Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Music Business (Part 2)

So let's talk about this being "personable" business...

Mr. Tishler discussed how he once had an intern that was a bit afraid of talking on the phone. He did an exercise with them in practice cold calls where he would be the client and they would be the person requesting to speak with the boss. It's a silly example but practicing that skill got the intern to network and thus future employment.

So how can you be personable and learn to network? Communicate comfortably?

It's a tough question, let me tell you about my experience.

When I was 16, I got a job at a local shoe store selling and fitting shoes. That job wasn't bad and I learned a lot about retail. The biggest thing in that store was customer service and acknowledging people as they walk in the door. My manager at the time Lance always lead by example and showed the staff how to great people and attend to their needs.
It might have been a silly retail job but the biggest thing I got out of it was the ability to walk up to people and immediately learn to read their body language to see if they needed help or not. I got comfortable with being uncomfortable and began to turn it into a game. I started to try to figure out a story about people and try to learn one new thing a day about the customers.
This is networking.

Mr. Tishler and Mr. Chance both stated that they always talk with people, because you never know when down the road you might rely on them for information, jobs or even just a cup of sugar. It's called future human capital and we all need to start collecting it. As the world shrinks due to technology and social networking, we are missing the "social" part of the "networking".

So again, how do we network?

Literally, practice.

Talk with people at the subway, in the grocery store, in the lobby of the hotel, in the bar. Anywhere, just talk. Don't look for something from them, just have conversations for conversation sake. See what works, learn why people might run away from you or gravitate towards you. See if there are certain types of people. What you learn might surprise you.

Try this exercise.

Next time you are at a bar or concert, try to pick out somebody holding a drink towards the front of them. People with open body language tend to be more open to unexpected conversations. Introduce yourself and then ask their opinion of Taylor Swift. Tag that with saying "I am in the music business and am trying to get data on why people like or dislike her brand". THEN, follow up with one question from what they told you.

If the conversation continues, great! If not, now you have the experience (and a little bit of information) and can start chipping away at your insecurities of approaching people. Pretty soon, you will be chatting up a storm and starting to network with similar interested people. Remember, this business we are in... is a communication business.

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