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How To Protect Your Voice During NYC
'Audiobook Week' ... Plus APAC Success Tips!
May 21, 2019

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Coach

You've got lots of opportunities next week to learn, network and have fun during what we're calling 'Audiobook Week' in New York City (May 27-30). If you missed our annual guide to all events and more, click here for Part 1.

Now, focus on this: Your voice is your career. So protect it from noise, booze, and Conference Crud! 

Here's what I've learned over the years of conference-going:
  • Take Airborne before and after you get air-borne.
  • Avoid shouting, singing etc.
  • Project from your stomach, not from your throat.
  • I take a Ricola lozenge before and after any situation where I'm going to speak loudly or at length.
  • Drink lots of hot tea with honey and lemon.
  • Drink Throat Coat tea.
  • Drink lots of water. I drink coconut water. It's got lots of electrolytes and I think it's yummy! Keep your alcohol and soda intake to a minimum.
  • Get as much rest as you can.    
If you have additional vocal health tips or tricks to share, please post them in the "Comments" below!


The anchor event for the week, of course, is the Audio Publishers Association Annual Conference (or APAC), on Wednesday, May 29, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 

Sorry: it's sold out! But if you have a ticket, remember this: publishers, narrators, producers and retailers are at APAC to do business. Yet your time is limited. So make sure your interactions are productive and respectful of everyone else's time.

'Cloud Advice' from the online audiobook narrator community for APAC success:
  • Be a human
  • Be professional
  • Hydrate
  • Have fun
  • Be engaging
  • Don't hand out crap
  • Don't overdress
  • Be yourself
  • Go every event. 
  • Be professional, courteous and friendly.
  • Don't underestimate the value of meeting other narrators!
  • Challenge yourself to hold a conversation with someone without using the word "I" or "me".
  • Don't forget about personal safety. Try to always do things with a buddy or group of people. There's safety in numbers.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol; you'll feel crappy the next day.
  • Say hello to anyone who walks by you.
  • Smile.
  • Sit with people you don't know at lunch.
  • Pace yourself!
  • Talk about more than audiobooks
  • Resist the introvert that you (secretly?) are!
  • Ask for someone's card rather than handing over yours unasked. They'll probably ask for yours as well. It's you proactively showing interest in someone else, which they will usually enjoy more than a person insisting someone show interest in them.
  • Wear comfy clothes and layers, take a wrap or a cardigan, the air conditioning is vicious though it generally gets warm later in the day.
  • When you're in a conversation, whoever you're talking to, keep your eyes on them, avoid looking around the room to see who you can nab next.
  • Have a short list of people you want to meet. If you can't find them, mention to someone that you would like to meet a certain person and see if they will point you in that person's direction. Nice way to meet people, too!  BTW, the ladies bathroom line is great for chatting. Take advantage of it!
  • Be respectful of people's boundaries 
Bonus: 'Cloud Advice' for having 'outside' fun ...
  • Come early. Stay late.
  • Take Open Bus Tour
  • Take Big Red Bus Tour
  • Get 7-day subway pass
  • Admittedly touristy, but definitely fun:
And from long-time APAC-goer, top narrator/coach Johnny Heller ...
  • The day is divided into tracks for narrators and tracks for producers. Your job is to learn things and meet people.
  • Dress comfortably. It may be hot outside (it always seems to be for APAC), but it can get cold inside.
  • Be open to chatting and be warm and be interesting. If you are none of those things, find someone who is - hang with them and be quiet. No one will know how horrible you are if a nice person is with you.
  • Give out your business cards, but much more importantly, get cards! And then send "nice to meet you notes."
  • Avoid being catty about anyone until later and you're hammered at the Not Naudies. Then - tell me all about it!
  • And don't forget that the day before (May 28) is my workshop! Join us for a day of learning from the top names in the business! Details.
Over more than two decades, Tom Dheere - AKA 'The VO Strategist' - has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, a coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is also writer/producer of the sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.

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Comments (3)
Holly Adams
5/24/2019 at 10:37 AM
As always, your advice is fabulous. Thanks, Tom!
Tom Dheere
5/22/2019 at 8:20 AM
Thanks for your insight, Emily! I have been using Ricola during my audio book recording sessions for over ten years and I have had no issues, but everyone's physiological makeup is different. Voice talent should use what works best for them and avoid what doesn't. Hope to you see you at APAC!
Emily Ellet
5/22/2019 at 7:24 AM
I agree with a lot of this, except for the Ricola part! It is very inadvisable to consume something that numbs your throat right before you're going to use your voice. The pain is a signal from your body to be careful, a warning to do less or you will seriously damage yourself. If you numb your throat and then go use it, you significantly increase the likelihood of damaging your voice, because you turn off the warning signs from your body. Better to only have a cough drop or other numbing assistance AFTER you're done speaking/reading/singing for the day. I say this as a longtime narrator and singer.
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