VO Conference Strategies – Part One – Pre-Conference Planning
When committing to attend a voiceover conference, I make intuitive lists for conference strategies. This allows me to not only be prepared and organized (important for someone who gets overwhelmed), but to make the most of my time and enjoy the event to the fullest. I absolutely LOVE voiceover conferences because of the educational opportunities, the chance to see my voiceover kinfolk, and time out of the studio to re-energize my enthusiasm for my business. For me, there’s nothing like being amongst other talent to feel fully at-home and in my lane.
Here are some of my voiceover conference, pre-planning strategies:
What is my focus for this event? Do I simply want to take in all the information and goodness while I’m there? Am I looking to meet certain people? Or, am I wanting to interact with as many people as possible? While it would stand to reason that one would want to do ALL of the above, the plan of action depends on which conference you’re going to, how long you’ll be there, how many other conferences have you been to, and where you are in the learning curve of your business and career. Biting off more than you can chew will leave you sorely overwhelmed and overstimulated.
Plan and order promotional material
In keeping with the questions in the last point, if your objective is to meet as many people as possible (because you haven’t been to a conference before), maybe you want to create promotional item giveaways as ice breakers to conversation? Maybe you want to save your money and simply see who you meet along the way? Again, your choices mostly depend on your conference objectives, but do know that you don’t really need anything other than your business card.
Pack special items that make your hotel stay more comfortable
Because travelling can sometimes be arduous, and you want to have the best possible experience at your event, you’ll want anything that keeps you grounded and comfortable while staying in a hotel. Some things I consider bringing along are candles or aromatherapy (you never know what your room will smell like), granola bars, fruit, and easy snacks, and music or meditations for sleeping or maintaining a relaxed atmosphere in your room. I HIGHLY recommend popping out upon arrival and purchasing as much purified water as you can, if possible.
Plan out schedule in advance
In order to avoid baptism by fire or missing out on something great, I like to plan out my conference schedule looking through the agenda thoroughly ahead of time, providing myself A, B, & C choices on sessions when appropriate. You don’t want to arrive to a conference and be completely stymied immediately. And, sometimes there are SO many sessions back-to-back, you need a plan of action on where to be and when.
Schedule enough sleep
Networking and taking in conference education are both very demanding. I actually schedule approximate bedtimes and waking times in order to be in tip top shape each day. Not sure if I’m the only one who needs 8 ½ hours sleep, (some people seem to be fine on much less), but I will not enjoy my days if I haven’t had my required allotment. (Why you need to think about “sleep for success” as a voice actor.)
Avoid illness at all costs
I hope it goes without saying that you don’t want to get sick before, during, or after a conference. Being able to get on with the business of recording at any time means being completely well. Further, anyone who networks amongst voice actors while being ill will be vilified. Please, PLEASE… do everything in your power to stay extremely healthy. You’ll contribute to the wellness of your whole community. (Here are my tips for being a vocal health ninja.)
Part two of four now published! If you have any other “must-do” pre-conference planning ideas, would love to hear them!
(Another relevant post: Why you should attend an industry conference)