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Music Business Networking Tips and How to Handle the Food and The Drink


By Mei TingWe hate talking to strangers and unfortunately this seems to be a key skill in business!

Networking – love it or hate it – in music business we have to do it.

Here are some more tips following on from my last post:-


Positive Mental Attitude and Warming Up

1. Make the most of the time here this is time you don’t get paid for

2. Enjoy yourself and have fun

3. This room will be familiar. You will see people on their own, open 2‘s and 3’s. They will be welcoming. Beware of the closed 2’s 3’s and 4+ groups unless there are people in there you already know.

4. Plan to talk to 3 new people and gain 3 new pieces of information.

5. Work hard at introducing yourself to the person/ people you’re targeting.

6. Get yourself into a positive state of mind – visualise striking up rapport with others.

7. Everyone here wants to network. That’s why they are here!

8. Believe in yourself and what you have to offer that is of value to the people in the room

9. There will be the odd rude person here… just get away from them as soon as possible.

10. It might happen, but very very occasionally you might get rejected. These people aren’t worth giving a second thought to. Let’s focus on the 99.9% of pleasant and welcoming people.


There is nothing wrong with scripting some lines and practicing them before hand in fact this is common amongst entrepreneurs. If you do choose to script a few opening lines make them casual, convivial and conversational then do what we call in the public speaking business “perfect it then wreck it.” So practice what you have to say until you know it so well you can mess it up and still get back on track very easily.

So an example of what I might say is:-

“I run a coaching business that helps top music industry organizations create enthusiastic and passionate communities of fans. 

I have over ten years in the music industry leading digital marketing and PR campaigns for superstar artists from Beyonce to Take That.  

You see, the music industry is having trouble keeping up with changing technology. It is a problem because they can’t compete with other kinds entertainment like video games, social networking and P2P and so the music industry is losing money.

My solution is called “The Fan Experience.” “The Fan Experience” is a 7 step training programme. It marries old school music business know how with cutting edge community management methods and teaches you how to put the fan firmly in the centre of the music business. You learn how to listen to the fans, the journey the fans take to the music, the kinds of exposure the fans have to music, the different types of relationships the fans have with music, how to create with the fans, how to innovate with the fans and lastly how to measure the whole thing so you can improve on it regularly”


Your’s doesn’t have to be as long - the above is simply an excerpt from my pitch that I adapt to my social surroudings. It does help, however, to have a clear idea of who, what, where, how, when and why you are doing what you are doing before you walk into a networking situation. 

How To Deal With Food and Drink


I also mentioned that I would provide some tips on how to cope with food and drink at networking events so here is what you do:-

1. If there is food at these events do not under any circumstances go there on an empty tummy to eat. Eating with your mouthful is not a good look and you will miss out on people you can talk to. Go in on a satiated tummy where you are comfortable.

2. Treat the food like a social prop; use it as an icebreaker or conversational piece. If there is someone you want to speak to you might be able to break the ice with them over the serving table or the bar.

3. Wine drinkers hold the wine in the hand that won’t be doing the hand shaking. That means if you shake hands with your right hand you hold the glass in your left hand. Geddit? Simples…

4. Beer drinkers – you are the same and this is even more important for you especially if the beer has come from a bucket of ice! Use the hand that does not do the hand shaking! So if you are right handed you will use your left hand to pick up and drink beer.

5. Never have food and drink at the same time you will run out of hands most likely.

6. Don’t get drunk.

7. Now when dealing with food, normally you will be given a little plate (at least I should hope so) hold the plate in the hand that does the handshaking. Eat with your other hand. This means if you are right handed you hold the plate in your right hand and eat with your left. If you meet someone you need to shake hands with to simply swap the plate to your “eating” (left) hand.

8. If there are no plates and usually food is served on sticks, spoons, little forks or other nonsensical little implements again use the hand you don’t shake hands with. So if you shake hands using your right – you pick up food with your left.

9. Take token bites, the food and drink is there to get to relax and make you look busy when you have no one to talk to.

10. Don’t speak with your mouthful (Just like your Mother said.)


I hope this has given you a few ideas and made the idea of networking more comfortable! I recognise it isn’t easy but as I said in my last post if you go in with something you believe that is truly valuable to others and talk to your fellow networkers in the spirit of partnership then you are well on your way to many win - win deals! 

Good luck and happy networking!


Author Biography



Leena Sowambur is an established expert in digital music business. She has two music business degrees and ten years in digital marketing and PR. Leena has held roles within Sony, award winning digital marketing agency Outside Line and the pioneering music dotcom Peoplesound where her clients included Universal, EMI and Warner. Leena also has indie sector experience with clients such as Sanctuary, Echo/Chrysalis, Beggars Banquet and Ministry of Sound as well as boutique labels such as Tummy Touch, Warp and Wiiija and Telstar.
Some of the artist campaigns that Leena has worked on include:- Shakira, Longview, Chris Brown, Destiny’s Child, Darren Hayes, Take That, Angie Stone, John Legend, Rod Stewart, Luther Vandross, Paul Oakenfold, Pulp, Pink, 50 Cent, Eminem, Bon Jovi, Empire Magazine soundtrack compilation, The Total Music Mirror Premium CD Giveaway comprising of Pet Shop Boys, Cream, Kaci, Muse, BBMak, Zero 7, Beverley Knight, Cher, Depeche Mode, Oxide and Neutrino; Red Magazine Feel Good compilation including Moloko, Lisa Stansfield and Catatonia; Metro Life Live In London covermount CD including Suede, Basement Jaxx, Turin Brakes and Carl Cox; Instant Music Premium CD Giveaway comprising of Stereophonics, Travis, Marti Pellow, Stereo MCs, Feeder, Shaggy and Gabrielle; Eve Magazine compilation including Groove Armada and The Orb.

Leena speaks all over the country on the subject of digital music business. Events regularly include University of Chester, University of Westminster, The Manchester College, London Metropolitan University, Croydon Council, Southwark Council and Portobello Business Centre. Leena also currently lectures at the University of East London.

Leena’s business “Positively Music “is a coaching business that helps top music industry organisations create communities of raving fan customers. She is writing a new book called “The Fan Experience” focussed on the music fans’ growing role in the music business with the audio visual product and training courses to match.
You can get the first chapter of Leena’s new book here.


The Fan Experience Tip Sheet - FREEBIE!

The Fan Experience Tip Sheet contains 101 tips on creating better fan experience for music business, above you will see a sampler to get all 101 tips visit the link below:-

Say “hi” on Facebook
Read more about Leena Sowambur at
Find out more about Positively Music

Keep updated on The Fan Experience here



There will also be a little ebook available soon called “30 Ways To Make Money From Your Music” - it is in the process of being edited. Email to be kept informed.

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