Events such as the Sessions, www.thesessions.org that is coming to Nashville on Thursday, April 5th and hosted by Music Starts Here.
How do you make the most of these opportunities to learn and network?? Oh you can attend, show up at the start time sit by yourself, take a couple notes, not talk to anyone OR You can show up at this and events in the future at least :15 minutes in advance of the start time. Check in with the host, talk with people in line with you, ASK about THE OTHER person and what they do, where they are from and see what simular interest and goals you may have in the music business. Important to Listen to that person, you never know where it may lead in the future, could be a new co-writer or a good contact for the both of you.
TIP: Another benefit of arriving early - get the best parking spaces in the area. Yes get those open spaces as you do not spend time driving around the block a couple times and getting frustrated before going to the event.
Attitude is altitude- be a Positive Person with conversation. Do not complain about the music industry and how you do not like the changes - be positive and someone that people will want to talk with during the event. no one wants your whining, complaining, disappointments on your journey. Share some kind of excitement and Ask about that other person - very valuable for the conversation. We have Two ears and One mouth for a reason.
When you have talked for a couple minutes, trade business cards. ALWAYS have YOUR business cards with you. TIP: I keep My Business Cards in My Left Pocket and place everyone else's cards in my right pocket. This prevents me from flipping through cards to find my cards. Get a seat up front and talk to the people around you, beside, in front and behind you - again, create relationships at events.
TURN YOUR CELL PHONE OFF or at least the ringer to vibrate... We all use our phones to take notes. Do NOT sit and text everyone during the events. Use your phone to take photos, perhaps FB and Twitter as you arrive at the event, wtih the news you are excited to attend The Sessions or whatever event it is that day. Do Not Answer your phone if it rings and you are in your seat during the event. These are basics, however you would be surprised how often these mistakes happen at events.
As you meet the pros, a couple thngs Not to do: Do Not keep them talking longer than a minute or two as there are other people waiting to talk with the pros and panelist. If it is a hit songwriter, DO NOT ask them to Write a Song with You. This is not the time and they probably do not know you or if they know you, this is not the time to ask them to write a song with you. Do not hand the pros your business card, unless for some reason they would ask for the business card.
Many events, such as The Sessions, do Not allow you to record the panel discussion on your phone. Ask before the event starts if recording the panel discussions or workshops is allowed at the event.
During breaks, network with those around you, ask what they thought of the panel discussions or workshop speakers, again what they do, where they are from, or any other positive topics. Refer to above for business card tips.
TIP: Learn all you can. Sometimes you may know the topics, yet if even just ONE thing you learned is helpful it is worth attending the event. Stay in touch with the people you met and exchanged your business card and on some of them, set up a time to reconnect with them.
Most of all - Be Positive, Learn and start relationships with some of your peers at the music business events.