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There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Models, Technology & Communication

Okay, if you know anything about me, you know that I'm professional to a fault.

What I love about having my blog, mentoring, coaching and consulting is that it gives me the chance to educate the next wave of models on how to practice the good habits (not develop bad ones) and understand the importance that their polished and professional approach will be to the success of their modeling goals.

Technology has taken over our lives and social media, love it or hate it, is a part of our daily routine. This includes doing business. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to network and do business using today's innovations.

Just because social media is everywhere and just because it's easy doesn't mean you can be lazy or rely too heavily on it. Failing to exercise proper communication methods, not caring about excessive typos and treating potential clients or professional contacts as some random person in your social media world is a quick way to derail any approach to a sensible career.

EMAIL STILL REIGNS SUPREME

I don't care what anyone says, the majority of professionals in the modeling industry want you to contact them via email!

Even if they have an IG, FB Page, Snap, etc., their business email address is the best place to start if you want to reach out to network, submit to a casting, etc.

DM (direct messaging for those of you still getting familiar with social media) through Instagram or Facebook profile/page is an option but if you want to be taken seriously--and have your message checked in a timely manner--make your first contact through the email address.

Can't find the email address for whatever reason? Then you can contact them via DM to ask what is the best method of communication and go from there. If they prefer DM instead of email then that's fine but if you are contacting someone for the first time (i.e. a model looking for a photographer to test shoot with, a makeup artist, stylist/designer, client), their email address is going to be the way to get your foot in the door with building rapport.

WHY EMAIL?

Although most people check their social media profiles regularly, business people always check their emails. Social media is prone to being weird and sometimes notifications don't get sent and it can be annoying to have to take out the extra time to check multiple accounts manually to make sure you're not missing a message.

Professionals in the modeling industry know their time is valuable and the most straightforward way to guarantee your message will be seen is to shoot over an email.

It's essentially foolproof and doesn't require pesky requirements like sending a friend request. Regardless of who you are, if you know the email address, you can send a message. Simple as that.

Again, if the person in question that you want to contact states their preference for a non-email method of communicating, then follow what they say but in general you can't go wrong with email.

ACT PROFESSIONAL IN ALL ASPECTS

It's perfectly fine to "like" and comment on a person's social media profile, such as a photographer, designer, makeup artist, etc. But it's not a good look to post gibberish, a bunch of emojis or typo riddled comments. This is a quick way to get an eye roll and not be taken seriously.

Professionals in the modeling industry already have enough people likely competing for their attention and acting anything less than mature and professional won't encourage them to want to engage with you further.

IT ISN'T TOO MUCH TO ASK TO KNOW HOW TO TYPE SENTENCES PROPERLY!

My biggest pet peeve with social media is that it's made people lazy when it comes to grammar and communicating with one another. Please realize that modeling is a business. Time is money. It's a harsh industry. If you don't care enough to craft an email or even a text that doesn't take several people to decipher, don't bother trying to step up your game.

When sending a message to someone you don't know, it is NOT okay to start the message/email with "Hey," "Yo," "What's up," etc., etc. It's rude and disrespectful (and if you don't think so, I'm sorry to say that you're not possessing the correct business mindset). Trust me when I say this lack of proper salutation will not make a good first impression. Even if the rest of the message is fine, it's not a good start.

Care enough about what you write to proofread it before you send it. Read it out loud and see if it makes sense. If it doesn't or if you know you want to tweak a sentence or two, do it. Never send a business related email or inquiry unless you feel confident it reads properly and professionally.

Do you just suck at writing and can't spell anything correctly to save your life? There are a lot of people that fall under that category. That's when you ask for help from someone you know is a whiz at that kind of thing. Ask for assistance writing the message and don't be afraid to accept help when it's offered. It's in your best interest and can only help you, not hurt you.

Don't rely on spellcheck alone. That's writing 101. Not sure how something is spelled or the use of a certain word or phrase? Look it up! That's what Google is for (or whatever search engine you prefer). If you can look up memes and YouTube videos, you can look up relevant info related to business correspondence.

SKYPE

Being able to speak to someone using Skype is a convenient way to handle business when emailing or talking on the phone won't suffice. It's also a good way to play it safe when it comes to making sure you know who you are talking to. While public face-to-face meetings are ideal, Skype and other services like it are the next best thing.

Similar to email, stay professional. Find a spot in your home or other location that isn't too noisy or distracting. You don't have to wear a suit or anything but don't look sloppy. You only have to worry about your top half so stay comfy in sweatpants if you want but throw on a decent, clean top. Make sure there isn't anything in your background that's unsightly (i.e. open closet door with clutter and clothes spilling out or posters/wall art that may be offensive or inappropriate).

Present yourself as put together and professional and the business contact on the other end will be able to focus on your conversation, not other distractions.

Also make sure you have a good connection to have a fairly smooth Skype meeting and test drive the program in advance if you've never used it before or not enough to be familiar with the features. You don't want to test drive the experience using a real conversation that could be important to your modeling endeavors.

RECOGNIZE BUSINESS HOURS

Even if the people you want to connect with in the modeling industry are not technically working in an office M-F from 9-5pm, you still need to respect the fact that they have a life outside of work (even workaholics have down times when they don't want to be bothered).

Email and DM is convenient in the sense that you can send a message any day, any time and they will respond at their earliest convenience.

But when it comes to Skyping/Face time or Messenger calling and regular calls/text messages, follow the unwritten rule of avoiding these methods of contact after 5pm. Even if the person is working, it's professional courtesy to not blow up someone's phone in the evening when they may be having dinner, spending time with their family, relaxing or focusing on work projects with deadlines.

Face timing or calling someone on Messenger over and over is not only annoying, it's a guaranteed way to ensure they won't ever want to pick up. If you call once and they don't pick up, don't call right back. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed this--and have been on the receiving end. It drives me nuts. Clearly, that person is unavailable so take the hint.

If you need to contact that person regarding something specific, such as a photographer you're working on a shoot with or if you can't make it to a casting or other type of emergency situation, that's acceptable but if you just want to talk or have questions that you know can wait until the next day, play it safe and don't reach for that phone. Send an email instead or wait until the next morning when they're likely just starting the day and are in a position to have a conversation.

See why I favor emails so much? :-)

BE PATIENT

Some people respond quickly to emails and other modes of business communication, while others may take a few hours or a day to get back. Keep in mind that if you are reaching out to them, you're on their time and need to respect their schedule. Don't get eager and send a follow up message to ask if they got it. Chances are they did and they'll get back to you at their earliest convenience.

If a few days passes, wait it out. In the business world, it's ideal to give at least 2-3 days for a person to get back to your email before following up, if it's not a time sensitive matter. And if you do end up following up, don't be rude about it.

Be polite. It's called "tact." Your approach is everything. Instead of saying, "Hey, did you get my email?" or "Just checking why you haven't responded yet?" say something along the lines of, "Hello, I wanted to follow up and see if you received my email I sent a few days ago? I wanted to make sure it didn't go to your spam folder or anything. I'm looking forward to your reply. Thank you!" Short and sweet.

Are people flakey? Sure! This can include so-called "professionals" in the modeling industry. However, that doesn't mean that you need to be unprofessional as a result. If the person you're trying to network with isn't acting professionally and hasn't been good about their own communication skills, chances are this isn't someone you need to make the effort to want to work with.

If you've been corresponding with someone for a short time and they've always been really responsive and then suddenly they're taking a bit longer to reply back, give them some space, not grief. They are probably doing that thing called, you know, working...living...that kind of thing. Stuff comes up. Put it in perspective before you take a brief absence of response as some sort of personal insult.

You'll recognize a solid professional connection with you see it and in that sense, it should push you to be even more diligent about how you present yourself when reaching out to build what hopefully will be a beneficial and positive working relationship to further your modeling career.

***I didn't cover the method of talking on the phone because I sure hope you know enough about phone etiquette to know how speak properly to another human being. If not, well, I don't know what to tell you but getting into modeling probably shouldn't be a priority if you can't even hold a solid phone convo, haha***

3 comments:

Sarah said...

LOL! This could not be more spot-on. I really hope your readers take the time to read and digest this - it's very valuable, and, it really does matter and make a difference.

GREAT website by the way!! Major props from a fellow ModelMentor.

P.S. This part especially is tickling me: "***I didn't cover the method of talking on the phone because I sure hope you know enough about phone etiquette to know how speak properly to another human being. If not, well, I don't know what to tell you but getting into modeling probably shouldn't be a priority if you can't even hold a solid phone convo, haha***"
LOL

steve said...

Hello Dania:

I agree with all of Sarah's comments! You have written some great advice! Well lets face it, most models are very young, don't have college degrees, many have not graduated from high school, and still learning about the world. So yeah, there are quite a few that haven't learned how to "speak properly to another human being”, but we are understanding, as this is normal for their age. So we teach them proper "etiquette", problem solved! Those who can't hold a "solid phone convo" aren't going to be very successful models, lol! The same advice follows for your proceeding blog (article), “Models, Shoots, Shows + Common Sense Tips”.
And yes, you are professional to a fault, mature and responsible for your age, and that is a necessary component of successful modeling. After reading your 5 part series on Modeling and Branding, I was really happy to see this article as a follow up. So if I understand correctly, “email still reigns supreme” over less precise forms of communications found on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, and even including texting.

Perhaps many aspiring models don’t have enough to write about or enough credits to post regularly on social media platforms? When should a model start posting regularly? I find that as a newbie, Model Mayhem is a very good site to start with.

Back in 2000, when I was first learning how to use computers regularly as a student at the University of Colorado, my professor taught me how important it was to keep practicing every day, and that certainly includes emails! After writing more than 4,000 emails and earning a stack of college degrees, I learned professional writing techniques. So you learn how to use email effectively, like adding clients to your contact list so the messages don’t get lost or delayed in your junk mail. Spelling errors really turn people off, so you must use a spell check program to be considered seriously! Save the “What’s up and Hey” for communicating with established friends. If I don’t proofread my writing, it nearly always contains grammatical errors. Yes, so you sound out the words in your head, then translate the words into writing. I use my thesaurus frequently to find the perfect word (and spelling). Writing is more precise than speech.

I’ve only used Skype a couple of times so far. I think agents want to see what you look like and how you speak in addition to seeing your headshots. Is Skype more popular for use business use vs. personal use?

Email is great for me because I write a lot of emails after business hours. I’m still cautious about sending some emails too late at night, because your recipients will be notified what time you sent them. I’ve received many replies from business people evenings and weekends from well-written emails. Just wondering if a follow up to this article might reference additional educational techniques for improving email writing skills if this is not too far off the modeling topic?

When I think about a running list of modeling topics you could write about in the future, what comes to mind first is the importance of maintaining good health, particularly as models age, and some basic tips. Even young models who gain a little weight might get passed over for a fit model. Your related label, “skincare and grooming”, does have quite a few related articles on maintaining skin, hair and fingernails. And you do mention multivitamins in your July 24, 2008 blog. Perhaps an article about teeth might be useful, since after eyes, it may be one of a models’ most important features? Do you have any basic dietary or other tips on maintaining healthy, white teeth? Are perfect teeth a little less important for commercial models, male models and older models?
Steve Norwood

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Steve! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #942," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!