Interviewing with masks on is a real challenge–especially in a warehouse!

For all of us, it’s been a challenging 20 months. But I’m so thankful for intersecting with so many wonderful people, causes and communities through my work. I thought I’d take a moment here to shout them out.

CREATIVE PARTNERS

In the storytelling business, clients are not so much customers as partners. I’ve been lucky to create content with wonderful teams telling important stories. Generate Impact (@MikeForster @BrianGreenwald) Jewish Federations of North America (@AlexandraCoffey) National Association of Chemical Distributors (@AileenSmith @LucindaShofer). The LuminarAI team at Skylum Software (@DougDaulton @RichardHarrrington) . US-Japan Bridging Foundation (@TomMasonJr @LaraMones). I was also privileged to work with team Interface Media Group (@AdamHurst @TimLorenz @JordanaWell and more) to create a hybrid event for a foundation and a virtual event for an environmental impact organization.

PRODUCTION TEAM PARTNERS

A special shout out to video editors @CarolineAllnutt @AbbeyFarkas and @LukeBlackburn, who have made my ideas look good and thankfully have added many more great ideas of their own. And to shooter/editor/associate producer @David Godbout, who kept me sane through some challenging projects. To producer @AmyJohanson for saying yes when she should probably have said no. To @JaySchlossberg

Collaborating on an edit in person, even with a mask, is the best!

Media Central and his always excellent crews wherever we travel to film. To @ZuryHammond for making social media happen. And to @ChrisNoble and the team at Noble Transcription Services—hooray for human transcribers! Thanks to the team at Otthouse Audio for making our sound mixes rock, whether for live or remote content. I can’t wait to work with all of you again soon.

Finally got back on the road for this shoot, which was great.

TRAINING PARTNERS

Helping others tell a better story has always helped me be a better director/producer myself. I’ve been privileged to present at multiple conferences with the team Future Media Conferences. And to work on many LinkedInLearning courses with @RachelLongman at the team at RHED Pixel, where I tape and produce my classes. I’m also grateful to my publishing team Routledge Press for helping me bring forth yet another book this past year. And to my co-author @CherylOttenritter, who is also the world’s best sound mixer!

Putting together my latest LinkedIn Learning course, with Covid-19 spacing and masking.

GALSNGEAR

Back in 2016 I had a crazy idea while walking into the ladies room with no line (!) at an industry event to get more women there, and diverse women, and to amplify their work its stages. That’s grown into our #GALSNGEAR movement to empower women in media and tech, and last year we launched a Leadership Accelerator to get more women upskilled for whatever kind of leadership journeys they want. We are buoyed by the volunteer hours, financial support and just sheer resolve in the face of obstacles of so many. We’re grateful to our colleagues at NAB and NAB Show (@DonnaPage @JonathanToomey @MichelleKelly @JessicaCurtis @RachelleMuckle), at DELL (@CindyOlivo @MollyConnelly), Blackmagic Design

Check out our new #GALSNGEAR Career Accelerator for women in media/tech December 15-16 https://linktr.ee/galsngear

(@TerryFrechette), Platform Communications (@GayBell), our core team @DanildaMartinez @ESamanthaCheng @KimberlySkyrme @AdryennAshley @EllynMcKay @SusanBorke), new friends @FrancesIlla and @IsabelMcLane, and old friends and colleagues at Women in Film and Video @wifvdc . You are all amazing women and men making our industry just a little bit better every day.

FAMILY AND MORE

Of course you can’t be an entrepreneur without being grateful to your family for putting up with your crazy hours, distracted moments, and random shouts of joy. Thanks, guys, you know I love you.

Last but not least, I’m thankful to you readers, whether you’re a regular” at my blog or just stumbled here. It’s great to share ideas with you. Have a wonderful giving season, and if you’re in the states, a great Thanksgiving holiday!

 

We creatives have unique challenges for public speaking. We must continually present and pitch our work as part of the production process. In addition, freelance and small business creatives need to increase visibility to promote our work, which means grabbing thought leadership opportunities to speak on stages and present at conferences and events.  I don’t know about you, but for me, public speaking is a skill I’ve had to develop over many years. I’m lucky enough to have some musical theater in my background (jazz hands!), but that’s not entirely like keynoting in a room filled with hundreds of strangers. Or presenting a creative concept to a group of clients. And these days I’m also teaching video courses on LinkedIn Learning, hosting livestreamed webinars, and “presenting” to camera on Zoom almost every day. So if you are like me and your focus is on your creative work, and if you happen to be an introvert, all of this public speaking can be a challenge. So I’ve pulled together a few tips that I hope can be helpful.

A Few Speaking Best Practices
This might seem obvious, but wear something that gives you confidence. Stand (or sit) up straight. Speak with conviction–not too loud, but not too softly. If presenting online, invest in a good microphone. (See my blog post on web audio for suggestions.) Smile! Try to enjoy yourself, even if public speaking isn’t your thing. Because the audience can sense when you are miserable, and that can affect how they hear–or don’t–what you have to say. Try not to be thrown off by questions. If someone really throws you a curveball, be willing to say “I can’t answer that right now but I’ll be happy to email you after this event.”

Pitching Creative Concepts
When presenting to clients or prospective clients, I try to be sure to spend plenty of time listening. That can be hard, since I’m usually very excited about the ideas my team and I are presenting. But don’t fill every pause. Let your audience absorb your ideas and visual concepts at their own pace. Let them ask questions. Don’t get defensive (this one is SO hard). Take copious notes instead and offer to revert back with additional ideas if needed. One thing I like to do when pitching creative is to ask these two questions: “What about this idea is really exciting to you?” and also “What about this idea makes you nervous?” That last question can put people at ease that you are willing to problem-solve when getting to a shared decision about the creative direction for this project.

Presenting at Conferences, Webinars and Live Events
I’ve made literally hundreds of presentations at live and virtual events, and I can say there are just two really big takeaways to remember. First, know your audience. It’s not enough to know your subject. You want to understand where the audience is coming from, what they are likely to want to learn, and what level of detail might be best reserved for additional materials they can find from you later. The second tip is give examples. Theoretical information is fine, but real world examples always make an impression on an audience. If you can back those up with behind-the-scenes video or photos, even better.

Being Interviewed: Strategies for Panels and Podcasts
As someone who interviews people for a living for video productions, I always do my homework. I need to learn about the person and their interests as well as the stories they are likely to tell. However, being on the flip side, interviewers don’t always take their time to do background research. So you need to come prepared with several different stories and examples, and have a good sense of the audience for this panel or podcast. If you’re on a panel, hopefully your host has already had a preliminary call with you and the other panelists to map out who will talk about what. If not, take it upon yourself to do this, or at least cover the possible topics in an email. You don’t want someone to steal your thunder, nor do you want to do the same. So it’s best to have some sense of the flow in advance.

I hope these tips are helpful, and that you get a chance to do more public speaking, and better yet, to enjoy it!

Amy DeLouise is a video producer, trainer, author and speaker. You can find out where she’s speaking next here: https://www.amydelouise.com/speaking/

Photo by Sophie Keen for Unsplash

Navigating career transitions is always a challenge, especially in an evolving business climate. But it’s possible to put your best brand forward in a way that allows you to pivot to a new area of work as a creative professional. In this blog post, I’ll cover four key areas for ensuring you have the ability to pivot quickly and effectively.

  1. Define Core Values for Your Brand

As Jendi Coursey discussed in her guest blog post here last month, customers are embracing values as a focal point in decision-making. Businesses and individuals who offer a values-first focus are more likely to get repeat business. And, I’d suggest, when you embrace a mission connected to values, you are able to develop a different pricing structure, because you are building a long-term relationship with that client or customer, not just a quick deal. When pivoting to a new market vertical, or to an entirely new business model (aka, virtual workflow, etc.), you are better positioned to move fast if that mission focus is still driving your decision-making. So, for example, in my business we pivoted from creating content for live events to helping our clients produce virtual experiences. While the end product was different, our core values of quality, a focus on authentic storytelling, and audience impact were still at the heart of our work.

  1. Conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis

Now is a great time to do a personal SWOT assessment—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. If you need more information on how to get started, check out this article from SCORE—the Service Corps of Retired Executives, a volunteer organization that allows experienced retired executives mentor younger business owners. You can use this SCORE Checklist to help you narrow down the questions to get at your SWOT analysis. The benefit of conducting a periodic SWOT is to help you define your brand, create marketing tools that position your business or service appropriately, or help you define a new business angle, product or service.

  1. Develop Big Hairy Audacious Goals

One of my favorite takeaways from the book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras is the “BHAG”—which stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Every entrepreneur needs these goals to ensure we are looking past the day-to-day to some significant long-term objectives. And even if you work on staff inside a company, it’s worth targeting your BHAG to be sure you have a life-changing target that can drive your professional development plan. I keep my BHAGs on a white board over my desk, which also contains all my company’s ongoing projects and proposals. By having my BHAG there–both business and personal–I’m mindful of not losing sight of my long-term goals and strategies in the flurry of daily work.

  1. Tips for Transition Marketing

As the market transitions from virtual to hybrid and then to frankly who knows what, it’s important to be mindful of how your portfolio, your social media, and your resume position you for what’s next. Be sure your social channels are aligned with where you want to go. (So often I see headshots with sexy poses or pictures of beloved animals, which don’t really help me know who this person is professionally.) If you are job-hunting as a gig worker, be sure to highlight your soft skills when posting on platforms like LinkedIn. These include your ability to work with a team, your ability to use new tools or software to get the job done efficiently; and your willingness to manage your own time to deliver quality outcomes. Software and hardware tools and certifications are great, but these change constantly. It’s your work ethic and ability to be function as part of a team that makes you hire-able again and again.

The future of work post-Covid is still evolving. The best we can do is be ready for it.

Amy DeLouise is an entrepreneur, digital storyteller, and trainer. Check out her panel of creatives who pivoted their careers during the Post|Production Online conference April 10-13.

Frederick Van Johnson’s POV while he records us on his podcast This Week in Photo

I’m so honored to have been interviewed on #podaster @frederickvan amazing series This Week in Photo, the world’s most popular photography podcast network! We had a great discussion about creativity, filmmaking, and what it takes to be a multihttps://thisweekinphoto.com/-platform content creative. #podcasts #ageofconversation #contentcreator #storyteller #videoproduction #GALSNGEAR

Many people are kicking off the New Year with a career transition. Whether you are looking to advance in your current job or switch to a different career track, you might find it useful to conduct a personal SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Consider Your Core Values

But before we jump into that, take a moment to assess your Core Values—what it is that matters to you in your current career. These should be broad ideals, not necessarily specific to your current job. For example, I like being able to make a difference. In my work as a video producer, I’m able to do this by telling important stories. But if I wanted to make a career shift, I could look at other jobs that don’t involve video, but still have making a difference as a core value. What are the values that make you tick? Jot down at least two.

Identify Your Strengths

Now, consider your strengths in two categories—those that help you in your chosen field, and those “soft skills” that could help you advance in any career.  For example, if you are a video editor, your strengths might include being able to learn a new editing software quickly. This strength can go in both columns, because your ability to upskill and apply new capabilities to improving your job is a talent that you can apply to any job. Another strength might be the ability to complete work under tight deadlines. In other words, you are good at time management. This is a soft skill that can apply to multiple careers. Make a two-column list of your top 5 strengths and identify which are unique to your current job, and which can be applied more broadly to other work opportunities.

Define Your Weaknesses

I like to think of these as personal challenges to overcome. Mine include being impatient with people who might take longer than I do to come to a decision. What are your challenges? Some common ones include Imposter Syndrome—feeling like you aren’t the expert you really are in your chosen field.  Or perhaps you are risk-averse. This can be a strength, particularly if you are in a field such as accounting. But if you are an entrepreneur, not being willing to try new markets or products can be an obstacle to success.  Identify at least 5 of your top weaknesses or challenges. Consider what tools you might have for overcoming those challenges. Strategies can include finding a mentor in a particular area of interest, joining a professional organization in order to transition to a new market, or taking an online course to improve your skills.

List Threats

I know, it’s out of order for the acronym. But I like to list threats before heading to opportunities. Threats can exist within your organization. Or they can occur outside, in the economic ecosystem. Occasionally a single threat can affect both. I think we can all agree that the Coronavirus created a massive external threat that affected many internal business systems, including funding and staffing.  More common threats might be managing your time when a company has a heavy meetings culture. Or working in a field such as energy that is going through a major transformation, which could eliminate your job.  List your top three threats.

Find Opportunities

Now you see why I wanted the Strengths, Weaknesses, and Threats listed first.  You can now be thinking about opportunities that maximize your strengths, help you avoid or conquer threats, and give you the chance to overcome your weaknesses. Relocating might be a solution for a market that is saturated with too many employees with your skill set.

Tools

If you’re someone who likes to use apps to visualize your work, here are some tools to use for your SWOT exercise:

http://creately.com/SWOT-Analysis-Software

https://www.gliffy.com/

http://www.wikiwealth.com/swot-analysis-generator

You might also enjoy Jim Collins terrific book Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.

Whether you write them on a napkin or make a jazzy chart, stay focused on your Core Values and then assess your SWOT. It’s a great way to kick off a successful New Year.

 

Amy DeLouise is a digital media entrepreneur who often leads business workshops and has authored a number of business and digital media courses on LinkedIn Learning.