What do you get when you mix a team of customer service agents, several digital marketers and 1 renowned acting coach? A killer day of professional development! The SPS DGTL team spent the day at the Performing Arts San Antonio to learn a little about the stage and the screen. Our coach, Paul Tinder, has worked on a number of movies and tv shows. Ever heard of Days of Our Lives? We have, and we quickly swiped right on this opportunity! (Get it? It's a Tinder joke)
So what do acting and digital have in common? Quite a lot, thanks for asking! What started as a professional development exercise quickly began to resonate with our team. Some of the basic principles we learned were applicable to multiple projects our team is working on. We learned way more than we expected but here are the major takeaways.
Speak to your audience, not to the void.
It’s easy to forget, both in acting and marketing, that you aren’t shouting into the void, there is someone specific you are talking to. There should be a goal to the things you are saying. And with that goal comes a specific way of speaking. In our class, we had to state out goal before saying any of our lines so that it was always in the back of our minds. Same goes for most all parts of marketing. What is the goal behind the blog or post you are writing? Why are you using that specific keyword? If there is no goal and no specific audience, then what’s the point?
Always have intention. You should be doing something to your audience.
After ironing out your audience and goal, you need to think about your intent. In class, Paul told us to find an emotional verb to describe how we were communicating. Simply educating the audience didn’t work. Did we want to inspire them? Did we want to challenge them? You can still communicate the same information but establishing a tone can make all the difference in how the information is received. This is also an important thing to think about in marketing, and in extension, customer service. What do you want to do to your audience? Doing something, evoking some sort of emotion is so much more powerful than simply “educating”.
Being a human shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong! We did take after take where the critique would be “Is that how you talk in real life?” It’s much harder than you would think. It took a while to get used to the lines and to find a natural rhythm that came through on camera. We used a lot more energy but the results were pretty cool. In marketing, it’s easy to fall into a similar robotic pattern of going through the motions. But nobody (typically) wants to talk to a robot. Your content should, depending on the field, be in line with the way your audience speaks. Having human content doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be casual, but that it needs to mirror your audience’s language.
Similarly, for customer service you should always think about whether or not you sound like a human. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a customer service rep who is reading from a script. Like any other conversation you have, a customer service interaction should feel personal and engaging.
Don’t be afraid to explore and have fun.
Last but not least, you gotta have fun! Towards the beginning of our class, the team was pretty shy and clammy. Towards the end as we got more comfortable, we weren’t afraid to try new things, act bigger and just have fun with it! The words flowed easier and the takes were better once we relaxed and let go a little. No matter what you do, whether its acting, marketing, customer service or management, your work will be better if you are having fun. You should always let your passion shine through the work you produce. And you should never be afraid to suggest new ways of doing things, exiting new professional development opportunities or team building activities to lighten things up. Diversity and new ideas are the foundation of growth.
At SPS DGTL, we are lucky to have a culture that supports our growth and development. We are always on top of finding new opportunities to improve as individuals and as a team. Important lessons can come from the most unexpected places, so don't hesitate to try something new.
What we learned from a day of volunteering.