What about the Follow up?

What about the Follow up?
Wednesday musings...

I'm a big fan of the follow up.  I've had a great deal of questions regarding how to do it, when to do it,  why to do it,  lately.  Perhaps I can give you some ideas.

What is "the follow up"?

Simply,  touching base with someone how has given you an opportunity to thank them for it.  

If you have a chance to sing for a master class or workshop;  take a lesson or consultation with someone; take a series of classes with someone;  audition for someone;  even have a chance to audition and have a conflict!;  a meeting with a director, or an MD, or an agent, or CD;

 ANY opportunity you might acquire in the business should be acknowledged.

The 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon in our business is actually less than 6 degrees.  The follow up can give you a professionalism that is undeniable and will filter through, trust me.

I STILL follow up: with colleagues, people in the business that I work with for the first time, meeting someone and having an exchange at a function and exchange of business cards, consultations, invitations to lecture or give workshops.  ALL of these contacts are important and deserve your attention.

When do you do this?  Soon.  I mean, don't stalk the person, but an email or postcard or note in the mail - whatever your part of the business deems appropriate,  within the week of a lesson or workshop, or the end of a series of classes, or an audition, or at a networking event is fine.

What do you say?  It depends on the meeting.  A simple thank you for the kind words or encouragement or whatever happened at said event and hope you are able to sing for/audition for/work with that person again.  If you discussed anything more - like repertoire, or another meeting, or an opportunity to send in your materials if it's a CD or agent - make sure you mention that.

If you are sending an email - which is probably the easiest way to communicate - send links to your website (yes you need a site) or your YouTube channel,  resume and head shot.  Don't send tons of attachments and clog up their inbox!  Links are MUCH better.

If you are thanking industry for coming to a performance, or inviting them to a performance, postcards are appropriate.  E-invite postcards are also appropriate.

If industry has made an effort to be at a performance - make an effort to acknowledge it.  It's YOUR business to be aware and follow up.

If you submit for a project and get an audition - FOLLOW UP.  Acknowledge receipt of said audition.  If you have a conflict, or decide you are not right for it,  still ACKNOWLEDGE IT.  Thank them for the opportunity but you have a conflict/unable to commit to the audition or project at this time.   You do not want to become known for the actor/singer who never follows up.  Trust me, we find out!  And maybe that company will be doing something AMAZING you are perfect for one day, and if you never followed up in previous submissions,  they might not want to be bothered with YOU.

Don't be a nuisance.  A follow up and leave it be.  We all keep files.  Even if you don't hear back you MAY at some point.  You don't want to start a Monty Python skit of "thank you; no thank YOU; no thank YOU for thanking ME" scenario.  Nor do want to begin to look like you are stalking every 2 weeks with "why haven't you gotten back to me yet" desperation!!

Keep things simple.  Keep them real.  No desperation.  No jazz hands.  Just be real.  It's simply enough. 

Don't let too much time go by so you aren't lost in the shuffle.  You don't want to be the "hi remember me? I sang for you at an audition last July" person.  If you get in touch within a week or two,  that keeps your name in focus.

Updating industry on what you are doing every few months if you have spoken to them through a workshop directly, or a series of classes,  or about representation isn't a bad thing either.  Letting them know you are DOING things, and continuing to pursue this crazy life keeps your name in focus too.

Ultimately,  it is common sense.  We need to develop that - common sense.  Thank people for giving you their time, attention and expertise.  Follow up on possible meetings, auditions, jobs!  Don't hesitate to simply say "thank you"!

If you want to be remembered, you have to make it so.  Be remembered for your work and your follow up.  Taking the time to email someone means more than you realize.  It puts positive check marks after your name.  Taking the time to CANCEL an appointment,  or acknowledge an audition time, or make changes puts you in the positive column.  Doing nothing does nothing - for you or your career.

Don't panic if you don't get an answer.  People are busy.  Be sincere,  be real, hit send and get on with it.

Follow up?  Yes, definitely.  EVERY time.

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

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