The Art of “Reaching Out”

Brooke Paul, a serial entrepreneur and investor from Columbus, keynoted the How To Build A Music City discussion. His talk was about songwriters “thinking like entrepreneurs” , and his advice was to “do music like you mean business”.

Entrepreneurs do a lot of reaching out and connecting. Songwriters should too. But that can be an unknown territory for us. For example, when you met someone interested in your music and you feel like they could help you progress, or when you’re trying to book a show through a new city, you need to know how to present well.

A few things I’ve learned:

1. Address the person by their first name. The world of advertising has led us to feel distant from those who call us “Mr.” or use our full names. Or worse, try calling someone “Mister” who is older than you, and notice that they actually feel old. That’s unpleasant. Be a friend, not a hotel clerk.

2. If you have multiple questions, choose only one during your first email. There’s nothing worse than receiving a tirade of questions from someone you don’t know. It can suck the life out of you. Even reporters and interviewers plan ahead, and ask at the appropriate times.

3. Be clear. Make a good first impression by not wasting the other person’s time. Don’t hurt their eyes with small, or unknown font. The longer you talk, the less likely they will care.

4. Be yourself. We grow up watching movies that make us think that professional people speak a certain way that involves fancy adjectives and intelligent verbiage. That’s just movies. Don’t try to sound like someone you’re not.

5. Credentials. You may include an outside link within your signature, so that people can look into who you are. But consider what’s important. Hint: It’s not always your music. Your Facebook may demonstrate your connectivity better. Your LinkedIn may reiterate your role. Align your credentials to who you’re talking to and you’ll be better received.

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