Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Networking Your Way In

Networking is one of the great secrets to success in business and singing is a business. The question is: how do you use networking to actually further your career as a singer and how do you get started?

1. Meet People. First, you need to meet the right people and you need to make a good impression. One way to connect with conductors is through coaching. Of course, you have to pay for it and a coach will only recommend you for a role if you are singing well and vocally ready to perform it. It is often easier to schedule a private coaching than an audition. 

Another way to meet contacts is through your current gigs and performances. Every time you do a show or performance you’re also auditioning for your next opportunity and expanding your network. 

2. Be the Person They Want to Hire Again. Have you ever done a gig with a colleague who didn’t know their music, was late to rehearsals, or had a bad attitude? Don’t be that person. Instead, be the person who always knows their music, is on time, ready to work, and who is fun to work with. This applies to coachings, rehearsals, and to paid and volunteer performances. One of the most effective ways to network is to be the colleague that everyone would be happy to work with again.

3. Connect Other People. Networking works when everyone does it. If you have to cancel a performance because of illness or a conflict, suggest another singer who you know can do a good job. Whenever you know someone who might be able to fill an available position, pass that information along to both the performer and the person trying to fill the position. They will remember and will probably be more likely to recommend you for an opening in the future.

4. Offer Something. Don’t ever think of networking as just a way to get a job; look for what you can offer to other people. This way they will want to help you, too, whether it’s a connection to a conductor or to a performance venue.

5. Stay in Touch. In the digital age, it is incredibly easy to stay connected with people. Besides Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites, many singers maintain a blog, newsletter or even send postcards to keep business contacts updated about their current activities. Don’t lose touch with contacts, even if all you do is occasionally “like” their posts on Facebook. Someone who doesn’t remember who you are or how they know you is no longer really part of your network, so keep your contacts alive.