Investing in training and development is an important part of any business. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be very difficult to know who the people are that can offer what you need. And that’s frustrating as hell. We all want to make sure we spend our money wisely and get a good return on our investment. We don’t want to feel like we have been duped or that we didn’t learn anything that will help us. And believe me, it’s hard. For some reason, the voice over industry has a large proportion of people selling their services as Guru’s and experts that can’t quite deliver on their promises. Some due to thinking they are better at teaching than they really are and others who deliberately use and abuse new talent in order to make money.
Recently I had the displeasure of sitting through a free 1 hour “Masterclass” on a certain voice over subject. That is how it was billed. A Masterclass. Halfway through the presentation it became completely obvious that this was actually a Masterclass in someone hawking their services and not providing any actionable information apart from “join my paid class and you will find out more!”. My time is precious. I was really interested in what this person offered. If they had given some great information on this subject that made me think “this person really knows their stuff” then I would have signed up for the paid class without hesitation. Now, I will never use their services. Not because they are not good at what they do. Maybe they are. They misled me and I that is a big No-No in my book. I just prefer the old adage “under-promise and over deliver”.
Remember, it is your responsibility to perform your due diligence on any service you are going to hire. There are many avenues available to check on whether the person you are choosing to learn from is the real deal. Here are a few:
1. Ask people in the industry! You will be surprised how willing people are to give you feedback. But be careful, many people don’t like to talk negatively. The question I like to ask is “are you still using their services”. If not, ask them why and treat it as a red flag. There are many places to ask fellow talent these questions. Zoom chats, Facebook groups or even email. Most professional talent who have been doing this for a while will have a website with their email or at least a contact page. I do my best to always reply to anyone who has a question and I found that is true for many others.
2. Check the providers website carefully and look for testimonials. Don’t stop there though. If the testimonial has a name, search that name, and see if it is a successful working professional. If you find their contact details, call them, or email them and ask about the experience.
3. Does the providers website look professional and up to date? A poor website in this day and age is a tell-tell sign of someone who is not serious about what they do.
4. Do they have examples of what they do? Any provider of services should provide good examples of what they do. A sample video of their training is ideal.
5. Does the person offer a free session to discuss whether working together will be mutually beneficial?
And remember, sometimes you will do your due diligence and still end up being disappointed. This happened to me recently. I paid for a two-week course in a particular field that I thought would improve my skills. This person had good reviews and sent out monthly email blasts. Unfortunately, I did not click with course content and the way it was presented. Maybe others in the class found it enlightening, it can be a very subjective. Now, if anyone is asks me about training in that particular field, I will give them my honest opinion.
This shouldn’t be the wild west. The voice over community is very strong and most are willing to share their experiences. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. The worst that can happen is that they don’t reply. Big deal. They were probably busy. If you want to reach out to me, go to my contact page and submit a form or use my email address that is on that page. I promise I will do everything I can to back to you as quickly as possible.