First Impressions: The first impression you make on someone is your calling card. When you make a good one, you create the best potential for someone wanting to support you. If the first impression is bad, or even just not good, you lose out on opportunities. Often we don't get a second chance to create an image that gets mileage. Therefore, I encourage you to be conscious of all the ways that first impression are made on potential fans and industry people who might advance your career. Then do what you can to make it a good one. People you haven't met or who are coming into contact with you for the first time will make judgments about you from:
*Your phone presence: An impression is conveyed by how you speak on the phone. I get many calls from people who mutter and sound like they're falling asleep. I forget them as soon as I hang up. I'm told I give good phone because I'm friendly and cheerful. Your tone of voice leaves a strong impression on someone who doesn't know you. Sounding positive and upbeat makes people want to hear from you again. They're more likely to remember you. If you call someone because you want something from them (press, radio play, to book a gig), have a script in front of you if necessary. Make sure you sound confident and professional. And don't drag out the conversation!
*Your personality: People don't like deadheads or grumps. They like being around those who bring them up, not down. When you first meet someone, you can begin to build a rapport with them that can last through your career. Before you go out to network, read up on many things so you have interesting things to add to discussions. An energetic presence is contagious. Friendly and professional is the personality to aim for when you're trying to make a good impression so people want to deal with you.
*Your press kit: A well put together press kit can be a wonderful calling card. A good photo can make someone want to know more. Make yours inviting. It should truly represent your image. Don't have a cluttered kit. Make it clean and professional, getting as much across as you can on just a few sheets.
*Your website: Is your web site disorganized or cluttered? Does it make all the info accessible to the visitor? I've gone to sites that were difficult to navigate. An attempt to be creative or clever isn't always easily translated into which link will bring me to what. If I have to search for contact info, I probably won't contact you. I've gone to many sites of artists that I was interested in interviewing and gave up trying to decipher what was where. I've also been surprised by how many websites are sparse - many of the artist's achievements aren't listed.
*Your representative: Whether you have an experienced manager or a friend/fan helping you out, make sure it's someone who will make a good impression. A & R people, club promoters, and people in the press say that they've passed on musicians because their rep was a pain in the butt. That's not the impression you want to give! They will associate your rep with you. Make sure it's someone who acts in a professional manner and knows how to approach people without coming across as a pest.
*Your business card: A plain, simple card gives folks your info. A well designed card on nice paper makes people take you more seriously. I've had many cards since I began but they've always been special. A card that makes people say, "nice card," will also make them think that you're doing well. Even when I was losing money, the impression that I gave with my fancy card said "successful." When your image fades in someone's memory after an event, all people have is your card to remember you by.
Reprinted from Daylle's Music Resource Newsletter