Personal Networking: It's Not About
WHO You Know, But Who Knows YOU
March 25, 2014
By Dane Reid
In any business, networking is important. But because voice over talents work from behind the microphone, I believe they often may neglect the sunshine and the rain.
From your soundproof closet or booth, it's sometimes hard to remember that there is a whole world out there where people shake hands and kiss babies. It’s a world where you are not just heard, but seen.
I also often hear from voice talents that your demo is your calling card - but I disagree.
Your calling card is a handshake. For this reason, I spend much of my time reaching out to actual people, and shaking their hands.
WHO KNOWS YOU?
So much is made of who you know or what you know. But the key is who knows you!
For a long time, voice over talent never wanted to connect their faces with their voices. Demos and online presence was never associated with pictures. This was to keep people guessing about your voice type and not pigeonholing based on your appearance.
But when you run a voice over business, that traditional thinking may go out the window.
It's important that people remember your face when a project comes up 6 or even 12 months later.
HOW I NETWORK
For instance, I arm myself with several things when networking.
The first one cost me nothing. It's my smile. I’ve been complimented on it for years. And when I realized that it was an asset in my business, I started to use it.
In fact, just smiling helped me break out of my introverted vocal booth mindset to make networking more fun and effective. People remember it and respond to my apparent friendliness.
BUMMY SWEATS UNREAL
But the smile is only part of it.
We’ve all heard the legends of the the voice talent with bummy sweats, dirty sneakers and ruffled hair who went into the studio and walked out with a $10,000 check for 10 minutes of work, right?
After all, that was the selling point that I was told. But I discovered when I got out into the world of decision makers, that that guy was an urban myth. Or at least ,this wasn’t going to be my reality.
In fact, I had an incident that proved the opposite. I was out with friends at a restaurant when a client I had been wooing saw and approached me.
He looked me up and down and said, "You look quite prosperous.”
I gave him that smile and a handshake and received a call from him a few weeks later. Since then, he has been my client going on two years now.
So what does a voice over talent look like?
For me, it means looking comfortable and stylish. It's a cosmopolitan look. It’s a look that says, "I do voice over work and I’m successful at it. And I’m comfortable in life.”
After all, people like doing business with people who are experienced. Because of this, people believe in my product before they even here it.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE?
But recreating my style and image won’t be effective for everyone. YOU choose your look - but remember that people will think of that look as your voice type. Or as your level in your career.
So I recommend that you at least dress in a way that will draw positive attention.
The last thing to remember is that going to one event gets you invited to others. Which will build your network of potential clients and friends. I sign myself up for lists so that I can be notified of upcoming events.
Exposure, Exposure, Exposure. This is your key.
Dane Reid is a voice actor originally from New York City, now residing in Atlanta, whose passion for voice over spans a decade of voicing and producing commercials, radio imaging and short narration projects. He's also a published author, busy traveler and adds that he's an "avid creator and endless dreamer."
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