The German music industry is facing two of the most important annual events: on the last weekend in August, the c/o pop in Cologne and only three weeks later, the Reeperbahn Festival, probably the most important industry meeting in Germany, takes place in Hamburg. At the Reeperbahn Festival and c/o pop keynotes, sessions and workshops will meet showcases and other live concerts (Die c/o pop Convention in Cologne on 30 and 31 August, the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg from 19-22 September).
And those, who want to effectively expand and maintain their network at these events, should prepare themselves so that their visit to the industry meeting will be a success. Here are the six steps to be perfectly prepared for your business networking:
Step 1: Defining Networking Goals
Going randomly to network events doesn’t make much sense at all. Even if your goal is to build or expand your network in general and to inform you, then this is also a goal, but a very vague one. In most cases, however, you should think about exactly what you want to achieve first.
Specify your goals precisely and quantify them in the best case, e.g. “Get to know at least one A&R in the field of Hip Hop” or “Get to know two business contacts in the field of sales”.
If you know that contacts of yours are there, a goal can also be to have a detailed conversation with one or the other person. In this process you can analyse your current situation and thus effectively enter the networking mode. In addition to the obligatory business cards (e.g. USB with current songs of your artists, etc.), you also actively deal with the question of what to prepare for this event or what to take with you.
Step 2: Being up-to-date for relationship building
Know the latest trends, the current developments in the music industry in Germany (and preferably internationally). “Well, this is the perfect chance to get the latest information on the spot”. This is not wrong, but as a first step in the preparation for such industry events and conferences it is absolutely necessary to find out what changes, progress and news are currently taking place.
Read e.g. the Musikwoche News or relevant blogs like Music Business Worldwide, Music 3.0 or Hypebot. On the one hand, this is important in order to get into conversation à la “What do you say about the development in…“, not only to be a passive participant and above all to present yourself as an expert. This builds trust with new and old contacts, which is an essential basis for business networking. On the other hand, this is fundamental for the further preparatory steps in order to get the best out of these events. The topics in the sessions and workshops are of course all current, innovative and important for the industry. However, if you have already looked in advance at what is currently circulating in the media, you can already make a preselection here for yourself, what interests you personally or what is essential for you professionally. So you can already scan the timetable with trained eyes and filter important dates for you.
Step 3: Check the timetable:
Besides networking, the timetable is the core of every conference. Here you can find who is talking about what and when. At both festivals you will find an online timetable for the conferences with different categories. The Reeperbahn Festival has even introduced its own networking category alongside sessions or meetings - events where you can meet old friends and make new contacts and introduce yourself.
You now already have in mind which current topics are currently relevant for you and can thus make a pre-selection. Of course, many dates will overlap here as well, so it’s time to create your own timetable. Here are a few tips:
- As in most situations in life, you have to decide and prioritize.
- Unstrain your plan. Take breaks for preparation and follow-up or for conversations with other participants. If you hunt from appointment to appointment, networking is guaranteed to be lacking in quality.
- Whether you create your timetable in Word or handwritten, be sure to leave enough room for notes. Here you can write down thoughts on the topics or gather information about the participants with whom you subsequently got into conversation.
- Despite a timetable with interesting sessions and lectures, a good networking opportunity should always be preferred!
Step 4: Research participants and speakers
Now that you know which dates are relevant for you in terms of content, it’s your turn to know who else is coming. On the one hand, you can find the speakers on the official websites with whom you can contact, and on the other hand, the participants.
For events of this size, there are Facebook events whose list of participants can be viewed. However, since the commitments on Facebook are not very reliable, it is much more effective to view the direct guest lists. After registering, you can view the complete list of participants and, if necessary, contact the participants directly, either directly in the participants’ area of the event, via social networks or the participants’ websites.
Alternatively, at the latest on the evening of the event, you can ask the organiser if there is a list of participants. See in which position and at which company they work and whom you want to meet.
Now that you’ve created a list of interesting participants and speakers, it’s time to google, check out LinkedIn or find your Facebook profile. What are they working on? What is your position? This preparation maximises the chances that the potential discussions have a good start and can be productive and memorable. Just knowing a few details about the person you’re talking to will help you make a connection.
Step 5: Make networking appointments with participants in advance
You don’t have to wait for the event to begin. You can network now. Once you’ve done your research on the people you’re interested in, you’re ready to go. For example, write a short email or message on LinkedIn to let them know that you are there and are interested in meeting them.
The “more important” the person is, the busier they are at such events, there will be hardly any room for spontaneous conversations (especially with speakers). If you want to be sure that you can talk to this person, this way of contacting them is perfectly okay.
Another advantage is of course that the ice is already broken and the meeting on site can be less tense. Ideally you have arranged a place and a time, so nothing can come between and you can prepare intensively for it. But now to the last step in the preparation!
Step 6: Elevator pitch during networking talk
You wouldn’t think so, but a simple question like “What are you doing or who are you” can be followed by so many false answers. Some try to present themselves through their technical jargon, which unfortunately no one else is able to understand or simply no longer wants to hear, because many people have a similar background at music industry events. The others begin to give a 20-minute presentation about themselves and their work. Exactly, that’s also wrong.
However, there are ways to describe yourself in an informative and fascinating way, so that conversations and possibly contacts arise from them. Why don’t you try this sentence? “I am (job title) at (company, agency, etc.) and (what does your job title mean for non-professionals).” Depending on the situation, this sentence could be extended by an exciting statement about what you are currently working on or also with a special feature of your company that you briefly explain.
If you manage to fill in this idea so that it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds, nothing should prevent a successful conversation. 30 seconds because this is called an elevator pitch and this can be understood literally. The background is that in the short time you meet someone in an elevator, for example, you can imagine yourself or your project/idea in such a way that the other person understands it, is interested and at best fascinated.
Preparing in advance of networking events reduces your nervousness and prepares you for a perfect first impression. Always remember, this half a minute is yours alone! It is your advertisement, from which you can get the best out of yourself for your counterpart with a little practice.
Finally, it is important to remain flexible. At c/o pop or the Reeperbahn Festival, you are very likely to talk to people from the same industry, but here too, different prior knowledge and technical jargon can come together. Be spontaneous and adapt your pitch to the respective situation. Of course, you can also go through these potential situations in advance to avoid stressful situations.
The preparation seems long and intensive, but it is essential for effective networking. You can also use your preparations for further events, you don’t have to develop a new pitch every time. The topics you are interested in will also be similar. Nevertheless: stay up-to-date and know the event and the other professionals before you are there. Of course, tamanguu are also represented at both events in different line-ups. If you want to meet us, just contact us! We are looking forward to it!
In this sense, happy networking!
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