Without a doubt, the most important part of career building, no matter the venue, is creating and maintaining relationships. To be able to use this business tool effectively requires you to remain consistent and purpose driven. It means you have to represent your personal brand at all times, not just when you think you are about to do some business. One never knows when or through whom that important connection might be made. This is where and how the real work of moving your singing career forward takes place. Yes, it goes without saying, you have to have the talent, a solid vocal technique, know languages well, be able to honestly portray a character and love your craft. But once that is in place, the next step is to get a job and to keep getting jobs. And that means that it’s time to do business.
Because many of you will be participating in summer programs, festivals, or perhaps creating your own agenda for the summer, it is of paramount important that you start thinking about what it is you want to accomplish during this time besides having another event to put on your resume. Having a game plan and knowing what outcome you are looking for before you leave for your event will give you a big boost of self confidence and show you are a professional.
What is it you want to accomplishing, how do you create a game plan, and what skills do you need to make this all happen?
Here are some suggestions:
“He tells it like it is and that’s a good thing. Ours is a friendship as well as a business relationship.”
~ Corbin Schwalm
The first thing you want to know is who are the experts, conductors, stage directors, teachers and other professionals that you will have occasion to either work with or at least come in contact with during your event? Once you have this information, it is your job to find out all you can about each of them so when you have an opportunity to either work with them or simply socialize you will feel more comfortable creating a relationship with them. That means go to google, their blog or your favorite search engine to find out all you can about each individual. Get to know not only what their professional function is, but also something about them as a person, what they like to read, their favorite food, movies, do they have a family or where home is. This type of research gives you a real idea of who they are as a whole person. You may find that you have a lot in common. That makes conversation much easier and more real. They don’t have to know you have done this research, but will appreciate your ability to better communicate and create real rapport. If you read any of the new books on business, you will understand that this is a very effective, tried and true business tactic. It works.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
~ William Jennings Bryan
- Define your follow-up program before you leave. Make sure that you have a solid way to communicate with those you met after the event is over. Have your thank you cards and stamps bought and ready for a small personal “thank you” to everyone once you are home. An email won’t do! This personal hand written note has to go out no later than your second day home. You could go one step further and have them addressed with the stamp on the envelope. Sometimes something as simple as this hand written thank you note will put you on the top of their list when it comes time to cast a production or even on their lips as they talk with others in our industry which is a very small world and word of mouth travels fast. Make sure you spell everything correctly. If you don’t it sort of negates the purpose.
- Ask permission of those that you feel were genuinely interested in you and you were able to create the start of a relationship, to keep in touch with any news of your future upcoming events. Then add them to your A list. (These are the people that get a short email note about any future upcoming performances, or competition winnings, reviews, etc.) You want them to remember you and keep you in the forefront of their minds. You want your name out there in our industry circle because that might eventually get you an invitation to audition or perhaps be asked to participate in the final level of some competition.
- Keep a journal with new and interesting thoughts about what you learned each day about everyone. It will help you create rapport and feel more self confident because knowing more about each person gives you the ability to communicate more effectively.
- Not everyone feels comfortable in social settings. You may be shy. Remember that this is not about you, but about the other person. Find the similarities…create communication. We like those who are like us. Therefore, discover the commonalities and open up that line of communication.
- Once you have information about the other person, it gives you a chance to think and even practice in your imagination what your conversation might be like.
- Listening is one of the greatest and most unused skills today. People like to talk about themselves and if you insert a question here and there and then really listen to what they are saying instead of trying to create some smart repartee, you will find conversation will just flow when it comes your turn to either join in with a story of your own or ask a question if there is a lull in the conversation.
“You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind.”
~ Irish Proverb
- Get to know your fellow participants. You never know when they might be in need of someone with your voice and performance abilities. Keep in touch once you get home. You don’t have to write a note every week or even every month if there was only a slight relationship with one another, but contact them at least once when you get home, and then every 3-4 months to give them an update and always ask what they are up to.
- If you see two people having a conversation, it is best not to interrupt. It is usually a personal conversation. You will have another chance to talk to whomever it is later.
- You are enough! You don’t have to try harder or be more than you are. That can be overkill and annoying to others. Being genuine is enough.
- Become a generous colleague both on and off stage.
- Always carry business cards and collect them from others. This is a great way to have the information to keep in touch.
“The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”
~ Brian Tracy
The business involved with having a singing career requires a lot of time and energy on your part. But once you have a system in place for creating and maintaining relationships and it becomes habitual, it becomes just another part of what you do to further your career. I think you will be very pleased with the outcome.
Thanks to all of you who continue to send me topics to discuss in my newsletter. I hope the information you receive in return works for you and you pass it on to others. That is what makes the world go round.
Have a great summer and keep me in the loop.
Ciao for now. Carol