#1 — Don’t Get Wasted
Give yourself a drink limit at these events, one drink an hour is a good guideline. If you feel you the need to have a drink in your hand, order a club soda with lime, no one will care. It’s so easy to sidle up to someone at the bar, someone that you have wanted to meet, and strike up a conversation, and that conversation will go way better if you are not 3 sheets to the wind. Be the storyteller, not the subject of the story the next day.
#2 — Hey, What’s Your Jam? But Don’t be a HIMNI (Hi My Name Is…)
Get off your phone and get into the crowd. Did you come with a friend? Split up when you schmooze. If the other person is struggling, they can come find you and vice versa. Do you see someone shirking in the corner all alone? Subtly saunter by, and comment about the venue and how great it is to be back in person, blah blah. Then ask, “what brings you to Schmoozefest?” And listen. I mean really listen and engage. Paraphrase. They will probably feel some relief, and you may have just made a great new contact! Just don’t talk to the same person all evening, they probably want to schmooze too.
#3 — It’s Not All About You!
I like to talk, but I also listen. We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, and that’s because we can’t shut our ears, but we can shut our mouth. In this setting, getting people to talk about themselves is paramount. Listen, paraphrase back, engage. Maybe you both know the same people? If you get talking with someone about a common interest, a good convo generally follows. Now, if someone asks YOU about YOU, be prepared, and have your schtick down pat. Practice what you want to say on different people before you go, to see if your schtick needs refining. AND BRING BUSINESS CARDS, and a pen! Yes, I mean that. If they ask for you contact info, have a card. And ask for theirs. If not, at least bring a pen and some paper to jot on or use your phone to make notes and highlights of the chat you had. Connect with them a few days later, even just to say “Hey Man, thanks. It was great chatting at Schmoozefest and getting to know you.” Let them know the next time you are playing and where and send them an invite or put them on the guestlist.
#4 — Follow Up and Be Drippy
I feel like I have pushed this so much it’s annoying. Did you meet someone at Schmoozefest that you think could benefit you and your career? Get their contact info and follow up. And in that follow up, mention that if you don’t hear from them, you will follow up again in maybe two weeks. Make a schedule as to when you will do that and then actually do follow up. This is called dripping and continue to drip until they tell you to get lost. If they are potentially important to you and your music career, never forget them. Do a personal reach out before a neutral holiday like Victoria Day, Canada Day, or Thanksgiving.
#5 — Smile and Wave
Try to have a great time. Smiling is good, and authentic engagement is better. People can smell BS a mile away so remember to be sincere, be yourself, and have fun!