Be sure to check out the first entry of Kyle’s blog, Four Tips for Students, Interns, and All Human Beings, here.
Once you find yourself speaking and writing correctly, you have your online image cleaned up, and you’ve decided to up the ante on your ambitions, you’re ready to start meeting people in the industry- be it via networking, jamming, interviewing, or simply on the street.
5) Be a personality, not just a person.
If you’ve read my last post, you know I’m big on maturity and professionalism. I think I last left off with tip number 4: “Present yourself online the same way you would in person.”
So how should one present him or herself? In order to answer this question, it’s important that you realize how you are perceived before a word is spoken. Whether walking down the street, entering a room, standing in an elevator, or sitting at a table, body language is key. People will make snap judgments on first sight. My personal rule of thumb is that I always try to be memorable. Don’t be the guy who walks into class, follows the wall around and sits in the back. Be the guy that sits in front and asks a lot of question. People in this industry should know who you are. Here are a couple of hints to put in your back pocket:
- When sitting at a table, keep your hands in plain view of others around you. Any body language book will tell you: hidden hands = something to hide. If you ever want to know if someone is lying, ask them a question,and if they put their hands in their pockets before or while answering, they’re most likely lying. One option is to put one hand on the arm of your chair (or on your knee), and the other flat on the table. The hard part is keeping them there!
- Never cross your arms or clasp your hands together. Doing this is a natural, subconscious way of creating a barrier between the situation at hand and our torso- the vulnerable parts of our bodies. It is perceived as a sign of being generally closed off.
- Sit up straight or lean forward off the edge of your chair. Don’t slouch- it’s a sign of poor health, and therefore weakness.
- Here is a really simple way to be memorable- when walking down the street or entering a room: smile. That’s it. Just smile. I know we’re on the East Coast, and everyone walks around looking like they just got off the T coming from the Chinatown RMV, but that’s precisely why you should do the opposite: be memorable.
When walking down the street, walk big and look straight ahead. Don’t stare at the ground, and take notice of whether you move out of the way more often than people move out of the way for you. If you find yourself being pushed off to the side more often than not, you’re likely to be pushed to the side in this industry as well. Remember, you are in the business of you. You are it, and you need to be the best you at all times, and you need people around you to know that you can hold your own, even when walking down the street. The people you pass on the street now, may become very important in your life in just a few weeks time. Think about who walks down Boylston and Mass. Ave. Just in the immediate area, there’s Berklee, NEC, Boston Conservatory, and Mass Architectural College. Not to mention Symphony Hall, and the Handel Society. Which leads me to:
6) Everyone you walk by on Boylston or Mass Ave is a lead to get you a job after Berklee
Berklee is not (or at least shouldn’t be) the end-all-be-all of your musical career. It’s just a stepping stone to further your career. I don’t think a lot of students realize that the SECOND you graduate, all of your teachers are now your colleagues. Make friends with your teachers, or at the very least, make sure they know who you are. Introduce yourself at the end of class, and ask a well thought-out question about the material you just went over. That’s a good way to get your teachers attention. Then say ‘hi’ to them on the street when you pass them by.
Do the same to other students. How many times has this happened to you:
-You’re walking down Boylston.
-You see someone who sat (or sits) in the back of your harmony III class, and you can’t remember his or her name.
-You make awkward eye contact for about 1.2 milliseconds, wondering if he or she will say hi.
-You walk by without saying a word.
Sound familiar? Yeah, that person will never call you for a job, because they do not know who you are. This is one of my favorite quotes ever:
I used to feel so alone in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for many years. And then I realized, you just say, “Hi.” They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.
– Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors
That’s it. That’s the secret of networking. Say hi, AND FREAKING SMILE!
7) Obey the 50-85% rule
As you go through Berklee, and through life in general, you’ll hear conflicting views on the same thing, so what I do, is follow this rubric:
Take 50-85 percent of any knowledge or wisdom anyone gives you. Leave at least 12 percent for your own discovery and experimentation, and discard the rest. This goes for anything anyone has ever told you, including your teachers at Berklee, your parents, and me.
Ok, If you’ve gotten this far through this behemoth of a post, I applaud you, but as they say in the industry: never give away all of your secrets 🙂
That’s all I’ve got this week.
Kyle Pyke is a Contemporary Writing and Production major. He currently interns at Time Bomb Studios in Somerville, MA where he works with both national and unsigned acts to create the best recording experience.
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