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Written by Omari
Undoubtedly, we are submerged in the digital era. Meaning, our whole life has become linked to the digital resources that the internet and our smart devices provide us with. It seems unimaginable to most of us, but things like social networking, job searching, promotion of our business, buying and selling products, purchasing tickets, making ourselves known as artists, and really most everything else was at one point all previously done in person or through traditional sources like mail, phone calls, or fax.
Luckily now, almost anything you can think of that was previously done in person can now be done much easier and more effectively through a simple mobile device or computer equipped with artificial intelligence.
However, there is one thing that remains certain — in person interaction and communication is the richest of all forms of communicating. This is because it allows both the sender and receiver to pick up on certain cues like facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and other signals that can’t be detected over a computer or phone screen.
No doubt about it, communication has become much easier and accessible due to the internet and social media, but it’s important that we as humans do not get too complacent with only this one type of conversing. Especially in the music industry, networking and building relationships is a huge part of gaining success... and often success can be found where you least expect it to happen.
As a musician, you’ve probably done a fair share of networking online and promoting yourself through social media, but have you ever stopped to think about what you would say to someone if they approached you in person about advancing your career? You never know who you may run into that could change your life from that point forward. These scenarios happen all the time, and if you are lucky enough to come across a mover and shaker in the music business like a label executive, A&R, CEO, or a big name artist — you want to make sure you are prepared for what you are going to say to them.
Freezing up in front of someone important is never fun…and when that person has potential to benefit you and your career tremendously, it could be a huge blow for your big break. Especially if you live in big music cities such as Nashville, Atlanta, L.A., or New York, the chances of you eventually running into someone famous or high on the music totem pole is very likely.
I use that quote because luck isn’t necessarily just given or made. When you are approached with an opportunity (and in this case meeting someone influential), you must be prepared for that opportunity in order to become lucky with the outcome.
Sorry to get all philosophical on you — but what I'm trying to say is that as a musician, you need to be fully prepared to sell yourself at any given moment on who you are as an artist, what makes your music unique, what your achievements are, and what you are working to achieve next.
When and if this situation does arise, it could happen anywhere. You never know who you’ll run into at the grocery store, a restaurant, an event or party, or even on an elevator. Which is why you should have your spill on command ready to give at any moment — and in the business world, this is what we call an elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a useful self promotion tool used when meeting new industry contacts face to face at networking events, public places, conventions, or anywhere in between. It’s called an elevator pitch because it's intended to grab a person’s attention in a short amount of time, as if you were on the elevator ride with someone and had less than a minute to get and hold their attention.
These quick speeches are used to introduce yourself to a person and sometimes depending on the timing and person you are speaking with they can be used to sell yourself, your product, or in this case your music. The entirety of it should contain the most important, relevant, and interesting information that you can possibly share about yourself in the matter of 30 seconds or less.
Essentially, it’s a quick spill of you being your own hype man but in a professional and well thought-out manner. It’s important to take into consideration that your elevator pitch is intended to build a genuine connection with the person listening. You don’t want to approach the person as if you are only trying to get something out of them like a job or gig.
You want to adapt your speech around the listener and after you are done it should make them want to ask questions, get to know you further, and hopefully follow up with you later down the road. The music business is still very much a people business and the art of networking can be extremely vital to your success in the industry. This is why elevator pitches are so important.
So, if you are wondering how you can craft a successful and effective elevator pitch, we have some tips and pointers to help you out. It can be intimidating meeting new and important people but after you read this article, you’ll know exactly what to do or say when the time comes.
If you really want to convince someone that your music is good and that you have something special to offer to the world, you must be able to talk about it without fear, in a natural and clear way so that everyone who listens to you has no doubts about whether what you are saying is real or not.
When asked the question "what do you do? " or "what music does your band make? ", you must be fully prepared to give a brief but complete answer with a confident voice that will convince the that person into wanting to hear your music after the conversation.
Remember that if that speech works well, that person will go directly to your social networks to check that what you have told them is real and matches, so it is very important that you prepare it perfectly and speak with 100% confidence.
An elevator speech is named so precisely because it has to be delivered in the time it takes for an elevator ride, which normally lasts around under 30 seconds. It should be presented quickly but pleasantly and in a relaxed tone that conveys exactly who you are as a brand or artist.
If you’ve ever sent in a resume or job application, you should know that a typical submission should be condensed to a one page letter, only containing your most important aspects and career accomplishments. Think of your elevator speech as a verbal resume and formulate it in a way that only highlights your biggest achievements that you are most proud of.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to cater your speech to the person you are speaking to. Consider complimenting the person you're approaching or asking them a question about themselves. If you're at a convention or speaking event, you might congratulate a speaker on his or her inspiring keynote presentation. Just don’t overdo it — you don’t want to sound like an over-excited fan.
Also, if you already know some facts or history about the person you are delivering your elevator speech to, you could always bring up something about them in order to convey a deeper conversation or show that you have done your research about them. Everyone loves to receive compliments about themselves, so don’t make your elevator pitch strictly about you.
Nowadays, the hard truth is that if you don’t have an internet presence, you essentially don’t have any presence at all. This truth is frightening and denied by many artists, but whether you agree with it or not, an artist’s internet popularity is almost more important than the quality of the music they produce.
Anyone who neglects their online presence will ultimately be harming themselves as an artist and will cause their career to stagnate hopelessly. Why we mention this as advice for your elevator pitch is because it can be extremely beneficial in the midst of conversation to bring up your online notoriety. If you have thousands of followers, it obviously shows that you are doing something right with your branding.
When and if you get the opportunity to talk to an industry figure and present your elevator pitch to them, you want to make sure that you say something that will make you stand out from everyone else. Everyday industry professionals are approached by multiple hungry artists who are trying to get their next big break just like you.
Prior to your conversation, think about exactly what you can say about yourself or your music that will really stick with the person listening. This may take some time to come up with because you want to ensure when your big opportunity comes, you are able to deliver your message and sell yourself to the best of your ability.
Sit down and think about what your most impressive qualities are and what the most unique characteristics about yourself or your music are that you would want to share with someone else — focus on this when you are giving your elevator pitch.
The entire point of an elevator pitch is to make a new connection and to keep that connection alive, so you want to make sure you follow up with whoever you are speaking with after the conversation is over.
Give the person you are speaking to a business card of yours and kindly ask for one in return. Stay in touch with your new connection and don't be afraid to ask for an additional meeting or to grab coffee or lunch with them sometime.
The follow up after the initial meeting is arguably the most important part of your entire elevator pitch. Whether you stay in touch through LinkedIn or score an actual meeting afterwards, any sort of contact you can keep alive is crucial to your career.
A great elevator pitch can mean the difference between getting that manager endorsement, record deal, big placement or getting nowhere. So it's important to take this all very seriously! Use these tips we provided to craft your winning elevator pitch and when you do, practice in the mirror multiple times in order to truly perfect it.
It is also helpful to practice in front of friends or have someone record you so you can go back and watch yourself and correct things you noticed. Remember, this is all about meeting your goals so don't hold back and aim high. We hope these tips help you and we wish you the best of luck when giving your perfect elevator pitch!
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