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<title>Successful SxSW: the Tao of the Conference </title>
Last week I did a talk at the <a href="">SxSW</a> music conference called “Successful SxSW: The Tao of the Conference.”
It was really just advice for musicians attending the conference, so may not apply to you, but most of what I said is in <a href="">this article</a> and <a href="">this free e-book</a>.
SxSW was nice enough to film it and edit it into this 5-minute overview:
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But the real highlight were all the submitted videos from some brilliant musicians and music-biz people. Each just 30 seconds to 2 minutes, sharing a quick tale and lesson for people at a music conference. I showed 24 of these on the big screen during my talk, but here are the links to ALL of them. Enjoy!
<dl id="homelist">
<dt><a href="">Big Kenny</a></dt>
<dd>Be nice to everyone, make friends. You never know who is going to offer you your first break.</dd>
<dd>Have fun playing music, enjoy other people's music, make friends, be nice to everyone; You never know who's going to offer you your first break. Love everybody!</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Ari Koinuma</a></dt>
<dd>Visually communicate who you are and what do you have to offer. Big name tag, different as everyone else's is great way to do it.</dd>
<dd>Wear a big name tag advertising what you do and inviting people to talk to you. Give people an opportunity/excuse to talk to you.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">SunSpot</a></dt>
<dd>When you are at conference, don't be afraid to go out alone. You will meet more people that way and you will get out of your comfort zone.</dd>
<dd>If you are a band, split up at a conference. Divide and conquer! Go out alone, meet people, go outside your comfort zone, create opportunities.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Maury Rosenberg</a></dt>
<dd>When you finish your gig, go around the room and introduce yourself to people, because you will never know who is watching.</dd>
<dd>Walk around after a gig, introduce yourself to people, you never know who is watching and what opportunities may arise.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">LaFamos PR</a></dt>
<dd>Before and after the panel circle the room 3 times. If you are in a group, split up. Afterwards go around the room one more time, but altogether. Go home and do follow up.</dd>
<dd>Circle a room before or after a panel 3-4 times so you will be familiar to people you introduce yourself to. If you're in a group, split up. Make connections, collect business cards. Circuit room again with your colleagues and introduce them to your new contacts. Recommended reading:Networking Strategies For The New Music Business</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Tim Ferriss</a></dt>
<dd>Skip what do you do stuff, when approaching someone new. Try to have personal connection. Get them to share their personal stories. Care.</dd>
<dd>Go up to panel/organisers and introduce yourself. Ask if there is anyone they recommend you should meet. Be self-deprecating. Skip the 'what do you do' question. Make friends, real connections. Buy people beer!</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jeff Kaye</a></dt>
<dd>Always think of helping others.</dd>
<dd>Think of helping others.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Sven Hansen</a></dt>
<dd>People you will meet are your guests, treat them that way.</dd>
<dd>Treat the people you meet as your guest.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Duane Levi</a></dt>
<dd>Distinguish talkers from genuine people. It saves you time and it separates fake from real.</dd>
<dd>Separate those who like to talk from those who are genuine.</dd>
<dt><a href="">Larry Weintraub</a></dt>
<dd>Learn, take the best of the best, watch what others around you do, that will make you better in what you do.</dd>
<dd>Learn, watch, study, ask.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jody Whitesides</a></dt>
<dd>Be open to suggestions, that is the best way to make relationships and way to improve your material.</dd>
<dd>Be open to suggestions. Be prepared to change.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Cat</a></dt>
<dd>Show up, go to as many panels, sessions, shows as you can. Have fun.</dd>
<dd>Show up! Have fun.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Randall Williams</a></dt>
<dd>Find your niche - the thing that you do, that nobody else does. Do it really well.</dd>
<dd>Find your niche, do it really well then leverage everything you can to help other people with it. They will help you in return.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Richard Danjolell</a></dt>
<dd>Smile for the cameras ;-)</dd>
<dd>Smile for the cameras! You don't know what opportunities might arise from the photos!</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Tom Salta</a></dt>
<dd>Follow up!</dd>
<dd>Follow-up on the contacts you make.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Wendy Parr</a></dt>
<dd>Ask people questions and learn. Follow up.</dd>
<dd>Talk very briefly about yourself. Meet people, ask questions, learn. Follow-up with the key things that people will remember from your introduction.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Greg Rollett</a></dt>
<dd>Be personal, do due diligence and connect.</dd>
<dd>Get personal, do your research, find out about the people on the panels in advance of meeting them.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Craig Crawford</a></dt>
<dd>A personal nice letter as follow up can do miracles.</dd>
<dd>A lot of good things have come out of conferences. Handwritten letters are a good way to follow-up.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jim Bianco</a></dt>
<dd>Say YES to everything, give you opportunity to promote yourself.</dd>
<dd>Make the most of every opportunity to promote yourself. Say yes to everything.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jim Powers</a></dt>
<dd>Don't get down on yourself. Expect troubles, stick with your music and you will do just fine.</dd>
<dd>Bad things happen, roll with it. Even if there is hardly anyone in the audience, you never know who is in that audience.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Panos Panay</a></dt>
<dd>Make the most out of dance. Conference is just a ticket for dancing. Have the courage to make people dance with you.</dd>
<dd>You have to take action to make things happen.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Lou Paniccia</a></dt>
<dd>Document everything, film everything. Get home and make an original video of your experience.</dd>
<dd>Video everything, not just your performance/showcase. Put it to good use when you get back.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Alyse Black</a></dt>
<dd>Think long-term. Think, how you can build mutually beneficial long term relationships.</dd>
<dd>Think: How can we build a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Joe Laviolette</a></dt>
<dd>Give away your music to people who have asked for it.</dd>
<dd>Be selective about who you give your CDs to.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Meg Okura</a></dt>
<dd>Keep promises, be flexible and spontaneous. Over-prepare and go with a flow, be ready for anything.</dd>
<dd>Be professional and well prepared (over-prepare) but be ready for anything (to go wrong) and go with the flow.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">TShaka</a></dt>
<dd>Interact with everybody.</dd>
<dd>Every encounter may lead to an opportunity.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Marina V</a></dt>
<dd>Wearing interesting and original outfits, might get people come up to you.</dd>
<dd>Wear clothes that people might comment on - good icebreakers.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Trevor Roark</a></dt>
<dd>If someone goes wrong during your showcase, perform like nothing has happened.</dd>
<dd>If something goes wrong during your showcase just continue as if nothing happend.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Tina Shafer</a></dt>
<dd>Connect. Listen. Follow up.</dd>
<dd>Connect, listen, follow-up.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Thaddeus Rex</a></dt>
<dd>Ask questions, start dialogues.</dd>
<dd>Ask questions at panels, it introduces you to everybody there.</dd>
<dt><a href="">Suz Doyle</a></dt>
<dd>Handmade personalized chocolate bars with name and brand on it is a great way to connect with people.</dd>
<dd>Create and giveaway unique and remarkable merchandise that people will come to you looking for.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Ron Irizarry</a></dt>
<dd>Personal level connections after showcase works so well.</dd>
<dd>In the exhibit hall after showcase, be personable, get to know people. Opportunities will follow.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Greg Spero</a></dt>
<dd>Give, give, give. Be generous.</dd>
<dd>Give, give and give some more.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Robin Bennet</a></dt>
<dd>Play at as many places as you can. Be grateful for that.</dd>
<dd>Play as many times as you can, you never know who is watching you.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Robert Van Horne</a></dt>
<dd>Always be prepared to have with you something what represents you and only give it to people who request it. Always thank those people who have inspired you.</dd>
<dd>Only give your CD to the people that ask for it. Thank people that have inspired you.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jessica Paige</a></dt>
<dd>If you really admire someone, let them know.</dd>
<dd>If you admire someone, let them know.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">J Sider</a></dt>
<dd>People around know a lot. Ask and get advices from them.</dd>
<dd>Ask and discuss when given the opportunity for advice. Speak to lots of people.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jennifer Vazquez</a></dt>
<dd>It is all about follow up.</dd>
<dd>Pay for quality one-on-one meetings with experts, Google them in advance. Follow-up.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Paul Cullen</a></dt>
<dd>Spend all the money you have on finding your niche.</dd>
<dd>Find your own niche, set yourself apart from everyone else. Cross promote with product.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Nikc Miller</a></dt>
<dd>Document on video people who you will meet. Post it on Facebook with tagging those people in it. This gets you new friends and fans.</dd>
<dd>Video people you meet, get their full names, friend them up on Facebook (follow-up) and tag them in the video.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Mikhail Tank</a></dt>
<dd>Communicate with everybody around you. Be open.</dd>
<dd>Communicate with everyone around you. Be open. Connections happen. What you need will come to you.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jenn Ashton</a></dt>
<dd>Offer help, give your hand. You never know what will come out of that and if it doesn't at least it feels good.</dd>
<dd>Offer to help. You never know what could happen.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Ranj Singh</a></dt>
<dd>Do not hesitate to talk to people. Just do it.</dd>
<dd>Do not hesitate to speak to other people.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Mike Lawson</a></dt>
<dd>Finding a new product which needs a little work to get ready, can change your life.</dd>
<dd>You never know who you are going to meet, what opportunities may arise that could change your life.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Mick Flores</a></dt>
<dd>Have a CD on you all the time.</dd>
<dd>Have your CD on you at all times. You never know who you might run in to.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Tori Sparks</a></dt>
<dd>How being a passenger on cruise and your connecting with others, can get you unofficial special concert.</dd>
<dd>Create your own opportunities.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Michael Puskas</a></dt>
<dd>Present yourself well, groom yourself well and keep in mind that every single person is perspective lead or potential client.</dd>
<dd>Present yourself well. Everyone is a potential client. Think the long-game.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Mario Sevayega</a></dt>
<dd>The best connections are the other bands, other artist who are sitting next to you in the rock club.</dd>
<dd>The best connections you are going to make are the other bands you meet.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Lenedra Carroll</a></dt>
<dd>Ask. Ask to be listened to. Finding an empty room is enough to be heard.</dd>
<dd>Approach a panel member after a panel and ask to perform for them right there.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">El</a></dt>
<dd>Handmade business cards with name, picture and website on it.</dd>
<dd>Make personalised business cards with your photo, name and website only. Give them to everyone.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Beth Isbell</a></dt>
<dd>Find out where the lawyers are, talk to them, make your career happen.</dd>
<dd>Find the Lawyers, they're the ones that make things happen.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Julie Shephard</a></dt>
<dd>Speak up in front of crowd and ask questions.</dd>
<dd>Don't be afraid to stand up in front of a crowd and ask questions.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jon Goldmann</a></dt>
<dd>Always be nice and helpful, you will never know who you might be sitting next to.</dd>
<dd>Be nice and helpful, you never know who you might be sitting next to.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Cort Delano</a></dt>
<dd>Singing on the yoga class, can get you on the radio.</dd>
<dd>Think 'outside the box'.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Charles Alexander</a></dt>
<dd>Find out what people are looking for first. Then instantly customize and give away USB drive with music they are looking for, it is a cool pitch.</dd>
<dd>Personalise your pitch. Research who is going to be at the conference that you want to speak to.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Bill Pere</a></dt>
<dd>Successful attendees are those who are coming to learn and network. Performers are missing out this essential part of learning and connecting.</dd>
<dd>Go to learn and network not just perform. This business is driven by relationships.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">John Batdorf</a></dt>
<dd>Go to conference to learn. Then apply what you have learned to improve your own show.</dd>
<dd>Go to biggest shows to inspire you and learn then apply what you learn.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jody Friedman</a></dt>
<dd>Find a way to be different. Jody stood out by including piece of chocolate with his CD.</dd>
<dd>Be different, stand-out.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Jim Vilandre</a></dt>
<dd>Always be open to possibilities, sharpen your people skills. Be real and make real friends.</dd>
<dd>Sharpen your people skills. Develop your craft. Life is not about you, its about caring for others. Make real friends. Be open to possibilities.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Giuliano Baglioni</a></dt>
<dd>Laid back approach and talking about other things that work, can actually lead to work</dd>
<dd>Take the laid back approach. Talk about things other than work. You never know when you will bump in to people again.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">John Mazzei</a></dt>
<dd>Go out and get your dream assignment by: targeted networking, a killer demo and being ready for success.</dd>
<dd>Targeted networking, a killer demo. Be ready for success when it comes. You can do it!</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">David Sherbow</a></dt>
<dd>Treat everyone with respect.</dd>
<dd>Treat everyone with respect, even Drunk Mike.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Elana James</a></dt>
<dd>You never know who is in the audience.</dd>
<dd>You never know who is going to be there, even if they don't talk to you on the night of you show.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Andrea Nardello</a></dt>
<dd>Be social, have fun and things will happen.</dd>
<dd>Be social, good things will happen.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<dt><a href="">Adriel Luis</a></dt>
<dd>Giving away USB drive instead of CD is: compact, innovative and indispensable.</dd>
<dd>Give people something compact, innovative and indispensable so they will press play.</dd>
<dd><a href=""></a></dd>
<hr />
Huge thanks to <a href="">Ivana Sendecka</a>, <a href="">Dan Morelle</a>, and Beth Isbell for the one-sentence summaries! Thanks again for your contributions, everyone!