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CAREER
Sorry To Sound Rude, But ... Are
You Going To Be A Jerk Today?
July 13, 2016

By Bob Souer
Voice Actor

The old saying (at least as I was taught it) goes: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Not that Iím all that interested in catching flies.

Still, the idea is worth thinking about. Being grumpy or unpleasant is rarely a good way to grow your business.

Of course, you donít actually need me to tell you that. No one gets up in the morning thinking, "Today is a great day to be a jerk.Ē

We all have our internal story that justifies or excuses our rude behavior. Because to us, itís not rude. At least not in the moment. Weíre not trying to be rude or unreasonable. But without careful effort, it happens.

BEING NICE CAN BE HARD WORK

In at least one very real sense, itís hard work being nice; at least being nice consistently.

We know that treating our clients well is important. And for that matter not just our clients, but every person with whom we interact both in real life and online.

Itís hard work because itís very easy to let your guard down for a few minutes. Or to be overwhelmed with the stuff of life. And then to indulge in a bit of rudeness or grumpiness or "jerkiness.Ē

THE 'NICE' PAYOFF

Being a consistently nice person means paying attention to how other people are feeling all of the time. But the payoff for that vigilance and consistently nice behavior can be huge.

I have said for years that "the goose that lays the golden eggsĒ is repeat business from clients. When you have several clients, each of whom is sending you work regularly, you are well on your way to making a real go of this voice over business.

Keep building that list of repeat clients. Replace those who fall away through the years (it will happen) with new, regular, clients and adding to the list each time you can. Things will work out well for you.

LOVE YOUR CLIENTS!

And at least from where Iím standing, a critical component to building such a list of regular clients is being nice. Being someone with whom it is a pleasure to work.

I even use the word "loveĒ when I talk about my clients and my relationships with them. I love my clients.

By that I mean, I actively look out for their best interests and not just my own. I treat each one with kindness, courtesy and a profound desire to solve their problems and help each one to prosper in her or his own right.

Thatís what I mean when I talk about being nice.

Everyone is going to have an off day from time to time. Including me. But be vigilant about being truly nice to every person with whom you come in contact and the world is your oyster.

Oh and one last thing. What Iím talking about here is how to keep yourself from being a dick.
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ABOUT BOB
Often described as 'The nicest guy in voice over," Bob Souer has been a voice actor for decades, helping an array of faithful clients tell their "storiesĒ through commercials, narrations, podcasts, e-learning, promos, imaging - you name it. He also posts a highly informative blog about voice acting, The VoiceOver Boblog.
 
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Comments (4)
Brent Walker
7/13/2016 at 1:18 PM
My favorite response to my occasional jerkiness (which I justify by saying "I'm having a bad day"), came from my wife, who asked, "Are you having a bad day, or did you have a bad 5 minutes that you're nursing all day?"

Real clarification. So glad I married her.
Bob Souer
7/13/2016 at 12:26 PM
To be clear, I only ever claim to be the "second nicest guy in voiceover."

Bob
Rick Riley
7/13/2016 at 11:49 AM
I know you say 'you only have to work for a jerk once.' I've found in this business, almost everyone I work with is positive and forward thinking. Especially in sessions. The pros know how to get the most out of talent, and it's not by beating them, humiliating them, being frustrated with them, etc. It's by being positive and motivational. Which draws an in kind response from the talent.

I really do enjoy the people this job brings me in touch with. They appear to love what they do and love what I do. So I too, 'love' my clients. And BTW, I notice you're getting a lot of mileage out of 'not being a dick.'
Dan Hurst
7/13/2016 at 10:38 AM
Spot on!!!

I did sort of have other plans this morning. Guess I'll change my mind.
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