The art of listening is practically a lost art. Far too often, when I am speaking with someone about their music or career I can see them formulating their response before I even finish what I’m saying. This makes one thing very clear; you’re not looking for advice you’re looking for validation. That’s not what we do, it’s not our job that’s where the fans come in. Our job is to guide and help artists get into the best possible situation to be creative.
No one is totally immune to this. I sometimes find myself beginning to formulate a response and catch myself. There is nothing wrong with taking a beat after someone finishes speaking, or accepting the information and taking some time to take it in. It’s not always about right or wrong but far more often about taking the time to understand why this person is saying this to YOU.
When it comes to creative endeavors and start-ups I often find the same thing, defensiveness and overselling. You start with your product and you build a team by aligning several key players. Everyone isn’t always on the same page but in my experience, once the actual product is defined you make decisions by consensus. You trust your team, that’s why you have them, right?
This is the same when you’re reaching out to business contacts. Have a clear message or request. Accept that cold emails are just like cold calls, there is no guarantee that you’ll get a response so don’t spam, be patient. If you do get a response, listen. If you’re offered directions to proceed, follow them. If you are offered feedback or advice, accept it, don’t respond with your argument to change their mind, that will never work.
The people that I work with that do music for a living all share a couple similarities. One of them is their commitment to excellence and dedication to professionalism (in their own way). To that end, they take direction and feedback, that’s how they are able to produce or create for such a broad audience. The ability to accept and process information regarding creative can be more challenging than most topics. But, your ability to become, and stay, a professional is dependent on your ability to embrace this.