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NETWORKING / PART 2
Voice Actor George Washington III:
How To Maximize Online Opportunities
Don’t be afraid of networking. There are people who are afraid to give something away because they fear they’ll lose it, but networking will help you and help other people. - George Washington III
By Kelley Buttrick
Voice Actor & VOXtra Staff Writer
 
(VOXtra) - Most of voice over talent George Washington III’s networking has been done via his computer.
 
“I’m trying now to get out of my virtual networking world, taking some things to heart that I learned at Faffcon (the voice over UNconference),” says the Charlotte, N.C.-based Washington.
 
But online, his favorite places to network have been Twitter and Facebook.
 
To maximize the benefits of networking online, Washington follows people of interest to him and those who might be interested in what he does.
 
FOR INSTANCE ...
 
One of his favorite networking stories features his daughter’s love of the Symphony of Science videos by John Boswell, whose videos present scientific information to the public through music.
 
Washington followed Boswell on Twitter and Facebook and decided to post on the video creator’s page about how much his young daughter loved the videos - also mentioning he was a voice over talent.
 
Boswell responded, thanking Washington and also asking if the voice actor would be interested in narrating a documentary he was planning to produce in the future.
 
“I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch, and this may never come to fruition,” says Washington, who has been in the business since 2003.
 
“But, I’ve now started a relationship with someone I admire, who is influential, and it may provide me an opportunity down the road.”
 
TAKES TIME
 
For Washington, networking is not about instant results.
 
“Instant success is rare,” he says. “You have to work your relationships, cultivate them and touch base every now and again.
 
"I’m not great at it, but I’m getting better.”
 
SENDS NEWSLETTERS
 
One method Washington uses to keep in touch is newsletters. He says they are an effective way to let contacts know that a talent is getting jobs.
 
He uses a customer relationship management software program and an Internet-based newsletter program called MailChimp, which allows him to design newsletters and measure response rates.
 
“You can find these kinds of tools for not a ton of money,” he explains.
 
 “You can’t work in a vacuum. Networking for us - any business really, is vital.”
 
BALANCING PRIORITIES
 
Something that Washington and many other social networking site users find challenging is making time for networking online without overworking it.
 
“It’s seductive. On Twitter, you’re afraid you’ll miss something,” says Washington, who reports that approximately 25% of his business is generated through networking.
 
“Don’t make too much time for it, neglecting other important things that need to be done," he advises. 
 
"Make your time. Use your time. Move on.”
 
MET ON TWITTER
 
Twitter is where he and dialect coach Pamela Vanderway began discussing a mutually-beneficial project to work on together.
 
“If I had never been on Twitter, I would never have met her or started this project,” says Washington.
 
“It’s a great opportunity that otherwise would not have happened.”
 
HELPS VOICE ACTING
 
Washington, who specializes in commercial, narration and messages on hold, believes that being in the voice over business actually helps talents with networking.
 
“Networking requires overcoming doubt and fear," he explains. 
 
"Our business is built on overcoming rejection or selection, and networking is getting over some of that, too,” says the voice actor known for his ready smile and positive attitude.
 
“It’s about getting past the initial, ‘I have to walk up to someone and say something.’”
 
Recently, Washington has said something for ROOT Sports Northwest ClearPoint Learning, Coca-Cola, Time Warner Cable and ESPN.
 
 
TO CONNECT WITH GEORGE ... 
 
Twitter: @GWIII
Facebook: GWIII.VOEvolution
Skype: george.washington.iii
 
ABOUT KELLEY ...
 
Author Kelley Buttrick is a versatile15-year voice over talent and staff writer for VoiceOverXtra who also has extensive experience in marketing and on-air roles in broadcast media, newspapers and business. Also an actor and writer, Kelley's work experience on many sides of the microphone gives her a unique 'big picture' perspective for each project.
 
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