Songwriters often ask, “How do I build relationships in the industry?” This week, BMI’s Creative Team weighs in on where to be, what to say and how to go about trying to meet industry insiders.
Tracie Verlinde, Creative, Los Angeles:
The concept of networking is often daunting and overwhelming to many of us. I prefer to think of networking as slowly building relationships, one person at a time.
I always say, “There is a fine line between eagerness and annoyance and I think it’s up to everyone to learn where that line is.” I encourage everyone to be persistent, to follow up, to be outgoing and friendly. But also know when to walk away, let something go and move on.
Be authentic, practice good listening skills and please do not interrupt someone. ALWAYS be polite and maintain good eye contact.
Do your research. Before reaching out to someone, be informed. It’s easy to research articles they have written, recent lectures, industry awards or acknowledgements. Take a little time to come prepared before meeting someone.
I find that asking someone for “10 minutes of their time” is something most people can handle. I like to find out practical advice. I’ve always been interested in my own professional growth, at all stages of my career. I find that most people enjoy sharing advice. Ask what the best career advice they were given. Ask what to do and what NOT to do as you continue to expand your network and personal profile and brand. And stick to the 10 minutes! Everyone is busy, please respect their time. And always send a thank you note!
Another wonderful way to meet many key industry executives and decision-makers is to become involved in groups and organizations that hold an interest for you. Look into college extension classes, lecture series, workshops and seminars. Join the Recording Academy and Songwriters Hall of Fame. Volunteer for events and be the first one there and the last one to leave.
Jody Williams, Creative, Nashville:
Remember this: Decision makers will want to meet you when you have a piece of business. A song and artist, an opportunity. They are less likely to want to engage with you just because you want to get to know them. Those introductions are usually made by close friends of the decision maker….and they can lead to something productive. A decision maker is in the business of saying “yes” or “no.” Give them a “yes” piece of business and you’re in.
Stay tuned for more helpful info from BMI’s Creative Team right here in The Weekly!