Making Connections: Schmoozing for Success
Networking, or “schmoozing,” simply means being neighborly, being open, and being interested in meeting new people. It's about exchanging information and ideas while getting to know people. It should be a two-way street, not all about you. Notice your conversation when someone introduces you to someone new. You probably ask the new person about their life, work, and their interests, and you reciprocate, sharing about yourself and your interests. That's networking, connecting with people. If you “click” there'll be the potential to turn a meeting with a stranger into an acquaintance, a trusted colleague, mentor or friend.
When I discuss networking with musicians, I often get as a response, along with a look of revulsion, “I hate pushy people, I hate small talk,” or “I can't do this, I'm too shy.” But you don't have to be extroverted, egotistical, or pushy to network. You simply need to be curious about people, willing to talk one-on-one, and willing to say a bit about who you are and what you'd like to be doing.
Effective networking is the number one tool for advancing a music career. Most musicians find out about auditions, jobs, performance opportunities and grants through their network of colleagues, mentors, friends and acquaintances. Networking is especially important in the small world of music where reputations and connections are critical to career building. The contacts you have right now include people who can help move your career forward.
Guitarist Bob Sullivan has been freelancing since his teens. He estimates that 99 per-
cent of the work he gets—everything from pit orchestra work for musicals, to pre-