By. Brian Henninger
Today I want to talk about a subject that alludes many dancers especially in the commercial world within the audition experience, and this is the power of a good first impression. Impressions are how people affect others within the first few moments of meeting or coming into contact with each other. A good first impression can break down barriers between people, open up free and open communication, and lay the ground work for a positive and beneficial working relation ship. A bad first impression can cause someone to completely write you off, even though you may be a great person and a strong dancer. This is neither fair nor is it necessarily true of every experience, but what is clear is that impressions are very important. Its much more useful for your career to be liked by people in high places then not. This doesn’t mean you need to become “FAKE”, but does mean you should bear in mind how you come off to people when first meeting them. Here are a few tips to help you out with that strong first impression in auditions and meetings.
Make eye contact: People want to feel heard when they speak and also that they’re time is worth something. Making eye contact throughout your conversations and not letting your eyes wander all around the room shows that your engaged in what that person is saying as well as that you are confident in yourself and will stand by what your saying. In an audition setting when a choreographer asks you a question make sure to exude that confidence in yourself by making strong eye contact with them and answering clearly.
What is your body saying?: Eye contact is one thing, Body language is something totally different. How do you normally stand? Are your shoulders slumped foreward or are they pulled back and down? Do you stand with your chin up and chest out or do you focus down at the ground? During conversation are you fidgeting or are you calm and steady? These are important questions to ask yourself because you may not be aware that your body language is communicating something differently then what you are feeling. When in an audition setting you want to exude calm confidence and professionalism. Too much moving around while talking and nervous fidgeting will give off the impression that you are unsure of yourself. Your body language accounts for a great deal of how you communicate so be mindful of it and make sure you are getting the right message across.
Speak clearly and confidently: This seems like common sense but it can be such a trip up for some dancers. Often times at auditions ( especially commercial audition) dancers are asked to “SLATE” for camera. This means that you state your name, agency, and whatever other information they ask for on camera before you audition so that they can reference your audition video later for the client when they make their decisions. I’d like to believe that the way you slate for camera doesn’t have an effect on your audition but the truth is that at some level, even subconsciously, it does have an effect. After a long day of watching people’s audition tapes, a confident slate will make a casting director pay more attention because it wakes them up from they’re fog of watching so many audition tapes back to back.
These tips don’t just work in dance auditions but in every area of life that involves human interaction. The way you communicate to people, your tone of voice, body language and eye contact can greatly impact your ability to get your point across. The clearer you are, the less misunderstanding you will experience. Work on becoming a confident and strong communicator and add that to your list of strengths within dance. Life is all about relationships and communication so don’t make another bad impression when you have total control over it.
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