Effective preparation is the cornerstone of a successful voice-over conference experience, the same as what you do after the conference. In this guide, I will share some steps I use to prepare for a voice-over conference. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your VO career, these tips may help you make the most of your time and effort in a Voice-over conference.
Benefits of attending a conference
Attending a conference is an excellent opportunity to learn, grow, network and gain valuable insights from professional coaches, voice buyers, and talent, attend informative workshops and panels, and build relationships with potential clients or collaborators. Conferences provide a unique platform to showcase your talents and receive feedback from industry experts. By making the most of what a voice-over conference has to offer, you can confidently improve your skills, expand your network, and advance your career in the industry.
Tips to prepare for your next conference
Conference Offerings: The first important step is to research the conference beforehand to familiarize yourself with the schedule, speakers/panelists, and attendees. This helps you set the FOCUS on what you want to get out of the conference by reviewing which sessions and events are being offered and are most relevant to your goals and interests. Don’t forget to define your objectives BEFORE the conference. Whether it’s to gain more insights in a specific genre, network with other VO professionals, or showcase your talent to potential voice buyers. Having clear goals will help you make the most of your time.
MY PRE – DO’s
Note: PREP STEPS – happenings before the Conference – if possible, this should occur at least a year to 6 months before the actual conference.
Budgeting and logistics: Attending a conference demands meticulous consideration of budgeting and logistics. You must plan and allocate sufficient funds for registration fees, travel expenses, and other accommodations. Additionally, it is important to book your travel and accommodations well in advance to ensure availability and avoid last-minute expenses. I am very practical, so try and think of cost savings for the conference if you are not at the point of paying up front for Conference costs. My Tip: since 2020 a lot of conferences offer the replay option or virtual attendance. No, it’s not ideal now that we are coming from isolation, but it’s a start and maybe a good practical way to see if the conference is something you want to plan for the next year.
Create a schedule: Based on your VO goals, prioritize the sessions you want to attend and leave room for networking opportunities and breaks. Note any relevant parties or social events to maximize your connections, catch-up, and first-time meetings. Additionally, consider contacting speakers or attendees before the conference to schedule meetings or ask for advice and build relationships. This can help you build relationships and maximize your time at the event. Remember, conferences are not just about you attending sessions but also making connections and learning from others in your industry. My Tip: set up your schedule via your mail calendar, google, outlook, etc. Block out the time and location before, you can do this for virtual conferences or replay too.
Updated Business cards and website: to present yourself professionally and seriously that feature your name, contact details, and areas of expertise. You can also design a one-page promotional sheet summarizing your skills and experience. This is an effective way to highlight your unique strengths and leave a favorable impression on potential clients. Remember to include links to your website and relevant social media profiles. My Tip: Having a QR code on your business card or a digital business card is a great option to provide as well. It’s easy to design one in Canva and other creative platforms. Test your website to make sure your site is updated and working too!!!
Demo Reel: Your Demo reel is a sample showcase of your voice for a specific genre or niche in VO, such as Commercial, Narration, or eLearning demo reel. Ensure your demo reel is updated, and you feel confident to replicate any of the styles, spots, and tones on the demo reel. My Tip: if you don’t have a website yet, make sure you have your demo on a platform that is accessible, for example Soundcloud, or YouTube to get started.
Practice Cold Reading: Voice-over conferences frequently offer chances to audition. Practice reading scripts aloud without prior preparation to improve your ability to interpret and deliver a captivating performance quickly. Consistent practice and a willingness to learn are essential for success in the competitive voice-over world. My Tip: make sure you are not shy when it comes to performance on stage or in a small group. You can do this ahead of the conference by joining workout groups online or in person. Sometimes the people in your group could end up being that VO friend you meet at the conference. Here are some VO workout groups you can check out Domingo Castillo , VO Weekly Workout Larry Hudson, Vo Heaven, and AVS workouts there are many more from coast to coast.
Volunteer or Participate in Open Mic Sessions: These opportunities offer a chance to display your talent, receive valuable feedback, and connect with others who share your passion for voice-over. Don’t hesitate to step outside of your comfort zone and make the most of these exceptional opportunities.
Take Breaks: Conferences can be overwhelming, so taking breaks is crucial, depending on the type and how long they last. Get enough rest, eat well, and hydrate to maintain energy levels and perform at your best throughout the event. Take breaks to step outside and get some fresh air or engage in light physical activity to clear your mind and rejuvenate your body.
Take Notes: Whether you are a paper person or digital, taking some quick notes during the conference. This will be very helpful when you wine down for the day and go back and review your notes. My Tip: Keep a portable recorder or smartphone app on hand to capture unexpected voice-over opportunities or to receive feedback on your work. Apps like Notes, Google Keep, Evernote, or a mobile Voice recorder are apps you can quickly access to take notes, FYIs, and TTDs.
MY POST DO’s
Post-Conference – what you do AFTER the conference?
Daily Download: At the end of the day do a quick download or review of 3 to 5 key takeaways from the day. For example, what I learned today, the one thing I can do now or when I am home, the person I need to contact. AND ACT ON IT. Take 30 minutes- an hour to get your Action Items done. My Tip: If I want to connect with someone via email or f/u note. I create the note and save it in Draft, then I review the email after the conference and then I schedule the email to go out a week or so AFTER the conference. You know everyone is going to be bombarded with so much POCO(Post Conference) email and DMs, you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.
GET PERSONAL: Send personalized messages that summarize your meeting with them during the conference. This also shows that you are a professional and express your appreciation and nurture professional relationships. For example, while attending a conference, I met a very nice woman while having breakfast. We connected and had several things in common and in the end we exchanged cards. After breakfast, I jotted down some notes on the business cards about our convo so that I could follow up with her in the future to keep the rapport and connection going. You never know where the connection can lead.
Apply what you learned to your voice-over career.
Sharing is Caring – Write a blog post about your experience at the conference and share it on LinkedIn to showcase your expertise and connect with other professionals in your industry.
Prioritize self-care and rest after any conference to recharge and avoid burnout. In the past I have often had PCA – Post Conference Anxiety – yeah, its a term I just made up, I define this as how I feel after sometimes during the conference. Its a feeling of overwhelmed, confused, even depressed because I learned so much at the conference, and feel pressure and anxious to have so much to do and get done, or think I should be doing, and judging and comparing myself to other people and their status. MyTip: Prepare and Postpare this way you will set your expectations for yourself , which should be aligned with your goals.
Remember, a successful conference experience can open doors to exciting opportunities and propel your voice-over career to new heights. Embrace the journey, stay confident, and let your voice shine! Best of luck!
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