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CAREER
15 Strategies For Getting The Most Out
Of Attending A Voice-Over Conference
February 26, 2019

By Natasha Marchewka
Voice Actor & Course Creator

When committing to attend a voice-over conference, I make intuitive lists for conference strategies. This allows me to not only be prepared and organized (important for someone who gets overwhelmed), but to make the most of my time and enjoy the event to the fullest.

I absolutely LOVE voice-over conferences because of the educational opportunities, the chance to see my voice-over kinfolk, and time out of the studio to re-energize my enthusiasm for my business.

For me, there's nothing like being among other talent to feel fully at-home and in my lane. Here are some of my voice-over conference strategies.

WHAT TO PLAN AHEAD ...

1. Plan Your Objectives
What is my focus for this event?
  • Do I simply want to take in all the information and goodness while I'm there?
  • Am I looking to meet certain people?
  • Or, am I wanting to interact with as many people as possible?
While it would stand to reason that one would want to do ALL of the above, the plan of action depends on:
  • which conference you're going to,
  • how long you'll be there,
  • how many other conferences have you been to, and
  • where you are in the learning curve of your business and career.
Biting off more than you can chew will leave you sorely overwhelmed and overstimulated.

2. Plan and Order Promotional Material
In keeping with the questions in the last point, if your objective is to meet as many people as possible (because you haven't been to a conference before), maybe you want to create promotional item giveaways as ice breakers to conversation.

Or maybe you want to save your money and simply see who you meet along the way.

Again, your choices mostly depend on your conference objectives, but do know that you don't really need anything other than your business card.

3. Pack Special Items That Make Your Hotel Stay More Comfortable
Because traveling can sometimes be arduous, and you want to have the best possible experience at your event, you'll want anything that keeps you grounded and comfortable while staying in a hotel.

Some things I consider bringing along are candles or aromatherapy (you never know what your room will smell like), granola bars, fruit and easy snacks, and music or meditations for sleeping or maintaining a relaxed atmosphere in your room.

I HIGHLY recommend popping out upon arrival and purchasing as much purified water as you can, if possible.

4. Plan Your Schedule In Advance
In order to avoid baptism by fire or missing out on something great, I like to plan out my conference schedule - looking through the agenda thoroughly ahead of time, providing myself A, B, & C choices on sessions when appropriate.

You don't want to arrive to a conference and be completely stymied immediately.

And, sometimes there are SO many sessions back-to-back that you need a plan of action on where to be and when.

5. Schedule Enough Sleep
Networking and taking in conference education are both very demanding. I actually schedule approximate bedtimes and waking times in order to be in tip top shape each day.

Not sure if I'm the only one who needs 8 ˝ hours sleep (some people seem to be fine on much less), but I will not enjoy my days if I haven't had my required allotment. (Why you need to think about "sleep for success" as a voice actor.)

6. Avoid Illness At All Costs
I hope it goes without saying that you don't want to get sick before, during, or after a conference.

Being able to get on with the business of recording at any time means being completely well. Further, anyone who networks among voice actors while being ill will be vilified.

Please, PLEASE… do everything in your power to stay extremely healthy. You'll contribute to the wellness of your entire community. (Here are my tips for being a vocal health ninja.)

CONFERENCE TACTICS

I am attending several conferences this year, so I'm eager to get prepared. Here are my "conference tactics."

7. Attend Sessions Autonomously, Maintaining Your Own Personal Rhythm
Avoid choosing sessions simply because your friends are going. We are all in different places in our career and will benefit from different information. Further, being distracted is always very easy.

If you stay focused on your plan for your conference experience, you'll achieve your objectives for the conference and stay "present" enough to take in all the information. Despite the hundreds of attendees, flying solo can be very effective.

8. Choose the "Right" Sessions
We all have our own criteria for sessions, but my rule of thumb is to choose those that are unique to the conference and that I can't pay for one-on-one after the conference.

Also, breakout sessions are great to determine if a coach is a good fit for you later on.

Finally, if there are weaknesses in my craft or my business that I know require further study, I'll attend those sessions that fill in some holes.

9. Use One Journal, a Separate Page, and Title for Each Session
In order to make sense of your notes when you get home, outlining your takeaways helps to remember all that you learned.

I personally find my notes a great reference when looking back. I appreciate including the title, date, and presenter at the top of each page to find information easily.

10. Photograph Notes for Sharing
You'll often want to go to several sessions at the same time. So it's very effective to agree with another participant that you'll share notes, given you are respecting the guidelines of the conference and the presenter's ownership of the content.

I take a quick pic of my session notes as soon as each session is done, so I can share them easily, if appropriate. (If you've paid extra for a special session, you might not want to do this as per the conference and/or presenter.)

11. Be On Time for Meals
Don't forget to eat.

A conference is usually keeping you busy from the moment you wake until the moment you hit the pillow at night. And, when it is an extremely large conference, navigating the line-ups for food is a "thing."

In order to cope with crowds and avoid not eating at all, make it a priority to know where and when your meals are, to not miss out.

12. Keep Alcohol Consumption to a Minimum
Decompressing with several cocktails can be very appealing. However, it's not good for our vocal health.

Further, a conference is a marathon and in order to be in great shape all the way through (including when you arrive home and need to hit the ground running), you'll want to do everything in your power to stay energized and healthy.

This does not include having a hangover!

13. Stay on Site When Possible
When you've allotted three or so days to participate in a conference, you'll want to maximize every moment – attending sessions, yes – but also connecting with new people and reconnecting with friends you only see at conferences.

I love dining in groups, but I highly recommend not straying too far from the hotel sites. You don't want to waste time outside of conference venue. You'll lose valuable time.

However, one caveat: do make time for fresh air at least once a day.

14. Stay Focused and Intentional
Stay focused on your conference goals (see item #1).

A conference is an investment of time and money in yourself. If you can stay focused, you'll reap more rewards from maximizing your experience. (You might appreciate this post: Remarkable Focus – One of Three Direct Steps to Mompreneur's Balance.)

15. Sacrifice Attending a Session Or Two for Quiet Time
Sometimes, it's all too much. There's no shame in having a siesta!

If you don't want to melt into a puddle at the end of the conference, I highly recommend taking a few moments to re-calibrate in your room. While you may miss a session or two, a rest in a quite place will provide you the energy you need to carry on your conference tactics with intensity!
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ABOUT NATASHA
Broadcast and non-broadcast, Natasha has recorded 10,000+ commercials and voice-over projects over the past 13 years, including Adventures by Disney, ZipRecruiter, and Electrolux. With a Bachelor's degree in Radio Television Arts, several years of singing jazz in New York City, and many, MANY jobs paying her dues, she started her voice-over business as an eager entrepreneur. She's also a prolific list maker, which has helped her move her business and family to three different countries. Her course offerings from Master VO To-Do List helps working voice talent get their business on track.


Email: natasha@natashamarchewka.com
Voice-Over Web: http://natashamarchewka.com
Master VO To-Do List Web: http://votodolist.com

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Comments (1)
Fred Humberstone
2/26/2019 at 1:28 PM
Great advice, Natasha. Here's another idea. If you are dining in a restaurant at the conference location, ask the hostess for a large table and tell the hostess that the remaining seats are for any other voice talent who would like to share a table with you. A great way to network and make new friends.
Back to Articles
Terry Daniel and gang - lotsa info and laughs!
On Michael Langsner's Voice-Over Roadmap Podcast
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!