Last week, I discussed how songwriters can maximize a mentoring session before they step into the session. You can read that post HERE. Today, let’s talk about how to maximize your mentoring while IN the room. And away we go…
Be on time or early.
In a world where writers and creative types are habitually late, it’s refreshing to have someone show up on time or (gasp) a few minutes early. Seriously, this is a simple way to show respect for your mentor and his or her time. It matters. Be professional.
Dress like you care.
Seriously. Wear your pajamas or whatever if it’s a phone session. But if you’re meeting in person, you want to appear professional. No, you don’t have to wear kakis or a suit, but you want to be presentable. No, it doesn’t make your song sound better. However, if you hope to build a relationship with this mentor and hopefully get some cowrites or business referrals, you want to make the mentor feel like you know what you’re doing and won’t embarrass him later. No, you don’t have to be handsome or beautiful, just don’t let your outfit be a negative.
Seek to get better, not to be discovered.
Maybe your songs are impressive. Maybe they’re not. But a humble, teachable attitude is always impressive. You want your mentor to be a fan of YOU, not just your songs. If I get the sense that a songwriter is not there to learn but just wants to be told how great they are, I’m just going to try and get through the session with as little headache as possible. Because if you not willing to learn, I’m not going to waste my time trying to force you to learn.
Or record the session (just ask before recording). First of all, if you have a memory like mine, you won’t remember everything you want to. Secondly, if you look like you’re taking it seriously and are fired up about learning, it encourages your mentor to give even better info. Also, a mentor might be a little less likely to pass along a potential contact’s name and email if you look like you don’t have a pen within five miles.
It’s okay to ask clarifying questions and “explore” a topic more. But it should be to learn, not to win. Again, if I think you’re disinterested in learning, I’m disinterested in teaching. If you’re mentor is wrong on a point, it’s your job to go out and PROVE them wrong. If you irritate them with your attitude, you can lose the relationship.
Remember, you’re probably not the only talented writer that mentor is trying to help. Make it easy on the mentor to help you.
What did I miss? Anything you’d like to add or ask? Leave a comment!
Big congratulations to my cowriting buddy, Gord Bamford, who won FIVE awards in Sunday night’s Canadian Country Music Awards. Gord also debuted his new single, “When Your Lips Are So Close” which I was blessed to have a hand in writing (read about how we got the song cut HERE). Also, congrats to Brett Kissel for making his CCMA debut! Good work, fellas!