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Personal Networking: It's Not About
WHO You Know, But Who Knows YOU
March 25, 2014

By Dane Reid
Voice Actor
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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Comments (7)
Rosi Amador
3/29/2014 at 4:46 PM
Loved this, Dane. I couldn't agree more.

This year I made a decision to do a lot more face to face networking with producers of documentaries and corporate narrations. It's been great to get out, socialize, learn about their exciting projects and start being seen as a resource for narrations in both English and Spanish, which is an unusual niche. It's definitely paying off, plus I'm terribly social so I'm making some great new friends! I highly recommend it and am so glad I took the advice of a number of super talented colleagues whom I deeply respect, like Tom Dheere, who highly recommended this, and acted on it.

Your article really resonated with me! Plus, I'm with you on the smile. I am a generally optimistic person and can't help but smile. I look for other smiles. It works! Some day I hope we'll meet and exchange some of those! Until then, I wish you much success!
Kerry Connors
3/29/2014 at 3:46 PM
Great article! I like to wear business attire while working. My boss once said to me, "You are the only one of our voice actors who doesn't show up in sweatpants looking like they just rolled out of bed. We like your professionalism." That made my day.

Does anyone else get frustrated by noisy clothing, though? I know better than to wear something like bangle bracelets, but I never noticed how many articles of clothing make a swishing noise until I started voice acting!
Judy Fossum
3/27/2014 at 4:17 PM
Wonderful article, Dane. My mom has always brought up a good point, "You've gotta have good PR." Sure, social networking, email blasts and the phone are great, but there's nothing like getting out there (physically) and meeting someone face-to-face, shaking their hand and exchanging business cards. How many times have heard something like, "It's so nice to put a face with the voice." People appreciate that, it helps them know that we're "real."

I recently joined our local Chamber of Commerce and have gone to several of their events and meetings. It's a great way to meet folks and let them know what you do. You never know when businesses will need your service.
Rob Marley
3/27/2014 at 11:42 AM
Good points. There's also a psychological aspect to this. By looking good, you not only portray an air of professionalism that can impress a potential client when you meet them in person, it also gives you a subconscious confidence boost, that then shines through in your work behind the mic. By looking good, you feel good and by feeling good you sound good.

Sure, there may be times when I record in my studio in sweats and a t-shirt, but if I'm networking with people in person, I treat it like a job interview. And that means dressing the part.
Lori Brickman
3/26/2014 at 8:10 PM
Excellent post. My mother taught me never to leave the house without eyeliner and lipstick. So I'm with you on this.
And we all need to remind ourselves of the human element in our quest to deliver creative and meaningful projects. Isolation does funny things with your mind. I like your advice about balancing interaction with action in the studio. Being a people person, but also enjoying the quiet of creativity, I support and practice this advice. Thanks for posting, Dane!
Liz Patterson
3/25/2014 at 3:43 PM
Dane-you are absolutely correct in all you recommend.
Fran McClellan
3/25/2014 at 2:42 PM
Wonderful article, Dane! This is great advice and I completely agree...nothing beats face-to-face networking. It's not only good for business, it's a great way to make new friends :)
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