Respect and Awareness - A Professional Behavior!

Respect and Awareness - A Professional Behavior!
Sunday musings...

less an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time here on the east coast...

Are you simply AWARE in your professional life?

I am always amazing at how many performers in our business talk about being professional, but are truly not.  BEHAVING professionally is crucial to being taken seriously and given a chance to show what you have artistically.  We remember BEHAVIOR.  The behavior either enhances the talent or simply dismisses it.

Here are some of the no-brainers.  Trust me - the reason they are on the list, is that they are violated continually.   And there is a reason those violators of the no-brainers are often not asked back.  These are common sense, yet, common sense doesn't seem to be so common anymore.

In our world of performing arts where it seems we are saturated by so many who say they want to work,   by simply paying attention to our behavior,  we have a much better chance of being seen in a positive light and of being invited back to the table for a continued play!

Professionalism means creating boundaries,  and respecting others' boundaries.  Know the boundaries.  You don't have to agree with them, but you need to respect them.  If a professional teacher or coach needs 24 hours notice to cancel a class or session,  then give it.  Give MORE if you can!!  If you cannot,  get the money to her/him IMMEDIATELY.  OFFER.

If you have been given 48 hours to make a decision about taking a role,  don't saunter in 72 hours or even 52 hours later and wonder why the role was given to someone else!!

Know the boundaries.

BE ON TIME.  Being on time isn't running in the door at 10:30 for an appointment, session, class or rehearsal.  Being on time means ready to BEGIN said work at 10:30.  Your process will tell you how much time you need PRIOR to that to centre,  get into the space literally and figuratively,  get your coffee or your tea,  hit the bathroom,  and be there READY TO WORK at said time.

There can be kinks - trains running late,  no cabs etc etc etc.  Make allowances for that.  And in this digital age,  a text message/voice mail to make those waiting on you can save you.  It won't save you repeatedly if it keeps happening, but it shows you are making a true effort to be there.

BE PREPARED!  What are you there to do?  Are you prepared to do it?  If you are going to a lesson or coaching - is your book ready?  Have you practiced?  Are you prepared to do the work, or do you expect the teacher/coach to do it all?  If you are in a lesson/coaching - are you recording?  Do you know the protocol for recording?  Do you take notes?  Do you expect someone else to do it for you or are you serious enough to take responsibility for getting the information?

Again, kinks can happen.  They do.  Regular clients sometimes forget their digital recorders accidentally,  or batteries die.  These are not the rule, but those sometimes things that happen.  If they happen every time the professional respect of space and of SELF just doesn't jive.  If you forget, say so up front and see what an alternative can be that time.  Honesty is also a form of respect and awareness.  Don't assume your ass will be yanked from the fire due to your lack of awareness.

Preparedness comes in many forms.  Again, you'd think it would be common sense, but often a sense of entitlement gets in the way.  Are you in rehearsal?  Are you prepared to BE there? Do you know your lines?  Have you learned your music?  How many show up not knowing and STILL giving attitude or excuses? 

Be aware of those around you - other clients,  your colleagues on EITHER side of the footlights,  your teachers/coaches/directors.   Know with whom you speak,  and give them their due.  You do not need to like them, befriend them or hang out with them,  but their POSITION deserves respect.  No man or woman is an island in this business called show - and there are many supporting roles that are going to make or break what YOU have to offer.  A simple acknowledgement of their work and their being there at all will create a professional behavior that will gain YOU some respect too!

Awareness of self - in behavior and reaction - is also key.  People are watching!!! How do you treat others?  How are you prepared to be there?  How do you react to change?  How do you react to criticism?  How are you going to handle conflict?  How rigid are you?  How pliable?  Do you know how to take your work seriously and still laugh at yourself?

Professional behavior - in studio or on stage - requires a sense of self.  It requires a respect of self and an awareness of self in order to SEE others.  It needs a sense of balance,  a sense of focus and a sense of pliability.  Behavior also needs to see outside itself, and observe:  Observation of self, and others and perception of same.

Perception IS reality.  If you and your behavior are perceived as disrespectful,  unaware, entitled, unprepared, you will be dismissed.  Sadly, often not given another chance, as this business is small and word gets around.  However, if you and your behavior creates a professionalism that is giving, focused, prepared,  ready to work,  ready to accept/challenge/develop,  and that energy is engaged and engaging - it will motivate others to WANT to work with you!

Being a professional is behaving like one.  From the guy who holds the elevator,  to the stage door security,  to the technical professionals in the theatre,  to your teachers and coaches/directors ,  to your colleagues and peers,    Their POSITION deserves respect and awareness.  As a performer,  you simply could not be shown in the best light without them.

Be aware of your process and THE process.  Respect it.  Give it attention.  Know the boundaries.  Respect them. 

Be on time.
Be prepared to do what you say you are there to do.
Be pliable.
Be focused.
Discover and respect ALL boundaries.
Be aware of ALL of those who are there to create a process and acknowledge them.
Simply BE a professional.  Being professional allows no room for negativity, whining and excuses.  Those things are for the wannabes who will be asked to leave the table.

See? That isn't so hard is it? 

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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