How to make a lasting impression | Surviving Actors column

In advance of the Surviving Actors Manchester event I wanted to share my top ten tips to help you make a last impression for all the right reasons. 

1) Put your work head on

Sometimes there can be a temptation to go to event and get caught up in the fun and games. Remember why you are there and why you want to give the best impression of yourself. 

2) Decide

What do you want to gain from the event? A new agent? An action plan to get started? Some specific knowledge? In a busy environment it can be easy to be swept along with the general hullabaloo, so know what you want to take away so you can remain focused. 

3) Research

Take time in advance to see what is available (workshops/seminars/1:1 chats) and then hone your knowledge. So if a particular agent is speaking, research their history and brand so you can ask relevant and appropriate questions. 

4) Plan

Make a plan for the day so you know where you are going and when. Leave some time for general networking, exploring and chatting as you never know who you may meet. 

5) Prepare

Pull together all your tools; your headshot, CV, business cards. I love MOO. (Email me nicky (at) bereadycoaching (dot) com to receive a £10 credit to your account.)

Don’t be one of those actors who says ‘Oh I don’t have it with me, can I send it to you?’ You are more likely to make a last impression if you are able to deliver on the spot. 

6) Organise

Some kind of nice presentation situation goes a long way. I remember talking to an actor who had to get his sweaty gym kit out of his bag and chuck on the floor to retrieve his crumpled (no doubt sweaty!) CV. Not cool.

7) The basics

The firm handshake, the eye contact, the fresh breath will always be winners. So how can you elevate yourself further? How can you stand out? I don’t mean feathers or a jaunty hat… I mean, most will roll out of bed and throw on the nearest thing whatever state it is in. Take some time on your appearance and think about how you present yourself especially when you meet casting directors as you are always giving clues about your cast type. 

8) Ask smart questions- don't just talk about yourself

Don’t go all 'The Apprentice' on people ‘I am the most amazing actor you’ll ever meet at x,y and z... look out for me!’.

Instead use opportunities to ask questions and add value. Not only will you learn but it is likely that the meeting will progress into a creative conversation.

9) Listen and engage

Be in the moment. Don’t peer over the shoulders that are in front of you to make sure there isn’t someone more interesting in the background. Be present, open, friendly and positive. 

10) Follow up and do what you say you are going to do

On leaving the event, make a plan of action. Write a list of those you want to follow up with and do it within a couple of days. Do not procrastinate or ignore because you worry that you won’t remember you. I recently did a talk for over a hundred people and gave my email at the end inviting those in the room to follow up. Guess how many did? Three. Yes, that's right, only three. So many missed out because they didn't follow up. That was a year ago and I still have continued email support with them helping them along the way and championing their careers. See, it really is that easy to be exceptional. Just do what you say you are going to do. Most don’t.