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3 Tips for Better Networking and Communication

For generations, people have been using the term ‘networking’ to describe the ongoing process of making and maintaining professional relationships. Too often a cliché, ‘networking’ is actually a very apt term.

Computer networks are effective because they:

  • Clearly identify clients, servers, and other resources;
  • Effectively route information to the right places;
  • Provide pre-established ways for clients and servers to work together.

We could learn a lot about effective professional networking by holding ourselves to these simple standards.

Here are three suggestions for more effective professional networking:

1) Clear, Consistent Identity

For professional communication to be effective, we have to be clear about who it is we’re addressing (or learning about). In the pro audio world identity is frequently confused between individuals and business identities.

Are you communicating about yourself or your studio? This may not seem like an important question, but a clear answer could make your marketing tools and social networking efforts a lot more coherent (and effective).

Are you trying to promote a facility? Big egos can cloud a brand. Keep the staff content simple and journalistic. Keep the point-of-view third-person, or first-person-plural (‘we’).

Are you trying to promote yourself? Pointless brands can mask talent.

2) Route Information to the Right Audience

If you’re trying to promote your business or services through social networking, ask yourself who’s seeing your tweets and status updates. If your primary friends and followers are already clients or colleagues, then you might consider spending the effort more wisely.

The music and audio professions depend on community. Use your existing social network to cross promote their projects, gigs, and products. Strengthen your existing relationships by fostering community. The resulting word-of-mouth (and online visibility) will help you reach new audiences.

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3) Efficient Client Communication

Ask any computer network user what’s important to them and they’ll tell you the same things: speed and simplicity! The same goes for communication with pro audio service providers.

You’re facilitating a process; be prepared to quickly, completely, and consistently explain that process to new or potential clients. Don’t condescend to people who aren’t aware of your esoterica. If they wanted abuse they’d get another day job.

Decide how you’re going to exchange information with your clients (both communication and media). Predetermine answers to questions like:

  • Is text message a good way to get ahold of you?
  • How can I send you my audio files?
  • Is our production schedule online?
  • Can you just send me a reference mix?

Remember that ease-of-use and reliability are just as important as the audible results of your work.

As with any industry whose main competition is DIY, the professional audio community has to recognize that how we meet and treat our clients is just as important as the quality of the work we do for them.

Chime in with comments about your own experiences!

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Rob Schlette

Rob Schlette

Rob Schlette is chief mastering engineer and owner of Anthem Mastering, in St. Louis, MO. Anthem Mastering provides trusted specialized mastering services to music clients all over the world.

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