Three Quick Networking Ideas

When I first began writing these little articles, several months ago, I talked about networking. It’s a subject that I find fascinating. Many people are afraid of it, but many people thrive on it at the same time.

We all know that we need to network whether it’s face to face networking or social networking in order to grow our businesses. But I hope that, at the same time, networking is also important to you because you want to build relationships, just for the sake of building relationships. People have made life long friends through networking, and not just through attending networking events, but through participating on a Board of Directors of the organization of your choice.

I am very excited because in a couple of months, I will be participating as Chairman of the Programming Committee for the Orange County Los Angeles chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Will there be a lot of work and a lot of responsibility? You bet there will, but I’m feeling that the rewarding part is going to come from those close relationships that I will develop from sitting on the board.

Christine Oller, Change Strategist, suggests three fresh approaches to networking:

#1

Networking is actually more about listening than talking. To network with someone
is to make a genuine, quality connection with them. In order to do that, you must
engage them as the person they are, not as the job they do.

#2

Networking is truly one of the most powerful and yet one of the most underutilized
tools that each of us has in our toolkits. And, by using it, you can start to change
your life without first changing your circumstances.

#3

When you are networking, There’s no desperation. You are not begging for a job.
You are presenting folks with information that they or someone they know might find
helpful now or at some point in the future. The more people that you educate, the
more people you will have out in the world effectively educating other people about
you.

So there you have it. Some food for thought.

Happy summer, and happy networking!

So you want to be in show biz?

As a voice talent and vocalist, very often, I talk with people who say, How fun that would be! Isn’t it glamorous? Maybe I should go in to show biz! I could make big money! I’ve also discovered that many people love to have a microphone in their hand. This is why karaoke clubs have become so popular.

But honestly, if you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme, show biz may not be for you.

I love what I do or I wouldn’t be doing it whether it be recording in my little home studio or performing on stage, and yes, I do have fun with it. But there is a lot of work involved that noone sees unless you are really looking behind the scenes.

Most voice talents have their own studios now which means that we can be called to work at any time whether it be weekends or even late at night  For those of us who have clients emailing scripts from European countries that needed to be completed yesterday. This has been called a 24 7 business. The recording portion is a minor portion of the work involved. We are now audio engineers as well as Marketing Directors. You have to market your business in order to build it up. Right?  We are required to wear several different hats.

Besides all of this, in order to keep our skills sharp, it is also recommended that we spend some time on a daily basis doing cold reading. By cold reading, I mean, picking up a magazine article or newspaper article that we’ve never touched and reading it out loud. What is the purpose of this? When we are called in to a recording studio or when we are called to read in front of an agent, and we are handed scripts on the spur of the moment, our jobs are to put ourselves in to the character as quickly as possible, and make our reads as conversational as we can. In other words, when we are in studio, time is money, and you’ve got to hit that home run in as few takes as possible. If the client gets what he’s looking for in a reasonable amount of time, then you end up establishing good relationships and getting more work.

There are also classes to attend, voiceover workout groups to become a part of, and social networking sites to be affiliated with.

All of this being said, I wouldn’t be doing anything else other than what I’m doing now. You do it for the love of it.

So I say, if you’re thinking about pursuing this type of career, give it a try, but before you go soaring off in to the clouds, remember, there’s no business like show business, but it’s still a business.        

Listen Up!!

Listen up because you never know what you are going to hear!

Do you consider yourself a good listener in both your personal and professional life?

I try to listen well, but then there are those times when someone is saying something to me, and instead of really listening to their whole sentence, I’m already thinking about how I want to respond and how I will say what I want to say or worse yet, I will interrupt them in midstream.   I hope I’m not the only one guilty of this.

I’ve realized over the years that there is an art to listening well. Now you may be reading this and thinking Why is this so important, and why should I care. When you are on the other end, you are the one who wants to be heard.  Right?  Here’s an example.

A few weeks ago, I went to dinner with a very close friend, and in the middle of what I was sharing with her, there were these long pauses while she was texting her friend. I actually felt offended and came to the conclusion that multi-tasking and listening well never go together.

I believe that in any relationship whether it’s with an acquaintance, a spouse or your boss, that the art of becoming better listeners will only enrich us and help those around us feel like they really matter and that they are really being heard.

After recently reading an article by Nancy Friedman called “Six Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Listener”, I found a few interesting tips that we all may wish to implement:

1: Decide to become a better listener. First, you have to make up your mind that that is what you really want to do.

2: Concentrate. Keep an open mind to what the other person is saying, forgetting about your own agenda.

3: Give verbal feedback in using words like interesting, great, I understand, etc.

4: Make a mental note of what is being said, and pay attention to the tone of the other person’s voice because oftentimes, tone speaks volumes.

Not listening or half listening can be dangerous. So listen up because you never know what you are going to hear!

Positive or Negative

Have you ever thought about the kind of energy you send out to your coworkers from day to day, and have you also thought about the kind of energy they send back to you?Have you also thought about the kind of energy that you’d like to be sending out to them?

I’ve so often heard it said that when you smile at someone, although you may not realize it,   your smile may be just the smile that that person needed on that particular day.

The person who walks in to work late or the person who may have experienced a huge battle in traffic on their way to work that morning  is most likely going to send out negative energy when they enter the work place.

On the other hand, the person who has had a great weekend will walk in on a Monday morning sending out positive vibes.

I believe that we all have choices. We can either choose to go in to work dwelling on the  traffic battle that we experienced before we arrived or the  argument we had with our spouse just before we left,   or we can let  those things go  and allow ourselves to  be   present in the moment. It’s really up to us.

I’ve read that it takes at least 30 days to form a new habit, and this would include any type of habit from changing your eating habits to changing attitude habits.

I believe that there would be a lot less conflict in the work place if we all took the time to do three things:

1:  Think before we speak.

2: Leave our personal issues outside the door.

3:  When you feel an argument coming on, take a time out. drop the matter before it escalates.

Positive or negative. The choice is yours.

Thanks God, it’s Friday!

Is that what you say at the end of every week? Has your job gotten so old to you that you could do it in your sleep? If you are in that particular place right now, I know what that’s like. I, too, have been there, and it’s not fun.

When I think about how many people in our country live for their weekends rather than enjoying each day as it comes, that’s sad.

If you are in that place, what steps will you take to get yourself out of it,  or is it just easier to stay in your comfort zone? After all, you’re pretty secure there although nothing is secure these days if you stop to think about it. The days of someone working for the same company for 25 years are long gone.

Maybe you have a dream that you’d like to pursue, but you feel you can’t because your job is draining you of any energy that you might have left at the end of the day.

 Here are some thoughts that might solve your problem just a little bit:

1: What about taking time during a break or lunch to make some marketing phone calls to begin working toward fulfilling that dream that you’d like to pursue, whatever it may happen to be.

2: What about attending networking events after work where you may be likely to meet people who can help you along the way.

3: What about attending some educational workshops or webinars on the weekends in order to get closer to accomplishing your goals.

4: What about taking an hour   every couple of days and devoting it to social networking to help you make some of the connections that you’d like to make.

 There’s an old saying that says, when there’s a will, there’s a way, and I believe that’s true. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it. Now you can say Thank God its Friday because you know that on the weekends, you’re going to be pursuing your real passion!

Social Networking and You

Do you tweet, and if so, how often? Do you have an account on LinkedIn, and if so, how many connections do you have? Are you on Facebook, and do you have a business account as well as an account with family and friends? Are you blogging, and how often?  Oh, and we can’t forget Google Plus. And my final question is: Do you even care about all of this?

After attending a meeting where social networking was the topic of discussion, I began wondering, how did all of this take off so quickly. It seemed to spread like wildfire, and now, no matter what your point of view is regarding this, it’s here to stay.

I’ve heard people talk about how they tweet every 15 minutes, and others talk about how vital it is to maintain their presence on LinkedIn in order to build those professional relationships. Then on the other side of the coin, I’ve talked to people who have said, it’s a waste of my time, and I want nothing to do with any of it.

For me, as someone who happens to have no vision, it is a challenging experience. Because I am not able to use a mouse and only use key strokes, I have found many sites geared toward social networking to be non-user friendly.

So if you or I decide not to engage in social networking, is that going to prevent us from getting work? I don’t think so, but I do believe that the chances of getting work and establishing some great new relationships are much greater if we give this our best shot.

Here are some tips that I have found to be helpful:

1: Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you are new at this, start out slow, and begin with a site that makes you feel most comfortable. Your choices are still your own.

2: Set your own time limit on a daily basis whether it’s 15 minutes, one hour or whatever it is. You can’t really get involved in this unless you begin to enjoy it.

3: Read some books for beginners if you are new at this. There are many out there.

And if you honestly don’t care one way or the other, that’s okay, too.

Do you tweet, and if so, how often? Do you have an account on LinkedIn, and if so, how many connections do you have? Are you on Facebook, and do you have a business account as well as an account with family and friends? Are you blogging, and how often?  Oh, and we can’t forget Google Plus. And my final question is: Do you even care about all of this?

After attending a meeting where social networking was the topic of discussion, I began wondering, how did all of this take off so quickly. It seemed to spread like wildfire, and now, no matter what your point of view is regarding this, it’s here to stay.

I’ve heard people talk about how they tweet every 15 minutes, and others talk about how vital it is to maintain their presence on LinkedIn in order to build those professional relationships. Then on the other side of the coin, I’ve talked to people who have said, it’s a waste of my time, and I want nothing to do with any of it.

For me, as someone who happens to have no vision, it is a challenging experience. Because I am not able to use a mouse and only use key strokes, I have found many sites geared toward social networking to be non-user friendly.

So if you or I decide not to engage in social networking, is that going to prevent us from getting work? I don’t think so, but I do believe that the chances of getting work and establishing some great new relationships are much greater if we give this our best shot.   

Here are some tips that I have found to be helpful:

1: Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you are new at this, start out slow, and begin with a site that makes you feel most comfortable. Your choices are still your own.

2: Set your own time limit on a daily basis whether it’s 15 minutes, one hour or whatever it is. You can’t really get involved in this unless you begin to enjoy it.

3: Read some books for beginners if you are new at this. There are many out there.

And if you honestly don’t care one way or the other, that’s okay, too.

Change

There’s an old saying that says, nothing is forever, and as we all know, life is full of change, and whether we want it or not, change is just a part of life. Some changes we resist, and some we find adventurous. I myself have never done well with changes like moving or wishing a friend well when they move. I become pretty comfortable with my set routine. But on another note, change can be good, and change is growth.

I wanted to take a little time and share with you changes that I feel have been happening gradually in the music industry over the years. This is just one example:

A very close friend of mine has been performing at a restaurant that has been a landmark in this area for many years, and they have decided to close their doors which will leave every employee out of a job including him. That    makes me very sad, and because  this has been on my heart, I thought I’d share some other  thoughts that it has brought to my mind regarding the lack of live entertainment that we are seeing now in comparison to the 80’s and 90’s.

How many clubs have replaced live bands with DJ’s who just spin records all night long or maybe they have karaoke nights instead of hiring professional musicians. Aren’t we losing something called personal touch?

It’s sad to say this, but it seems that in our country, the arts are very under appreciated. In our schools, the music and art programs are the first to be cut.  That is why I admire celebrities like Herb Alpert who started a foundation to keep the arts alive in schools for under-privileged children.

In our country,  I see  the arts gradually being forgotten or placed on a level of low importance. In European countries, they are placed on a level of high importance.

I get on a soapbox about this.  For me, music is a healer, and it’s live music that brings people together. How can we cut self-expression and not continue to encourage it in generations to come. Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome.

Enjoy the journey!

Enjoy the journey!

Do you ever wonder, when you are watching an extremely famous person being interviewed on television, what’s their story. Who helped them get their big break, and how did their dreams finally come true. In most cases, it seems, we never hear the inside stories. I’ve often wondered, Now that they’ve made it, so to speak, are they happier on the inside or can it be lonely at the top.

You look at a person who has trained and trained for years to win that gold medal in the Olympics. Every day was a day of constant discipline. No matter what happened, they kept their eyes on the prize. I’ve often wondered, Did they enjoy the journey along the way or once their dream came true, did they say,  “What do I do now?”

If we stop to think about it, life as we know it, is a journey all of its own. It’s hard to live in the moment. We’re either looking back at the past or wondering about the future.

 

As I continue pursuing my own goals in the voiceover and music fields, I have to continue to remind myself to not forget about the importance of maintaining personal goals  as well as professional goals like keeping in touch with old friends, spending quality time with family,  or maybe just getting away from it all for a few days. I believe that our personal journeys are just as important as our professional journeys and at least for me because I love to travel, when I get away for a few days, I come back refreshed and ready to dive in to the projects that need to be done.

I wonder how many people would say that for them, pursuing their dream was even more fun and exciting than their dream actually coming true!

One of my favorite quotes goes like this:

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, and that is why we call it the present. So why not just enjoy the journey while the journey is ours to enjoy!

If Only…

If Only

Have you ever had one of those tossing and turning nights  where you just couldn’t sleep? If you haven’t, I’d love to know what your secret is. I think we’ve all been there. In fact, I think we are a sleep deprived nation, but that’s a subject for another time.

I found myself experiencing one of those nights last night. I began thinking about the last audition which I sent to one of my agents, and I thought, If only I had read that line this way instead of that way. That was my first mistake. I kept going on from there. I went on to more if only’s.

If only I had chosen another major in college. If only I had started acting lessons when I was 10. Just think of where I could be now that I’m, well, we won’t go there. If only I wasn’t a procrastinator. If only I was making enough money to take  my dream vacation to Brazil.

We’ve all had times like this, and we could go on and on and on. Right?

In this business, I’ve learned that auditions are going to come and go, and you cannot take anything personally. I’ve learned that when I don’t get the job, I am not the one who is being rejected, but that they are looking for a different type of voice and that it may have nothing to do with my read.

When I first entered the voiceover business, I never realized what a challenge it would be, but I love the challenge, and besides that, it’s fun. I would tell any newcomer to this business,  just do the best you can, and then let it go. When you stop having fun with it, maybe it’s time to go on to something else. You just can’t take yourself too seriously.

I believe that the words that we say to ourselves are vital. When you start saying words like If only or What if, you can eventually make yourself crazy. I think that finding a peace with what we are doing in our lives and where we are at right now is what’s important.

So by the time I got myself to say, Oh well, tomorrow’s another day, and there will be more auditions to come, I finally went to sleep. But there was just one If only that I couldn’t get out of my mind. If only I had enough money to take my dream vacation to Brazil!

Move, Move, Move

I just read a very interesting article that really caught my attention.   It was written by Ann Utterback, Ph.D. Voice Specialist. It was entitled:

“Health: Beware: Sitting is the new smoking: “Get up to add years to your life.” Ann’s full article can be found on voiceoverxtra.com.

In the article, she talks about how sitting at our jobs for so many hours a day without moving can cause serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity or cancer. I certainly don’t mean to burst your bubble. So let’s get to the good news in all of this.    There is actually good news out of all of this if we begin to take precautionary measures right now. In fact, if we take these precautionary measures, we can actually add years to our lives.

If you are like me, you sit at your computer a lot, and my closest friends know that I sit at my computer way too much. Well, this particular article really got me thinking.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a project where you are really concentrating on getting a deadline met, and you feel the pressure on you to get the job done as quickly as possible? I think we’ve all been there, where we find ourselves, not moving for several hours, and not even thinking about it, right?

Here are some ideas which I’ve decided to implement after reading Anne’s article, and hopefully, will help those of you who are in the same predicament:

1. Setting an alarm as a reminder to get up and move once every half hour to an hour. Just taking a five to ten minute walk or stretch helps to put things in perspective and gets those muscles moving.

2. While talking on the phone, stand up, walk around.

3. Take a short walk around the block every so often, get out of your office, cubicle or studio, and get some fresh air.

4. Get up and get a glass of water. Hydration matters.

5. When watching tv, get up and stretch during the commercials.

6. If you’re on a trip in the car or on a plane, stand and stretch every hour.

7. Have walking meetings instead of breakfast meetings.

I think you get the idea.

So, on that note, Whatever it takes,  let’s move, move, move!

Tina Wilson

Voiceover artist/vocalist

www.tinawilsontalent.com