the time you send the note) you will take the liberty of contacting them, then do it. Whether it is in an email or phone call make sure you follow-up. If you get an answering machine, have your message already thought or written out. It should state your name, who introduced you and where that took place, plus remind them that they suggested you get in touch with them. Let them know the best times to reach you when returning their call. This is a great courtesy and a good business practice. Remember this is business so don’t start getting all emotionally involved and in your feelings about following up or being rejected. If that happens here’s a great tool to get out of it with ease. Feel the emotion strongly, then deliberately take 2 big steps back out of that emotional field or space and leave it over there. This gives you the opportunity to look at it for what it is. It gives you a better perspective on the whole situation. If you feel it start to pull you back in, just continue to un-attach yourself by unhooking the emotion from your chest like it was an elastic band and let it snap back over there where you left the emotional hot spot. You might have to do this several times before it really lets go. This technique works anytime you want to stop getting involved and embroiled in the emotions of whatever the situation is. Most times in relationships or situations, getting caught up in that strong kind of emotion is a waste of your time and energy and it only affects you, not anyone else, in a negative way.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
Got lots of materials to look over from a recent musical event, summer program or convention? What do you do with them? First, create two piles, one is the interested pile and the other is for the garbage can. You must have thought it was a good idea at the time to collect them, so carefully look them over to see if there is someone or something of interest that will help you with your career. If not, throw them out immediately. Now sort through the “keep” pile and mark with a highlighter pen the parts that interest you. Perhaps you noticed a way to get in touch with someone that interests you or you like the whole program or concept. When you are done going through this pile, put any email address into your “A” professional list of contacts or your “B” list of other singers, fans, etc. This is a great way to build up your contact lists. If you want to keep the information for future use, put it in the appropriately named file for future use, i.e. Summer Programs – Coaches – Voice Teachers – Drama Coaches, etc.
Every time you meet anyone who is at any stage of a career in music, make sure you get a business card from them and they have one of yours. Put all of these new email addresses on your “B” list and include where they are from. Also, there is no excuse today to not have business cards. There are so many ways to make your own. Just make sure they represent your Personal Brand and have all the pertinent information on them to be able to get in touch with you. They don’t have to be professionally done or fancy. Clean and simple is always better anyway.
So, what is important about keeping an address list of your peers? First, it gives you a musical community to communicate, commiserate and socialize with. That is really important. It’s fun to talk about singing and music when you are out with friends or even via email. It’s great to be able to be with those of like mind. It gives you an opportunity to air some concerns, opinions, or just to tell stories. If you are moving to a new town, if you have done your homework, you probably have many email address of those who live there and may have already been corresponding. You can contact them and ask for help in finding a place to stay until you find one of your own. They might know of the best places to look for a job. It could help you find reliable voice teachers, coaches, possible performance venues, etc. And it could all be put in place before you even leave where you presently are. Most importantly, it gives you instant friends and a community where you can share the ups and downs of being an emerging or young professional artist.
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
~ Mary Kay Ash
So, always be networking! Stay awake, alert, focused and be there on purpose when you go to events of any kind. You never know who you might meet who might know someone who could help you in some way. Always have your business cards with you and get those of others. Represent and present your Personal Brand at all times and you will always come out a winner.
Ciao and Avanti until next time,