I’m what you might call an extroverted introvert. The short version of what that means is that I enjoy being around people but it takes energy for me to do it. I recharge when I’m home and away from the hubbub of the music cities and industry events. I’m telling you this because for my fellow introverts – and an inordinate of creative types are, indeed, introverted – I think it’s important to understand that networking can be done on your own terms and still become a vital and essential part of how you interface with the music industry. Networking doesn’t have to mean shouted conversations in crowded bars at 3am. And, unless that’s your thing, this should come as a relief. I thought I’d put down a few thoughts on how I go about framing the idea of networking for myself in case it helps. Songwriters Networking

You’re building relationships for the long run

I’ve said this before but very few lasting industry relationships are built entirely from one quick meeting at an event. The greater likelihood is that you’ll find yourself running into the same “usual industry suspects” in a variety of different settings until you’ve got at least a little common ground to work from. By not looking at every meeting with someone in the industry as a make or break networking opportunity, you’ll also remove a large amount of the social pressure which makes networking so distasteful to most of us. Be patient and let the relationships unfold. It will happen.

Think about how you can help someone first

Something that has helped me over the years is flipping the typical script of what networking looks like by imagining, when I’m getting to know someone, how I might be able to help them. It’s amazing how looking at a networking relationship from the perspective of the person you’re meeting can lead to a more sincere and productive exchange. Often, especially early on in your career, it’s obvious what an industry exec can do for you. What’s less obvious is what you might be able to do to make their lives better/more interesting. Why not go into each meeting or networking event with that as your goal?

Remember that today’s peers are tomorrow’s decision makers

One of the things that still surprises me is how quickly people’s careers evolve and grow. That the person who was “fresh off the boat” a few years back is in a position of real responsibility today. A couple things to keep in mind. First, pay attention to your peers and make sure you treat them with the kind of respect and thoughtfulness you’d appreciate. Second, remember – always – that today’s secretary could be tomorrow’s music publisher. Be kind to everyone and, if you’re patient, good industry relationships will delvelop.Songwriters Networking

Conclusion

These days – after twenty-five years in the industry – I tend to think of networking as a way to keep in touch with old friends and celebrate our longevity in the careers we love. Also, I think of it as a way to stay connected to the industry that – for better or for worse – will always be a source of new friends, colleagues and business partners. We’re all people with the same kinds of hopes and dreams. Remember that and take some of the pressure off of yourself to succeed right away and networking will become a more organic and enjoyable part of your career.

Good Luck!

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5 responses to “The Introverted Songwriter’s Guide to Networking”

  1. Ricky Young says:

    Love your articles! You always seem to know just what to address. It’s so good to hear from unselfish people like yourself who remember where they came from. God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  2. Great insight and support for those of us that are both introverts and extroverts and the energy involved. I totally identify Cliff. Sharing your vision, wisdom and experience is so helpful and provides hope that there are many ways to network and remain connected. Happy Holidays!

  3. Always love your insightful advice.

  4. David Myers says:

    Hey Cliff,
    I recently made friends with the host at an open mic. We just sortof hit it off. I didn’t think anything of it just another potential friend.
    Not long after that I performed my newest silly song. He loved it and now he is working it up to record in his studio. Way cool!
    Just wanted to say thanks for your timely articles. This one is what reminded me about what I just said. It was good because I just got rejected rather badly. Not nice. It’s good
    When an article serves remind us that we get ups, but we get downs even more. The relationships are the good part.
    Thanks, David Myers, Houston, Texas.

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