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Are You Really Listening?

Have you ever heard someone explain the difference between hearing and listening? According the University of Minnesota, “Hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do.”

In other words, there’s a difference!

Being A Voice Seeker

hearing-vs-listeningThis week I had a very interesting experience on the other side of the table. Instead of filling the role of voice actor, I had the opportunity to work with a client in the role of a voice seeker.

As a talent, I’m used to submitting my audition and then never really knowing what happens next. Unless, of course, I book the job. I don’t know what other talent say. I don’t hear their demos. I never really know what the competition is like.

This week I found out. And what I discovered was a little disheartening.

Hearing vs Listening

I assisted a client with casting a project. I put the information out to a number of people in my network with very simple instructions. “If you’re interested in this project please simply reply with your contact info and a link to your demo. The client will then be in touch if they’re interested.”

What happened next was really surprising!

Less than 20% of the talent that responded to my offer actually listened to what I said.

The responses I got from talent varied from full out novels to sales pitches and all points in between. The vast majority of them did not include demos (one of the VERY SIMPLE instructions I included). A couple of them didn’t even include requested contact information!

If You’re Not Listening You’re Losing

man-with-ears-pluggedAs I mentioned, less than 20% of the respondents actually followed the instructions I offered. Which means that 80% of the respondents got tossed in the trash immediately!

In some senses, having people not listen to and follow simple instructions made my job as the middleman easier. I was able to eliminate a huge portion of the participants pool with one swift and easy step. On the other hand, it was embarrassing for me to see that many people (who call themselves professional) screw up something as simple as providing contact info and a demo!

It’s not enough to hear what your clients are asking for. You’ve got to really listen. Read the instructions thoroughly. Follow them entirely. When in doubt, ask for clarity.

It’s not enough to hear what your clients are asking for. You’ve got to really listen.

If you’re wondering why you’re not booking work, this could very well be one of the reasons why!

QUESTION: Have you ever had a similar experience on the voice seeker side?