How to Network in Life: !llmind Shares the Key to Making Successful Connections

Confidence. Confidence. Confidence.
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Confidence. Confidence. Confidence.

My name is !llmind. I'm a music producer. I f*ck with everything and anything that has to do with music production. Over the span of 14 years, I've produced records for everyone from Kanye West, Drake and J. Cole to Lil Uzi Vert, Future & Lin-Manuel Miranda (the genius behind Broadway's Hamilton musical) and everything in between (movies, commercials, you name it). In 2011, I decided to release a "drum-kit" at a time when no one was releasing "drum-kits" and it turned into a six-figure per year business and ushered in a multi-million dollar industry. Along the way, I also managed to snag four GRAMMY nominations and more than 10 RIAA certifications.

Enough bragging. The real reason I'm here is that I'm passionate about sharing my experiences as a music producer. Things that worked, things that I f*cked up and what I learned from it all. No guidance and no mentor. I know what it's like to want to create music but not know how to start, where to go or how to turn it into a living.

I don't have ALL the answers, but what I can promise is that I will always touch on topics that I have personally experienced. At the end of the day, I hope to empower you to be your best self, regardless of what industry you're trying to pursue. For more inspiration, subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel and my PODCAST "BlapChat."

I don't know what it is about "networking" that I find so fascinating. Maybe it's the excitement of meeting new people. Or the unpredictability of how great or terrible an interaction might go. Either way, it’s always interesting.

I'm sure you've heard the popular saying "your net worth is based on your network." That saying is actually super-duper true, especially in the entrepreneur do-it-yourself world (and abundantly true in the music industry). The base model for this structure is the idea that the more people you know, the more successful you will become.

So we must ask ourselves: How do we meet people and what are some of the things we can do to nurture long-lasting relationships? Let's take a closer look.

I've met a lot of people. Actually, let me rephrase that. I've met a SH*T TON of people. Too many to count, too many to recall. Tens—if not, hundreds—of thousands of conversations and interactions, each unique in their own right. Some of those conversations turned into call-backs. Others were one-and-done. Some of these people I've never seen or heard from ever again. A small handful of them turned into long-lasting friendships. The possibilities and outcomes are endless when it comes to interacting with other human beings.

If most of your networking falls into the one-and-done category, however, the first and best place to look is within. Really be honest with yourself and think about the last, say, three conversations you've had with strangers. Were they great? Were they long conversations? Short conversations? Did they feel awkward? Did you feel empowered after those interactions? Why do you think those conversations went well, or not so well?

The key to initiating meaningful interaction is confidence.

Let me rephrase that: Confidence is F*CK!NG KEY! (I promise that was my last rephrase.)

You're either confident or not confident. Or, you're sort of, occasionally, sometimes confident. Whichever level of confidence you are at this current moment, just know that the more confident you are in yourself, the greater your chances of winning people over during a conversation.

To be clear, I’m not talking about being “cocky.” There’s a difference. People love confident energy. It's inspiring. It feels good to be around. It exhumes positivity. It's contagious. Believe it or not, you can boost someone else's confidence by expressing confident energy in yourself.

When you’re engaged in conversation, stand tall. Express your words with diction. Believe everything you say and hold those words dear to you. Enjoy talking about whatever it is you're talking about. Don't look down. Make eye contact. BE interested. If you're not interested, TRY to look interested. Ask questions. Let the other person speak, and don't interrupt them. REALLY listen to them, genuinely. Don't converse with the purpose of replying. You shouldn't be thinking of what to say next while the other person is speaking. It's rude. It's selfish. Be selfless during conversation and confident in your words. The other person is bound to appreciate that energy. And most importantly, try to enjoy the conversation you are having. Enthusiasm is an amazing state of mind to be in to ensure healthy conversation.

Unfortunately, the same is true for the opposite. Self-doubt is just as contagious. Anger and hostility will force the other person to act angry and hostile towards you. Nervousness will make the other person nervous too, which doesn't feel good. If the other person doesn't feel good, the conversation is bound to be a disaster. Desperation is also a no-no. Don't seem too desperate. That type of energy will turn the other person all the way off. If you're not looking into the other person's eyes, you're not really present. If you're not present, why should the other person care about what you are saying to him or her?

It’s important to understand that YOU—yes, you—have the power to control the actions and attitudes of others by your own actions and attitudes. If you lack confidence, cultivate a habit of "acting" confidently. Practice doing it. Hold your head and shoulders up. Look the other person in the eyes while they speak. Listen with intent. Walk with a confident step. Fake it 'til you make it. In other words, act with confidence until you ACTUALLY START TO FEEL CONFIDENT. Use positive words during conversation. Don't talk negatively about people. And avoid bringing up negative subjects. Take the initiative to set the tone of the conversation. If you start off formal, the tone for the rest of the conversation will be formal. If you start off friendly, the tone for the rest of the conversation will be friendly.

It doesn't matter who it is, either. Most of the time, it's not about your talent or your art, or your knowledge, or how good looking you are (well, that does help, I must say so myself). These things are a PLUS, but they all follow confidence. Oh and guess what? If you're really good at what you do—and you know you are—you're likely to be more confident.


Act confident, and the other person will have confidence in you.

Trying to win a prospective client or connect over? Act confident.

Playing your music for an executive or an A&R? Act confident.

Confidence works.

Every time.

It never fails.