Professionalism is one of those things that isn’t explicitly taught in the music industry but is expected for you to exercise! I remember one day realizing that there is no H.R. handbook, professional development or orientation for working as a music creative. You’re just kind of expected to “be professional.” This tip seems simple but often goes overlooked. That being said, here is my fourth actionable and practical tip to exercising professionalism and stay booked and working: Clear Communication!
Clear Communication seems like a no-brainer but it is a skill that if not exercised with care, can have you instantly terminated and also tarnish your reputation! This includes written communication, real time and active communication, accessibility and logistics!
Written communication should always include a greeting and salutation. Simple greetings like, "good morning...hope you're well...thank you for reaching out" go a long way. I also recommend having a customized signature and autoreply. A customized signature allows people you are communicating with to have easy access to your contact info! (I'll get into that a little later.) Auto-reply for when you are "out of the office" or just to give yourself time to respond while letting the person know you will get back to them and in what amount of time can go a long way as well.
Real-Time & Active Communication
Life happen! Flat tires, child-care relief, train delays, etc. Running late is not an unacceptable excuse for most people, it's the lack of communication and/or inconvenience to the job that hurts your reputation! This also directly relates to time management and budgeting your time to leave cushion for unexpected variables that can make you late! Check out my post "Practicing Professionalism as a Working Music Creative: Time Management" to get more info on this!
Accessibility & Logistics
It is also important to respond to emails with 2-3 business days and texts within 24 hours. I have both gotten ($1000) and lost gigs ($600) because of my communication speed!
Make sure you know ALL of the details of every gig! This includes time, location, call time, start time, set times, pay, when you are receiving pay, who’s on the gig (if you don’t already know), can you bring a guest, duration, set list/repertoire, day-of contact.