Keep track on building and maintaining relationships within your Network
By Irma de Jong
In your daily interactivity with people, whether it’s in a personal relationship, like when you chat with a stranger in line at the airport, or when you go out for dinner with friends, or you talk on the phone to your family or sharing something on social media, you constantly communicate within your network and it is all about building and maintaining relationships.
A Network is a system for communication, whether we talk about a computer network, a social network, a business network, or your personal network. It’s a connection between objects or people to make the impact of the single object, or person, bigger, more impressive, and effective, and it’s for sharing information, connecting and improving.
A wide Ocean with endless possibilities
Your network is like a wide ocean that only becomes useful if you know how to surf or swim. There is a big difference, for example, to call a friend and just have a chat like, "Hey what have you had for dinner, how’s your mum, anything exciting coming up", or "Hey, are you free next week Saturday? I have a gig and they need another trumpeter and you know what, they pay quite well!" The first conversation is to keep up your relationship with a friend, the second is more business oriented because next time your friend might think of you when he has a gig. And it goes even further. While you bring another musician to the orchestra, your help could be appreciated and next time they will ask you first, cause they know you have a good network and you can help them find other people. So with one single action, you created a triangle reaction.
How to make your network effective
Be interested in, before being interesting. That means that you first connect to someone and start building your image of this person, by asking questions, showing interest and commitment. Based on this a certain trust will be build up and only because of trust, or respect, a relation can grow.
Put awareness and intention in your communication.
- Awareness about what to whom you communicate, why and for what purpose
- Intention because of a certain result or reaction you would like to achieve.
Talking about intentions, it doesn’t mean that from now on you only focus on “what do I get from this relationship”. But you should be aware that if you communicate more with awareness and intention, and you are in the sharing mode, everything will unfold naturally. Sometimes it has results right away, other times it could come back to you after a certain time passes.
Be interested in before being interesting
Have a conversation. That means that you first connect to someone and start building your image of this person, by asking questions, showing interest and commitment. If you communicate with awareness and intention, you’ll get to know people, so you give them the chance to like you or respect you, and very soon a certain trust will be developed. This trust is the base for the continuation of your interactive relationship.
Don't mix up trust with liking!
It does not mean that you can only communicate with people that you like and vice versa. It could be a true challenge as well, to build relationships with people that are not so easy to connect to. So instead of liking, respect could be built. I once met a violin Professor who had a very open and spiritual approach to her students and any musician or person she would meet. She told me: “every person is a new opportunity, to learn, discover and welcome new or known facts in my life. I am grateful for every encounter”
When should I start Networking?
Be active from the moment you start your studies. It is proven that between 18 and 32 you actually develop the strongest relationships that last the longest in your life. A potential connection can be anywhere. It could be someone that studies economy, or law, who in ten years from now, could be one of the sponsors of your festival, or it could be a fellow student from a dance academy, who will ask you in five years to arrange the ensemble for his performance. It can even be the owner of the restaurant, who wants to engage you in future for a special evening. In other words: don’t stick to the musician world only. Be open, and change your brain to be aware that everybody you meet could become an important connection!
Networks make the impact of the single object, or person, bigger, more impressive, and effective.
We constantly communicate within networks and it is all about building and maintaining relationships.
There are personal relationships and business relationships and sometimes we have crossovers.
Act from the AWARENESS and INTENTION mode.
The Network always wins
A great book to read more about this topic is "The Network always wins" by Peter Hinssen. He explains how and why companies today have no choice but to become a network when the outside world has evolved into one.
Watch here his keynote speech at NEXT Berlin, starting from 8'56.
Irma de Jong is an Artists and Project Manager, and the owner of agency Cicerone Music & Art. She works in the classical music field for more than 25 years and has collaborated with many renowned artists and orchestras. Irma created an online self-management course for musicians, to empower and encourage artists to be in charge of their own career. Networking, how to do it and what to take care of, is one of the lessons of the course.