7 Pro Tips for Networking at #CRS2018

As CRS 2018 approaches, there are several tips and tricks to know to get the most out of your time in Nashville. From rookies to old pros, everyone can benefit from a new perspective on networking.

Just remember, it can be intimidating to make the first move, but everyone is human just like you. Everyone is valuable, no matter their title or market size. So be nice and get ready to be social.

Below is some valuable input from industry pros who have made networking at CRS part of their job and their career has benefited from it.

Use these tips to maximize networking experiences before, during and after CRS 2018. The following information was provided to us by Country Radio Broadcasters.

1. Organize the panels and events you’d like to attend to make certain there are no overlaps.

Mark each one on the official CRS 2018 app to automatically build your personal goals.

“Attending panels is a wonderful place to start! I take notes and reach out to the panelists I learn from and then I thank them via LinkedIn, forming a connection. Also, chit-chatting with folks in the audience who have a similar interest before or after. Next, I enjoy the ‘one degree of separation’ – I meet lots of new people as people walk past a group I’m standing in, or vice-versa, and stop to say hi to the other person I’m with.” 

~ Kim Johnson, Spotify Ventures

“It’s good to plan out the panels and social events based on which people you want to be around. The mentoring breakfasts are GREAT places to meet people, because in my experience, it has been a ‘speed-dating’ style, which means you get to meet potentially 20 great people inn just a short hour or so. Power networking.” 

~Briana Galluccio, MCA Nashville Coord./Promotion

“I get excited about next year’s CRS while I’m still at THIS year’s CRS! I start emailing and texting newfound friends to plan out meetings, lunches, or coffee with folks I met last year but didn’t get to spend enough time with. As soon as the different breakouts and panels are posted, I start planning my CRS week and trying to network.” 

~Shannon Potts-Franco “Sunny Leigh,” Scripps Country KVOO/Tulsa, OK Morning Host

2. Make a schedule of the events you plan to attend, and don’t forget to RSVP to label parties.

Create a spreadsheet or phone note with date, time, and location for each event so that you aren’t searching your email for each individual invitation.

“CRS provides an environment that allows you to network, meet and visit with individuals with the same professional interests and challenges. Because the show is broken up over multiple days and events, you generally have the opportunity to meet, or at least briefly see, individuals multiple times, which is better than the one-time meeting. The more you can put your name and face in front of other, the more likely they are to remember you and start building that long-term relationship.” 

~ Jerry Butler, Music Master

“Don’t miss events. Regardless of how tired you are, make sure you attend panels, and even the after-hours events.” 

~Ashley Main, Bicoastal Media Country KRWQ/Medford, OR PD?Morning Host

“Sleep is for the dead. Take in as much as you possibly can, from seminars and lunches in the day to events in the afternoon and shows at night! You will never have this many radio professionals in one chance – socialize, invite them to meetings and pick their brains! That’s what it’s all for!” 

~ Raffaella Braun, Warner Music Nashville Mgr./Regional Radio & Streaming Promotion

“After Hours/Early Hours/All Social Events. More likely than not, this is where you’ll do your networking – both at CRS and in general for this industry. At CRS, specifically, being at the Breakfast Mentoring Sessions, label cocktail hours, after-hour suite events, showcases, etc … this is where the networking is at.” 

~ Briana Galluccio, MCA Nashville Coord./Promotion

3. Review CRS 2018 APP for any panel updates.

Jot down questions you have about each topic so that if those are not addressed during the panel, you can remember to ask them in a follow-up.

“Being fairly new to radio, and Country radio, attending CRS has helped me understand research and how it’s used. It has helped me with marketing. It has also helped me strengthen the relationships between artists, labels, and other radio pros.” 

~ Krisha Newport, Cumulus Country WIVK/Knoxville, TN On-Air Personality

“I always look for the mentoring sessions and seek out a few PDs and MDs who I know I want to meet and speak with at each one.” 

~ Danny Dwyer,  Alpha Country KUPL/Portland OR, MD/Midday Host

“Ask questions. We’re there to learn and to discover, so ask the questions to accomplish that goal.” 

~ Alana Lynn, Entercom Country KMLE/Phoenix, AZ MD/Afternoon Host

4. Reach out to attendees to firm up plans to meet. Exchange cell phone number so you can easily connect and locate each other at the Omni or around town.

“Seek out who you want to talk with. Get numbers, texts, and most importantly, pick up the phone and call. Yes, we are all busy, but everybody needs a 5-10 min break from the craziness, and that’s all it takes to say hello.” 

~Danny Dwyer, Alpha Country KUPL/Portland, OR MD/Midday Host

“I just find out which of my clients will be there and try to connect/see as many of them as I can while I’m in town.” 

~Annie Brooks, Trip Tigers Records Dir./West Coast Promotion

“Don’t necessarily zero in on who you think is ‘important’ and miss out on other great connections. You never know who is connected to whom, and you never know who may be rude too. I’m not saying that you’ll be rude to people, but you may miss out on a great connection if you’re too bust focusing on one person and one person only. Be open-minded and welcome all new friends and connections. The more people in your network, the better for you!” 

~ Briana Galluccio,  MCA Nashville Coord./Promotion

“I reached out to former winners of the Rusty Walker Scholarship to find out the ins and outs, dos and don’ts, and learned about where I should be and when. More important information was – don’t miss anything.” 

~ Ashley Main, Bicoastal Media Country KRWQ/Medford, OR PD/Morning Host

5. Practice your elevator speech. The elevators, hallways, and lobby at the Omni are just as busy as the bar, so make every moment count.

Make sure you can quickly and concisely state who you are and what you do.

“I shoot for a quick meet and greet, and not a long meeting. People are busy and always looking to the next event. I want to get in, make an introduction, find out important information on them, and keep it very low key. I generally request a meeting over coffee, drinks, breakfast or lunch. The majority of meetings may be 15-30 minutes, or even shorter.” 

~ Jerry Butler, Music Master

“I just walk up to them and introduce myself. No different that I would at remote or concert. Also, I usually try to snag a look at their name tag to initiate conversation. I keep up with industry publications, so I have a general idea of who people are and what stations/markets they work in, and I just generate conversation from there.” 

~ Alana Lynn,  Entercom Country KMLE/Phoenix, AZ MD/Afternoon Host

“With a big smile. ‘Hi, I’m _____ and get started. Sometimes that’s really all it takes.” 

~ Lois Lewis, iHeartMedia Country KNIX/Phoenix, AZ APD/MD/On-Air Personality

“Don’t worry about being formal. That being said, be professional. But, if you’re being yourself, people will welcome that more than a stiff and rehearsed (sounding) introduction. It’s easier for both parties if you’re comfortable.” 

~Briana Galluccio, MCA Nashville Coord./Promotion

6. Familiarize yourself with the hotel layout.

The CRS 2018 app will give you an idea about where each panel will take place. Make plans to hang out in areas where the most people will be at once.

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Internet Cafe, the CRS Kickoff Party, and the After Hours events – these are some places to meet and connect. There are so many events, but you want to be open to the events that are more casual and social.” 

~Kimsey Kerr, Red Light Management, Marketing

“The Lobby, the bar, and all events where you can socialize are very important. Carry plenty of business cards, and concentrate on introductions and not closing a sale. Think long-term.” 

~Jerry Butler, Music Master

“I could talk to a wall if I wanted to, so when I sit at events, or walk through the Omni exhibition hall area, I ask questions or invite a co-worker or fellow industry person to go with me.” 

~Raffaella Braun, Warner Music Nashville Mgr./Regional Radio & Streaming Promotion

“Hallways and elevators! No really, I reach out to people and ask about what they have planned for that day. It pays so much to just jump in and ask. It seems the lobby and coffee carts are great places to network as well.” 

~ Krisha Newport, Cumulus Country WIVK/Knoxville, TN On-Air Personality

7. Stock-up on EmergenC, energy drinks, your favorite hangover remedy, cough drops, and gum.

Yes, you will be tired, hungover, and will probably get sick. Prepare in advance, and head off as much as possible.

“Bring ALL of the EmergenC … sleep when CRS is done. Stay hydrated. Don’t drink all of the alcohol; you never know who you’re going to meet, and you should always be able to be on your A-game.” 

~ Ashley Main, Bicoastal Media Country KWRQ/Medford, OR PD/Morning Host

“Attend every event that you can! I know that you’ll be hungover and sleepy, but some of the best connections I’ve made have been over an early morning breakfast showcase slugging down coffee. Then, take a power nap after the panels, and attend the late-night stuff too! You can never have enough friends, connections or allies in the business.” 

~Shannon Potts-Franco “Sunny Leigh,” Scripps Country KVOO/Tulsa, OK, Morning Host