It’s hard to believe that I am almost through this crash course. And… the work is not so daunting when taken one step at a time. Who wudda thunk that I would have a plan, a pitch, a site, a tweet, a blog, a newsletter and a list, all within about a six week period? No wonder I’m out of breath!! So who wudda thunk it, indeed? Definitely not me. Definitely my friends and support system. Yes, they have indeed thunk it mightily and have been cheering me on the whole way.
It’s funny. The spell checker in WordPress has a problem with the word “wudda” but not the word “thunk”. (Is “thunk” a real word?) For that matter, the spell checker also has a problem with the word “WordPress”. What does it know, anyhoo?
But I digress. No, that’s so unlike me. But enough about me. (Well, this whole thing really is about me.) But actually, this week is not totally about me; it’s about others too. Wait, I’m confused. No, not really.
You may (or may not) be wondering about the root cause of all this silly identity confusion. Well, since you asked (or not), this past week’s assignment was all about Real Live Networking! One of the principles therein is that in order to make myself (the me part) memorable to other people (the un-me part), I need to keep my trap shut, listen, and make it all about them. By genuinely being interested in them, I become memorable. Genuine: that’s the word. People can smell a phony a mile away. (Especially if they don’t shower, then it’s two miles.)
Out of the blue, because of a Facebook event invite from someone I barely know, I became aware of a “Wine Walk” taking place in a nearby town. This is an event where local wineries set up tables and you get to sample their wines. The town I live in, Woodinville, has mushroomed the last few years into the wine capital of Washington State right under our noses (no pun intended). Lately, in my man cave, I had been wondering about what it would take to get to know some of these winery people and perhaps scrounge up some gigs. After all, they must have wine parties, don’t they?
So, here was a wonderful and very timely opportunity to practice networking skills and connect with a potential market I was musing about already. So this is how I did it: I did keep my trap shut while listening to these winery people, which I learned (because I kept my trap shut) are called winemakers. I asked them where their winery was located (pretty much all of them said “Woodinville”). I asked them how long they had been there. I asked them what got them into winemaking. The more I learned, the more intelligent questions I asked the other winemakers.
I learned all sorts of things and I had a blast! (Of course, all the 1-ounce shots of wine helped.) I found out that the wineries in Woodinville (there are about 80 of them) have a wine walk in the “warehouse district” every third Thursday of the month. They also have “release parties” where they roll out their latest wine. They also have something called the “crush” in the Fall where people can volunteer to help with the bottling which is accompanied by all sorts of parties. There is also a big block party called “St. Nick’s” in December.
Upon listening and learning and getting their business cards, I would then ask them if they ever had live music at any of these events. Some of them responded by asking me if I was a musician, and of course I told them I was. And then they wanted my card. One even asked how much room I would need if I were to play at an event. Can you believe it??
I came away from this experience very encouraged! Here is a fertile market for gigs and it’s only three miles away! I have collected a stack of business cards. I will follow up with email and direct visits on Saturdays. I also plan to make it to the next wine walk and network some more and volunteer for a crush or two and just ingratiate myself with this community. I am also probably going to have to learn a little more about wine too so I can say something more intelligent than “wow, this is good”. Perhaps something more sophisticated like “this has a nice oakey texture with delicate hints of jasmine and cardamon”. Wudda ya think?