Networking for Introverts: discussion and strategy

Since I first started this website as one of several small outlets for my creative efforts, I never imagined it growing to the point of having guests to come write alongside of me. But I’m proud to say we’ve reached that moment, and in my opinion it couldn’t be on a more appropriate discussion.

Angela Mastrogiacomo’s topic of introverts networking in the music industry and beyond is basically my life. Often it’s not easy to feel like an inward person in a field that’s so “public”, but you have to find the best strategies to help figure it out for the overall good of the career you want to find for yourself. Otherwise it makes climbing the hill that much harder, no matter what your profession is.

And as much as I like putting the microscope on the musicians I cover here on OTBEOTB, sometimes it’s just as intriguing to turn the lens the other way and expose the writer’s vulnerability as well.

I struggle with mastering these elements to this day, so I really recommend giving this piece a read. I know I plan on using plenty of these strategies myself! Now lets turn the floor over to Angela…

Talking to people is hard. I know it shouldn’t be, but for an introvert, simply talking to someone you don’t know, forcing conversation, having to think about what comes out of your mouth, can completely drain you to the point of exhaustion. 

I envy the born extrovert who can bounce from conversation to conversation and feel energized by it instead of depleted.

But in the music industry especially, who you know is everything, and you can’t exactly build a network if you don’t talk to people. Which is why I knew when I started my business that if this was something I really wanted, I was going to have to make it work.

So I did what I always do—I made a plan. 

I figured out how I could make networking work for me, and then I got out there and I tested it over and over until I found a series of strategies that worked. Now, I want you to take them for a spin. 

I know getting out there as an introvert is hard. You want to build your career, you want to grow your community, and you want to connect, but sometimes it just feels totally overwhelming and you have no idea where to start.

This is where these strategies come in. Next time you’re about to head off to a networking event, review this quick list of strategies and see what works for you—you might be surprised!

Prepare a few topics

Trust me on this—if you’re not a natural conversationalist, prepare a few generic topics ahead of time to use once you get to the event. For instance, if it’s a general mixer for musicians and industry, a few of the topics could be “how did you get into the music industry” or “what brought you to (this city)” or “how did you get involved with (this group)?” 

Just a couple get to know you questions can be enough to get you started, help you feel confident and prepared, and give you enough room to start a conversation, and then continue to build on it based on their answers.

Listen intently

This brings me to my next point—always listen intently to what the other person is saying. Not only because it’s rude not to, but because if you’re nervous about keeping the conversation going, a great way to make sure it doesn’t die is by listening to what the other person is saying, and following up on it with another question.

For example, if they say they came to the city for work but joke they stayed because of the food, you could follow up “I know, this city has the best food! My favorite place right now is X, but I’ve really been craving Mexican food. Any favorites?”

Bring a friend

I still remember my very first networking event. I was terrified and uncomfortable and my inclination was to just to stand in a corner and not talk to anyone. Thankfully, I’d thought ahead to bring a friend and it made all the difference. 

While you don’t want to use your friend as a crutch, they can be a powerful tool for helping you work the room, especially if they’re more extroverted. It’ll give you the confidence to have someone you know and trust there, and it’ll take some of the pressure off. 

Set a time limit

One thing that really helps me is setting a time limit. If it’s a 4-hour event, that doesn’t mean you need to go for 4-hours. Give yourself a time frame so that you know when that time is up, you’re free to go home and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. 

I’d recommend going about an hour into when the event has started, and setting your timer for whatever you’re comfortable with—but aim for at least 45 minutes.

Follow up

The best part about a networking event is in the days and weeks after. Once you’ve made the connection in person, and grabbed their IG handle or email, then you can be sure to keep in touch by shooting them a “nice to meet you” email and following them on IG and being sure to comment every few days or weeks so you can keep in touch and begin to grow your relationship. When you go to the next event, reach out and see if they’ll be there, and if they are, make time to stop and chat for a few minutes. This is how you truly begin to build those relationships from acquaintances to real connections.

We’re just getting started—if you’re looking for more tips and examples to build your social media and start seeing massive growth and engagement, join me for my free Masterclass ‘How to gain your next 1,000 fans. 3 simple steps that lead to higher engagement, sold-out shows, and life-changing opportunities’ on September 18th at 6pm EST. Register here and I’ll see you there! 🙂 
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.

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