While all businesses rely heavily on communication for success, it’s even more important in the world of voice over. That’s because communication is at the heart of all we do. The main goal of our profession is to effectively communicate a message to the audience, and that can only be achieved if we are effectively communicating with our clients. Understanding this component of your voice over business is key to long-term success.
Good communication brings clarity to every situation, imparts professionalism and builds long-lasting relationships. Here’s how.
Communication for Clarity
All voice over jobs start with a rundown on what the client wants, and the only way you’re sure to deliver is to ask the right questions. You need to ask relevant questions that give you the information you need to fully understand exactly what they’re going for. Questions here include things like vocal tone, file type, delivery method and all other details associated with a particular project.
It’s then imperative to carefully listen to what they say so you can deliver what they asked for. If things are unclear, clear them up before you begin. You’ll save a lot of time that you’d otherwise have to spend correcting something that was vague or misunderstood.
Communication for Professionalism
How you communicate with clients says a lot about your competence level, whether it’s through a quick phone call or a detailed email. You always want to be respectful and professional, ensuring you use appropriate guidelines for business correspondence. Sending a professional email is not like texting a quick message to your pal in all lower-case letters with two-letter abbreviations.
You want to use proper grammar and salutations, spell check before you send, and include your logo, branding, a professional email address and good tagline. Part of your online communication also includes your website and social media accounts. Every email you send, post you create and image you choose reflects directly on you as a professional.
Impeccable emails and a polished online presence indicate you’re someone who knows what they’re doing. They paint you as someone who is experienced and can be trusted to complete the project to the specs required.
Communication for Building Relationships
While communication with a new or prospective client is best kept rather formal, you can relax the formalities a bit when you work with repeat clients over an extended period. I find ways to personalize communication, to make it feel more like a friendship when appropriate.
I have many clients with whom I’ve worked for years, so in some instances I know details about their families, their work transitions and their overall lives. When it’s appropriate, I enjoy being chatty and casual. I like to deepen the bond with them, so they see me as not just a voice talent, but a trusted friend and a fellow human being.
I also never under estimate the importance of a thank you. This could be for a referral, a recent job, or just for being a loyal client. I’ve tried many different approaches to this over the years, including sending postcards, personalized notes, birthday cards, gifts, or just reaching out through email or social media.
Posting a review for a client on their LinkedIn page or other platform shows your thoughtfulness and may help them with their marketing. Letting clients know how much they’re appreciated and valued can go a long way, especially when you do it in a way that gives them an extra boost to their own business.
Two More Tidbits on Communication
In a previous blog I wrote about The Biggest Voice Over Customer Service Mistakes, and it’s no surprise that poor communication made the list in two instances. They bear repeating. One was delay in communication, which can give off the vibe that you don’t really care. The other was not really listening or understanding what the client wants, which we also touched on above.
Responding to audition requests or messages to clients as quickly as possible shows you’re a pro who is ready to deliver what’s required. In the case of new clients, being the first to respond is often the move that gets you the job.
Truly listening and understanding what a client wants is another big deal. It’s better to ask tons of questions than make tons of mistakes. Good communication involves good listening skills and really paying attention to what the client is saying.
Keep these communication tips in mind as you move forward in your voice over career, and you may be happy to find your career moves forward with success. You’re apt to be seen as a true professional who can deliver exactly what the client wants while building beneficial relationships that can endure for years.