You may not realize it, but a lot of the world’s best musicians and artists are actually introverts. Being an introvert is a great quality, but for introverts to thrive in today’s music industry, there are a few things that they should think about if they want to learn how to connect with the industry and with their audience.
I am actually an introvert myself! I personally need a lot of time by myself to recharge my energy. I really love being around people, but I need my “me” time.
One of the best things I ever did was to attend a seminar back in 2014. It was a weeklong event with around 200 other people where I got to network and hear a variety of amazing speakers. The guy who organized and hosted the wart was named Robert Helms, and he said something really simple that was a game-changer for me. He said that he was an introvert, but realized that it didn’t serve him well in his career and life. So he made a choice to show up boldly and confidently.
That simple: a choice.
So he encouraged all those at the event, to show up however they wanted to show up! Most of us were meeting everyone for the first time, so they didn’t have to know that we, introverts, were at all nervous.
So I took that to heart, and I have to say, that while it was really uncomfortable for me, that week was a huge leap forward for me in my personal growth. Keeping to yourself and resisting connecting with others hurts you in 2 ways
#1: It limits your chances of finding someone who might become a key champion for you.
#2: You miss out on all of the learning that you gain from being connected with others in the same game.
So, I have a few insights from my own personal experience as an introvert who has learned to love networking and connecting with others.
First of all, don’t try to force yourself to be someone that you aren’t. Accept that you are who you are, and who God uniquely made you to be. When you go out to industry events or parties, you don’t need to assume the persona of the people around you and become a loud, boisterous person if that isn’t natural to you. Yes, there is an art and a craft to learning the physicality of good communication. And yes, confidence is something that you can grow into, but the point I’m trying to make here is: DON’T TRY TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT.
The second thing I’d say is that the key to effective networking is to focus on the other person. Learn to listen more than you speak. Learn to ask good questions. Learn what makes those you are talking to tick. And ultimately learn to find ways to serve and add value to them, long before you ever ask for anything. So many people think of networking as a transactional thing – gaining a relationship to get something out of it. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again; don’t treat a relationship like a transaction. Treat a relationship like a relationship.
Lastly, remember that confidence comes from accepting the fact that who you are and what you do is not for everyone. There are no guarantees for your success. But there is one guarantee for failure: TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE.
For all the introverted musicians out there, the more you put yourself out there and dive into networking, the less afraid of it you’ll be.