Hi again. Today we're going to talk about one of the most important things in your professional life, your network. Now, pretty much any career networking is important. But I think in the performing arts, it may be almost as important as your artistic practice. I didn't want to say as important, but it is a very, very close second. Now, you've heard that expression, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." I don't agree with the first part of that, you have to know your what, is it work? As we'll find out the other part of that, it's who you know, it's a little bit more nuanced than that, but it's a statement that is a good place to start because it does place the importance of knowing people in your line of working, especially. Let's start out by talking about how you might feel about networking, because a lot of people have a negative association with it and it's because they think it means to schmooze, or to be inauthentic, getting up in somebody's face as my dad would call it, glad-handing. The proverbial used-car salesman, not that we should put down used-car salesman, but the point is that it's not something that feels real to us and it may even feel uncomfortable for a lot of us. That brings me to the next thing that I wanted to talk about, which is that we may tell ourselves, "Well, I'm an introvert, so I'm not going to be any good at this. I don't have the right skills to network with people. " But we have to, first of all, be honest with ourselves about what it means to be an introvert versus an extrovert. These are blanket terms for one thing, it's all a matter of degree. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are shy or awkward around other people. Being an introvert simply means that being around people and interacting with people requires you to expend energy, and extroverts in contrast, draw energy from being around people. But it doesn't mean that extroverts don't ever want to have downtime and be quiet and be by themselves, and it doesn't mean that introverts don't like to be social. It's about the energy expenditure, is the difference. If you are an introvert and you are going to be engaging in a lot of social interaction you can be aware of that and you can exercise the appropriate self-care to make sure that you don't get burned out on that. But just because you're an introvert does not mean that you cannot learn to become an effective networker, and I'm living proof of that because I consider myself to be an introvert. I think most musicians tend to be an introvert in my experience, I don't have any data to support that, but it's just from my own observations. That just means that we have to exercise some more self-care. So a couple of things to think about for effective networking, and the first thing is that it's got to be authentic. We can't have any of the person who comes off as being fake or like they're just a little bit too scripted or that it's obvious that they're trying to get something from you. We can spot that. Five minutes into a conversation we would be like, "I don't know my spidey-sense here is telling me that this person is not what they are pretending to be. " That's of course very off-putting and counterproductive. You can't make yourself into something else that you are not. Also part of this authenticity thing helps to just ramp down the pressure that maybe you put on yourself, "Oh, I have to get X and Y out of this conversation." We're going to talk a little bit more about that later. But to just look at it as trying to interview for a new friend, and take some of that pressure off of yourself, just be yourself. The other thing is that there's a reason why they call them people skills. It's a skill like any other kind of skill. That means it's developed over time. It means that the more you do it, the better it gets and the easier it gets, the less you have to think about it, and the more it just becomes second nature. So give yourself a break. If this is something that is a new part of your life that you know you need to explore, but you're uncomfortable or hesitant, just give yourself a little bit permission, start small. Introduce yourself to one new person after that concert or after that show or practice in a non-professional setting. Now, just the next time you're out with friends, try to strike up a conversation with the person standing at the bar next to you, whatever it might be. The more you do it, first of all, it is true that the easier it gets and the less you have to think about it, but as I've discovered, it's also fun. Once you get past being uncomfortable about it, you will discover that meeting new people is usually a fun experience. Let's ask ourselves this question, what does it actually mean to have a network? Now the easiest way is that the network is simply everybody that you have some kind of connection with, but it's a little bit more nuanced than that. This graphic here shows us the layers of the onion, if you will, to our network. Obviously, you are at the center of it, and then right around you, these are your closest associates for talking about your professional network and not necessarily your family and non-professional friends. Then these are the ones who you collaborate with on a regular basis. These may be the people who are members of the same bands you share in or the same chamber music group that you're in. If you are teaching in a community music school, these are the two or three, your work's pals. These are the people that are really, really at the center of your creative life. They know not just what you're doing as an artist or as an educator, or whatever context this is we're talking about, but they know you personally. They're the colleague that you might just go out for lunch, for a social thing, or that if you just went through a painful break-up, you're going to tell them about it. Because they are in your trusted inner circle, and trust is, of course, the key to those of you in your inner circle. There is a clear sense of mutual trust. Now, the next step out, these are people that maybe aren't quite as close to you, but they are still your peers and your colleagues, they are people you work with. You're still on a first-name basis probably. They're the folks that if something really big was happening in your life, you might say. If they say, "How's your husband?" You might say, "Well, actually, we split up last year." They'll be, "Oh gosh, I'm sorry." But it's moving away from the really close-knit trust that you have at the center of your inner circle. One way of looking as we go up these things is that there is not just that you're not quite as intimate or familiar with the person, but the degree of trust, it reduces a little bit as you get further and further out. Peer acquaintances, these are the folks that maybe you only see at a conference once a year or you run into them around town or somebody who when you were on tour you met them when you were in a city and you've stayed in touch and you're Facebook friends, but you're not friends, really, you're colleagues. Then what we would call peers by association. This would be like, for instance, if you are a member of the Music Teachers National Association, an organization for independent music teachers, then everybody in that organization who's also a member of MTNA is a peer by association, you might not actually personally know each other at all. But the reason why this is important to think about in terms of your network, one of the reasons we'll talk about in a second, but it means that if for instance, you sent an email to a fellow MTNA member and said, "Hi, I'm a fellow MTNA member and I'm in the Rocky Mountain chapter, and I see that you're in the Pacific Northwest chapter. I was curious about some things that you guys maybe were doing up there in the Northeastern Pacific, Northwestern Pacific, whichever I said." They're more likely to return your email because you're both members of the same organization. You have established that there's a certain amount of connection there. It's professional, it's not personal level because you don't know what this person is, but it's a way to ease the connection because you already have something in common, and that's the peers by association. Now, this brings me to the next reason why those peers by association can be an important part of your network. You may have heard of the six degrees of separation rule. This idea that there are only six relationships between you and anyone else in the world. I know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows the President of the United States, let's say, whatever it might be. While that might be a particularly fanciful idea that you're only x degrees of separation away from the President of United States- It's one of those things where the more you start thinking about it, the more it's true. Especially within a given profession like music, where so much depends on what reputation you have. Do you have a reputation for being reliable, trustworthy colleague? Do you have a reputation for always showing up being prepared, ready to go, you've got your music down cold, or do you have a reputation of being somebody who's difficult to deal with or is not always prepared? The idea that the six degrees of separation is an operation, is really true in music, and if you know somebody who knows somebody, that can be a very helpful way for you to get in touch with people and to begin to build a relationship with somebody that you do not have a direct relationship with. That's why we call it a network, it's a web, it's not just the single layer of the onion that we were looking at in the previous slide, it's those people and all of their contacts, and then all of those people's contacts, and of course, the further away it gets from you, the less useful it is. But we all know in the music world, having your teacher if you're a young professional, just starting out, having your teacher giving you an introduction to somebody, that can be career changing. Or meeting somebody through some collaboration and they are very close to somebody could really make a difference in your life. This is why the six degrees of separation thing is really important to keep in mind. Now, here are some rules for building your network or some guidelines, it's the same. The first is, do not take any relationship for granted. Don't assume that because somebody is a friend of yours, that you can blow them off and and they're going to stay loyal to you. This is like any other kind of relationship, you can't take it for granted. If it's something that's valuable to you, then you need to put in the time and the effort to nurture it and keep it something that is mutually enjoyable and mutually beneficial. The second thing is just be social, put yourself in situations where you're going to meet other people. It doesn't mean that you have to go out with an agenda, but just be active in your community, go to shows, go to concerts, go out to clubs where bands that you admire are playing, and just give yourself the opportunity to meet people. You might not always meet somebody new, or you might meet somebody and it doesn't happen, no sparks. But if you're not even putting yourself in these situations, then you will by definition not be able to grow your network. Related to that is to be active and engaged in your community, it doesn't have to just be music related or professional related. If there's some cause of it that you want to be involved with as a volunteer, if there's some social group maybe hikers group, or biker thing, or a bird watching society, or bowling league, whatever it might be, go and be engaged in your community because you just never know how those relationships will come back to enrich your life, not even talking about your profession, just your life. Ask for introductions. I find that usually if I have an established rapport with somebody and they trust me, we have a good relationship. When I say, "Would you be willing to introduce me to this person over here who I know you know? Because I would like to meet them." Most of the time people are going to be fine with that. But think about the caveat that I said at the beginning. If you already have a relationship with them, if they already trust you, they already know you, then they are probably going to be willing and happy to make that introduction. If they don't know you very well or they don't trust you, they're not going to disclose to give away something that is a very valuable asset, which is their relationship with this person. Because if they introduce you and then you end up being a pain in their neck, that's going to injure the relationship between the two of them. Yes, ask for introductions but only when you already have a really trusting established rapport with the other person you're asking. If you do get an introduction, follow up on this. I cannot say enough how important this is; the number of times that I have introduced let's say a student, to somebody in my network because I thought that they might make a great connection. Then that student doesn't even follow up with them. Now, I look like an idiot. I'm suggesting relationships and introductions with people who can't even have the courtesy to follow up with that. The other aspect about following a lead is not just following up with the person that you've been introduced to. Let's say I introduce you to somebody. You not only need to follow up with them; you need to follow up with me. You need to say, "Hey Jeff, I wanted you to know that Jenny and I had coffee last Monday. You were absolutely right. She's the [inaudible] and we're super-excited and we're going to meet again to talk about this project. Thank you so much for that introduction. I really appreciate that. It was super helpful." Do me the courtesy of thanking me for the fact that I gave you something. I gave you an introduction. It's a precious thing. When you follow up, there's a double responsibility there. Then lastly, as I mentioned a second ago in passing, if needed, exercise some self-care. When I go to a conference that I am on, I am a networking professional. Hi, my name is Jeff [inaudible]. To do that for eight hours a day for this introvert is exhausting. Sometimes I'll have buddies who'll be like, let's go out and party tonight, or let's go out to dinner together and continue to talk and interact. I generally pass those things by. I usually go back to my hotel room, lock myself in there, order room service, and I don't talk to anybody because I need some time alone. I need some downtime to recharge my batteries and get myself ready for the next day. The importance of self-care in that situation is really important. If it's an explicitly professional situation like a conference or a reception that you know a lot of the important mucky-mucks in your field are going to be there, for instance, or you're about to go into a meeting. I've introduced you to this person and you guys have set up a meeting and now you are going to go to their office and you're going to sit down and you're going to have a discussion. You need to prepare. First of all, do your homework. Learn what you can. It doesn't mean that you become a stalker, but learn what you can about them and their work. Get a sense of maybe some ways in which their interests and sensibilities might click with yours. What can you learn about them? Be ready to talk about yourself in clear and concise and authentic ways. I actually practice. If I know somebody's going to say, "Tell me about your work, Jeff." I don't want to sit there and stumbled my way through that answer. I want to be able to say, "Well, this is what I'm working on right now. This is the core of my artistic practice." Again, have it be genuine, have it be from the heart, but also have it be clear and concise. If that's something that you find yourself not good at doing, I actually practice saying it out loud. Get the muscle memory in your body of how and what it feels like to sit down and talk about yourself in those ways. You have to be careful. You don't want to come off as scripted. But if finding those words is hard for you, just practicing it in the shower or in front of the cat or whatever, actually does help you get a little bit more comfortable. Again, be yourself. Humor is a great icebreaker. Let me tell you, the number of conversations I've struck up while in a line for a buffet, or at the reception or a line for the bar or wherever like that in there and you turn to the person next to you and you go, "Good grief, if that bar attender were going any slower, he'd be going backwards." Then they sit and look at you and they chuckle and then now you've broken the ice. Now you can say, so what did you think about the first half of the show, or are you a regular at the symphony? Whatever. But having something humorous to say to just be a lighthearted exchange about whatever is going on around you, so a little sardonic observation, whatever it might be, that's a great way to break the ice. Now, here's something to really be careful about. Avoid what I call the transactional mindset. These are two beavers scratching each other's back. I just, Googled image, scratching each other's back. In other words, the transactional mindset is, I'm going to go into this reception, let's say, where there's a bunch of people that I'd like to meet and I have an agenda. I'm going to go and I'm going to praise that person's performance because I want them to like me or I want them to say, yes when I ask them, could I take them to coffee? That's a transactional mindset. Or let's say you get the coffee date and you say, all right, I'm going to go into this coffee date with the goal of, I will buy the coffee, I'm going to be really well-prepared. I'm going to be well-practiced and my agenda for this meeting is I'm going to come out of it with these things for me. It's like the vending machine metaphor that we talked about a few modules back, we were talking about your career. If we put in the right coins, we get the snack out that we want. Having a transactional mindset with your relationship building, with your networking, is a very dangerous place to go, because again, it leads frustration and it's coming from an inauthentic place. Just focus on getting to know the person. Just focus on finding a new friend, a new place of contact, a new potential collaborator and if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But the only goal, the only agenda item, is to create an authentic connection. Related to that is the idea of chasing famous people. The idea that if I get that introduction with famous conductor, famous director, famous record producer, whatever, that that's going to somehow be a game changer for me. It's going to change my life. It's going to all of a sudden be that one break that I need. We're back at the vending machine thing. All I need is a good introduction. The only reason why I haven't made it big, is I haven't yet met the right people. That might be true, but the right people are probably not who you think they are. If you are in a mindset putting a lot of energy into trying to connect with famous people, you're probably going to be disappointed, because everybody's chasing the famous people. Put yourself in the person's position. They constantly have people who are trying to work some angle, who are trying to take advantage of them or make use of them in some way. If you do have a chance to meet somebody really famous, how about you be the one person in their life who's not after something. That's going to make for a much more meaningful connection, and ultimately, is much more likely to lead to meaningful things happening for you professionally as well. Related to this is to avoid the scope called scarcity mindset. The scarcity mindset, of course, is that more pie for you is less for me. That the pie is limited. That again drives this idea that I have to go into that reception and meet X number of people in order to get a certain outcome that I want. Or that if somebody else is talking with that person and I don't want to get in with them, that has to be like, now are in competition about who can make the better connection with that person. It doesn't work like that. Relationships are not a zero sum game. Again, if you think about it, it's just trying to create authentic connections with people. That flies in the face of the scarcity mindset, they're unrelated to each other. If you find yourself feeling either resentful that you haven't been able to get through to somebody, maybe resentful that, hey, I've sent them five emails and they haven't responded. That must mean that I'm missing out on something with them that somebody else is getting. That's just a poisonous mindset to be in. Now that we've talked about these things about how to begin to build your network, then the question is, how do you maintain it? How do you nurture these relationships? Because as I've been saying all along, it's not just about making the connection and then everything magically happens. It is a relationship that has to be built and maintained and tended all the time. How do we do that with professional relationships? We're going to talk about that in the next lesson. See you then.