Network like a pro (even if you're not) at Meet the Locals

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2019

Meet the Locals is proving once again to be a very hot (and free!) ticket on the APRA AMCOS member events calendar. It's an excellent opportunity to get into a room with industry pros who can really make a difference in a songwriting career - through their advice, referring you to resources you never knew existed, or by making a connection that leads to new possibilities. It's also a chance to meet your peers 'in real life' and talk shop. 

Whether you're an introvert who likes to sit back and listen, or the more outgoing type ready to get in there and work the room, it's wise to have a networking game plan in mind to make the most of the afternoon. Helpful hints, tips and unsolicited advice below:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

It's important to come prepared with questions that you may want to ask. Refer to the event details to see who will be there and what they will be talking about. Panel discussions will often have time for questions at the end, and no one likes an awkward silence during question time! It’s also more than likely that there are other people in the room wanting to ask the same question but who may not have the confidence to do so. So take one for the team and get the Q & A rolling.

But...keep questions broad in group settings – don’t make it too personal

Panelists and speakers do have limited time to answer questions and are there to provide insight to everybody in attendance. Try to avoid questions that may be very specific to you and your situation when in group settings, and stick to seeking information that might be useful more broadly. You can always try to discuss your personal circumstances one-on-one so that you’re not infringing on the group's time. We re-jigged the MTL format this year so that participants can connect in different contexts.

Have a cordial follow-up plan

While not all speakers or panelists may have the time to follow-up with personalised advice, there are often some that are more than happy to help where they can. Come to Meet the Locals with an idea of what areas are important to you (e.g booking a tour, accounting, media pitching) and who it may be beneficial to connect with after. Remember to thank someone for their time if they are not able to provide you with a means of follow-up, and that APRA AMCOS representatives may also be able to assist you or provide some advice.

Take notes

Pearls of wisdom will be shared and key industry names, networks, conferences, websites, venues and other resources will be mentioned, so bring your notebook or device so you can make a note of it.  It's a full day event, so there is a lot to take in – and you’re probably not going to remember all of it when you get home. Try writing down three key points from each session and any follow-up that you may want to do. This will help jog your memory and give you direction when putting some of the information you have learned into practice.

Say g'day

The great thing about MTL is you actually get to meet people with common interests and incredible expertise, because sometimes the not-great thing about the music industry is how much of it is built through networks. We try to facilitate industry and songwriter connections with our events (and light snacks and beverages). While it can sometimes be difficult to leave your comfort zone, these events are a great opportunity to practice doing just that. If you need to break the ice, try introducing yourself and asking what sort of music another attendee writes, or what brings them to the event today, or what was the last gig they went to.

Set goals for yourself that you control 

Set a goal that helps you focus on what you want to achieve, and that you can manage. Maybe you want to meet three new people or say hello to a certain panelist. Don’t set goals that are dependent on someone else doing something, like asking for a later meeting or a further introduction. Keep it simple and achievable!

Further reading: Read up on Coach Viv's tips pieces on goal setting, networking and more.

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