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Songwriting Guides > Staying on track > Confidence tricks
Songwriting Guides
Staying on track
Confidence tricks

In any situation, there are times when confidence can let you down. As a songwriter, one of the things you'll be doing constantly is meeting people and networking. If you have been used to sitting in your bedroom or home studio composing and writing for an audience of one, then it can be daunting when you decide you want to go out there and get your songs to a wider audience. If you have decided to perform your songs, then this will definitely help with confidence. But performing or not, you will be constantly networking and meeting people in the music business, and a confident approach will help with this.

It's really to do with creating a rapport with the other person.

But how do you get that confidence? It's really a bag of tricks. Confident people tend to have similar traits. They present themselves well through body language, voice and dress. This is not about being good-looking, it's really to do with creating a rapport with the other person in a way that also brings out the real you. When this happens, you get a good response from the other person which gives your confidence a boost, so that next time it gets easier. Over time your confidence builds and builds until it is all second nature.

Sue VerranSue Verran, songwriter
It may be helpful to adopt an alter ego to sell your music. "You have to use another part of your personality to push yourself out there."
Listen to Sue Audio help
Brett KahrBrett Kahr, songwriter & psychotherapist
If networking fills you with dread, call it something else. "I would prefer to think of it as socialising," says Brett.
Listen to Brett Audio help
Here are some confidence tricks for that all-important meeting:

  1. You can build rapport or a connection with anyone by matching their body language. You can do this without speaking to someone, or try it while you're in a conversation. Be careful with this technique - it can make people fall in love with you! It works because a part of our brain recognises this matching and interprets it as a friendly rapport. Practise body matching with everyone you meet for a week and see how this works for you.
  2. Watch eye movements when you ask someone a question. It is usual that if someone loses focus or looks up, they are experiencing memory or imagination. If they look down and to the right, they are experiencing a feeling. If their eyes move to the right or left, they are often talking to themselves, or listening very carefully. It's useful to pick up eye clues because it can help you know where another person is going in their thinking.
  3. Look presentable. Get a haircut, make sure you are clean, tidy and smart. You may be a singer-songwriter, but that doesn't mean grunge. You can still wear casual clothes such as jeans - no one expects suits - but make sure they are clean. And, yes, shirts look better ironed!
  4. Prepare your questions and do some research. Find out a bit about the person you are meeting and have something to ask them. It may be about music but it can also be something else, such as playing football or going to the theatre. People love talking about themselves, and if you know there is something they are really into, then that makes two things they will love to talk about. Giving people a chance to talk enthusiastically makes them feel comfortable and relaxed. If you show you are interested in them, it will help build a connection.
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Liz, Gloucestershire
I go red when I stand up and talk to people. My trick is to stay calm and wear a lot of foundation to cover up red cheeks. My cheeks are red anyway so it helps a lot! Also, I stand relaxed with my weight on one foot and the other knee bent. This gives the impression that you are not stressed. Retain eye contact if possible. This makes you appear more confident.

Simon Elvin, Plymouth
Positive language can have a huge impact when we talk to others, especially when we're forming early impressions. We often tend to talk in negative terms: "I'm really bored writing this type of song" where we could express the same thing in a positive way: "I'd really like to try writing something in a different style". Say what you DO want, rather than what you don't. That way, you're more likely to get what you want and be perceived as a positive, up-beat person. This is attractive to others and builds good releationships.

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