I know, I know. It's the dreaded word that even the most extroverted of us tend to hate. When I started in my career and grad school, I thought that it something you could choose to not do and you would still be successful in the industry. And in some cases, you can get a good entry level job in the industry without knowing anyone or working your contacts. But for some it can be hard and nerve wracking, causing panic and anxiety. That was me. That is still me. I've taken steps to calm it (read my tips for networking with anxiety in my previous post: Tips: Networking with Anxiety), but it can sometimes still rear its ugly head. Sometimes we all need a little guidance before we take a step out the door to an event, click "share" in an online group, or click "send" on a cold email, and there are a few books out there that provide the basis for connecting with others.
There are so many tools and resources available to learn how to network in business, music, and and in life. Here are two books that positively impacted my own networking and confidence to approach others.
Reach Out by Molly Beck isn't just another business or communications read - Molly gets you involved in the book from page one, telling you to have two documents open - either two Word documents or two pages in a notebook - and to be ready to take notes and to strategize.
Search Molly on Forbes.com and you'll find not only articles on Molly and Reach Out, but articles she wrote that provide simple steps to take to decide who to contact, how to plan to reach out, and how to not take it personally when you don't hear back.
Molly's steps make sense, are easy to follow, and build off each other so that you too can reach out each and every day to build a network of acquantances, colleagues, friends, and mentors.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, Molly also occasionally teaches courses on branding, podcasting, and more at General Assembly in both DTLA and Santa Monica. Her courses contain excellent tools to implement in your music business career.
I met Dan Kimpel a few years ago during my first year of graduate school. We read his book for class, and then he came in and talked to us about the importance of networking, especially in today's music industry.
He told stories of networking at jobs completely unrelated to music, but then later connecting with former co-workers on the red carpet - him as journalist, and them as famous musicians.
Dan's book, Networking Strategies for the New Music Business, is a guide to creating personal relationships and developing the people skills necessary to be successful in the music industry. He discusses everything from basic verbal and non-verbal communication to dealing with personalities, location, creating tools to sell yourself or your craft, and defining your strategy and the direction you want to take, with a heavy dose of anecdotes to hit these concepts home.
This is a must read for anyone aspiring to work in the music industry, but who may not have solid networking acumen.
It's not just what you read
These two books set me on the right track for my career and for my journey into entrepreneurship, but I knew reading was one thing, and to move forward in my career and be a successful entrepreneur, I had to connect with other people. I started off easy by joining Facebook communities for female entrepreneurs and creatives, but then bit the bullet and traveled to Chicago for four days to attend the She Did It Her Way Summit in person, attended free courses at General Assembly (where I met Molly for the first time), and engaged with women in music online to bring The Broken Glass Blog and The Broken Glass Podcast to life.
The Broken Glass Collective
I learned the importance of networking and connecting with like-minded businesswomen and creatives. The Broken Glass Blog and the soon-to-launch Broken Glass Podcast provide opportunities for you to read about women in music, learn about the tools and resources available to you, and listen to stories of how women became successful. I want to take it one step further though, and create a community for women in music - musicians, songwriters, executives, marketers, publishers, producers, supervisors, and any other career path in music - to connect, to collaborate, to share ideas, projects, and opportunities. The Broken Glass Collective is designed to be that space - an online group for women globally to connect, share, and network - with in-person networking opportunities to come.
Join the The Broken Glass Collective Facebook Group to be in the company of other women in music with similar goals and struggles, eager to make their voices heard. There are so many exciting initiatives coming soon to the Collective, so be sure to join now so you don't miss out!