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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Self-perception vs. Others’ Perceptions

Take a moment to think of 3 adjectives that you would use to describe yourself as a professional. Got them? Good, now think of 3 words that you think others (colleagues, agents, past clients, etc.) would use to describe you - and be honest. Do your adjectives all match? If they don’t, there may be a bit of a disparity in your self-perception versus how others view you.

Consider this example: a friend of mine, who’s also a voice actor, recently told me about a past client of his that had reached out to him for some repeat work. At the end of the project, the client told him that he was so happy for the opportunity to work together again, as he had been very pleased with my friend’s performance the first time. The client then mentioned that he had initially hesitated to contact my friend because he thought he couldn’t afford him. This surprised my friend at bit, as he had always considered himself to be well within the range of affordability. It also made him realize that at some point, he must have done something to give that client the impression that he was too expensive.

This story is a perfect example of the difference that can happen between self-perception and that of others. My friend thought he was affordable; the client thought otherwise and was reluctant to call him for work. While it worked out in the end for my friend, what if that client had decided not to call? How many potential jobs would that have cost my friend, or worse, how many other clients have labeled him as too expensive?

This illustrates just how important it is for your view yourself to match (or at least get as close to matching as possible) that of your clients. If you see yourself as one way, you need to work to make sure that others perceive you in the same light. If you don’t, that disparity could end up costing you. 

It never hurts to inquire either. Simply by asking your client a broad question like, "What is it that you're looking for in a VO talent for your projects?" See how soon the subject of cost come up.

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