Networking is an essential skill for all DJ’s that want to know to how to get booked for DJ gigs. It is all about connecting with other people when it's time to grow a DJ following, your brand and getting more success in nightclubs and the music industry. When I started my journey as a Melbourne DJ, I had no clue about networking and how it would affect my career.
Being the introvert I was, I felt uncomfortable meeting new people, but if you want to get the gigs, you must go all in.
Here is what I have learnt and hope you gain some benefit from.
Aim for the few not the many
If you don’t consider yourself to be an effective networker and you put if off, or even be more introverted and shy, I recommend meeting and greeting people one on one. It sounds simple, but it is easy to get caught up in groups of three or four people and be stuck with them the whole night. There is nothing wrong with that, but I have found there is more of a tendency to stay with the people you know and not introduce yourself to others as much.
Whether you are at a nightclub, music seminar or bar, it pays to be more independent as a person to meet and great people. Why do some people stay in groups? Because it's uncomfortable to meet new people to build a following of potential contacts or connections, as sometimes, we don’t want to be rejected or misunderstood. So, the takeaway is to have more courage to go out on your own to meet others, as networking alone forces you to meet new people.
Plus ,it is far better to come away with one good connection at the end of the night than have 5 mediocre ones.
You must be authentic
It pays not to brag or sell yourself to people when you meet them for the first time. You need not impress people; people are impressed by how you can engage in conversation by asking questions of interest about them. It involves coming up with valuable questions that will get the conversation interesting. I have found that talking to people and other DJs about their favourite artists, genres, music production talk, but more importantly, speaking to people about their future or the past will engage them in story telling, allowing you to gain more valuable insight into a person's journey and whether you share a similar vision.
When you take an interest in them first, they should take an interest in you. Just be yourself and be honest, as people will always find out whether they can like and trust you.
Become a regular in nightclubs if you want DJ gigs
It’s wise when networking as a DJ never to be the type to be at every nightclub in Melbourne or anywhere else during a few months. Promoters and industry personnel reward loyalty and you will get in the good books if you consistently show up. The point I want to make is for you to be an effective networker, you must be seen in the scene, and people have to become familiar with you and then build relationships after you have first built rapport.
If you target everywhere, you won't make an impact anywhere. It’s like marketing in a way, and DJ/promoters and event organisers will not take you seriously, as you will not have a chance getting booked for a residency in their nightclub. Because to get booked for DJ gigs is hard enough as is.
Trigger people's emotions in a good way
The brutal reality is people are only interested in themselves. If you can engage by making them feel special, important and appreciated, they will always remember you, like you and support you. Support goes hand in hand, especially for DJ’s. You can buy people a drink, pay for their entry into a club to start building rapport, then build a friendship. People only remember the names of others if they have made an emotional impact on them, which is how a human emotional memory works.
You can never forget the name of a person that has ticked you off and has made you have a bad day. The same goes here, but make a positive impact.
Networking is a numbers game
No matter how good you can come across, there will always be challenges connecting with certain people. Like attracts like and you will become friends and connect with certain individuals based on your attitude, the value you provide and how well people like know and trust you. As the saying goes, you are the 5 people you surround yourself with the most.
Finding like-minded people can be challenging; you may be pushed to come up against people that are not your type of people. However, you will find a peer group or small loyal fan base of people that will eventually support you if you play the game. So, the takeaway here is not to take everything so personal as we can have a tendency to. Realise that rejection and disappointment will always be a part of the progress.