What can I do for you?

I like to attend songwriting workshops, seminars and conventions. I can often get more out of a weekend seminar that it could take all year to learn otherwise.

Half of what you learn at these things is from peers, people who may not be as experienced as the paid presenters, but who often have that one bit of info, that missing piece that is just what you needed to learn. Likewise, you share what you know with them.

So it pays to network. Some people say they aren’t good at networking. Don’t think of networking as schmoozing over drinks with strangers, although that works for some. My definition of networking is nothing more than meeting people like yourself, who also may think they’re no good at networking.

Networking starts as idle conversation. Don’t start with ‘what can you do for me?’ In fact, it’s more effective to ask, ‘what can I do for you?’ But to start, it’s just anything that gets you into a conversation.

We all have to eat, so never eat alone at a music conference. Tag along with a group and keep your ears open. Nod your head, take notes. Ask questions. Now you’re networking. If appropriate, get a business card and/or demo from everyone at the table and give yours to them.

The hardest networking conversation for me to start is one-on-one. But you can break the ice by asking ‘what type of music do you write?’ That should be enough to get any songwriter talking.

Most of us can’t afford to go to a songwriting conference more than once or twice a year. What can you do to network the rest of the time? That’s where the Songwriter’s Tip Jar Forum shines. It’s like a songwriter convention 365 days a year.

Brush up your networking skills by connecting online. Get invaluable tips and advice from your STJ peers and those anonymous members who happen to be industry heavies. And don’t forget to give back.

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