We’ve all heard the old line in this business, “It’s all about who you know.” I believe that it’s less about who you know and more about how well you know them. One key to success is powerful relationships. So, here are eight simple tips to help you strengthen your professional relationships.
1. ADD VALUE
Be willing to help others. Listen well. Go see your friends’ shows. Show up on time and stay through the end. Send thank you cards. Remember birthdays. Offer help and support. Tell others about a great book you’re reading or a fantastic restaurant you enjoyed. Participate because you want to, not because you have to. Share your ideas, resources and time. The Tao of Show Business involves a natural flow, so if you are unwilling to give things away, you actually block the natural flow of things. How can you expect people to help you when you don’t first help others? Don’t be the person who only contacts others when you need a favor. Stay in consistent communication so asking for help is no big deal, and receiving it is easy. Add value and increase the value of your day-to-day life.
2. BE AUTHENTIC
Stop worrying about what casting directors or agents are looking for. They’re looking for you, so just be yourself. Be authentically you, so that you will easily find your people. Be you and make everyone’s job a little easier. My client, Justine, got fired from her fourth agent in about four years. Not because she couldn’t act or even because her résumé was weak. Justine left the wrong impression with her agents every time she met with a new one. You see, Justine is really quirky and kinda clumsy. She’s adorably neurotic and very marketable.
Yet Justine figured the best way to take an agent meeting was to arrive all buttoned up and proper. That’s what she did and agents got the message, so these same people continued to send her out on auditions for uptight professional types; the opposite of who Justine really is. It’s no wonder she couldn’t keep an agent. Justine wasn’t her authentic self and therefore wasn’t making the right match. As soon as she allowed herself to be her true self, she found the right agent who found the right auditions and Justine started booking like crazy. Be authentically you. Nobody else does you like you do!
3. EMBRACE THE POWER OF TEAMWORK
Share your passion and talent with the people in your life and encourage them to do the same. John Paul Getty once said that he would rather have 1% of the effort of 100 men than 100% of his own effort. You do not have to take this journey on your own. You can enlist the support, feedback and resources of others to make things happen more efficiently and effectively. Force yourself to ask for help and be the first to offer it. Be willing to ask questions and open to receiving honest, constructive feedback. Connect people together. What better way to strengthen your team than to connect your people together! Think about the people you know and identify who they should know and why. Make introductions to support the Collaborators in your life and tie your separate circles together while you’re at it.
4. EXPECT NOTHING
As cool as it would be to control everyone around you, that’s just not the way it works. You can only control your own actions, so let go of any expectations you may have about who should do what and how things should all go. Don’t keep score. Be responsible for your own needs and wants. Focus on you and do the things that inspire you or make you feel good. Take action because you want to, not because you have to. Release your need to be in charge and be open to any possibility. Surprise yourself.
5. LISTEN MORE AND TALK LESS
The best conversationalists are those people who listen more than they speak. Pay attention to what’s going on. Observe others and learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. Make others feel appreciated because you listen to what they have to say. Even if you’ve heard it all before, always bring new ears and eyes to every situation in order to learn. That’s how you get better.
6. FOLLOW UP AND FOLLOW THROUGH
Stay in touch. Don’t leave things unfinished and be mindful enough not to over-commit. Do what you say you will and communicate openly. Be honest. Don’t be flakey. Show up when you say you will. Answer your phone and return phone calls quickly. Actively participate in your career and keep your word.
7. TURN YOUR COMPLAINTS INTO REQUESTS
Stop moaning and make change. If your scene partner isn’t pulling her weight, don’t complain about it. Look for creative solutions and constructive ways to create new results, encourage new behaviors, or completely change your relationship. Crying won’t get you anywhere, so be a part of the solution rather than the problem. If you cannot turn your complaint into a request, you have nothing to complain about.
8. BE COOL
The only power to be had exists in the present moment. Don’t worry about what happened last week, about what you forgot to do, or where you dropped the ball. Stop worrying about the future, wondering about whether or not you’ll get that callback or if your agent is really working hard on your behalf. You cannot change the past and you can’t predict the future, so just be cool and stay present.
Respected as one of the entertainment industry’s leading experts, Dallas Travers teaches actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, has won over five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival along with the National Indie Excellence Award. She has helped thousands of actors to increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film and television.
If you’re ready to jump-start your acting career, get your FREE Thriving Artist Starter Kit now at www.dallastravers.com.