In any industry, effective communication is necessary to keep things moving and consistent. At its best, communication gets your point across and fosters a general awareness of a situation, brand, etc.
So why are so many comics NOT doing this?
Let’s be real, communication skill is something many comics don’t practice and it’s a bit baffling because so many claim they want to be successful comedians, but how they approach it says a whole different thing. Especially in entertainment, communication makes all the difference for what opportunities you get and don’t get, who you connect with, etc.
I see plenty of this in the NYC scene alone.
Here are the biggest communication flops you want to avoid.
Lack of responsiveness is something that will always leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth; in fact, this is probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to working with comics.
They either don’t communicate or communication is at a glacial pace.
Comics need to understand this industry is moving FAST, and no one will wait for you. There are so many comedians out there so there’s always another option. Even with REAL OPPORTUNITIES you’d be surprised how often comics take their time to respond. I remember having a conversation with a comic a year ago. She had just been passed at a club and the process entailed her giving the club her availability. Pretty standard with comedy clubs. According to her, it had been about two weeks since she received the message and she still hadn’t responded. It made me wonder if she was serious about comedy. If I’m finding confusion in her not following up in a timely manner, then I can only wonder what the person needing a reply is thinking.
Lack of response only hurts someone’s impression of you. The longer something is dragged out, the less serious you will be taken.
Communicating too much.
On the flip side of not communicating, there’s the other extreme of communicating too much.
I blame social media oversaturation for this occurrence, but communicating too much is something that’ll ultimately hurt you: too much of something leads to burnout. In this case, it’s not you burning out, it’s those receiving the message that tire of hearing from you.
Think about it, we all eventually hate that person who talks too much. Communicating too much leaves nothing to the imagination; there is value in leaving people wondering what you have to say.
On a more interpersonal level, communicating too much will ultimately rub people the wrong way. I’ve personally had my inbox blown up with tons of messages about booking. These are often from just one person. There is nothing wrong with following up to an inquiry, but when you’re barraging someone with continual communication, it’ll only be taken as pushy. Just like me, most people will likely end up ignoring you.
Not living up to your message.
Like any other comic, we all have our own unique message on stage.
However, when it comes to the business side, we all have the same message: we want to be booked. This is where selling yourself comes into play and it’s very common for comics to put out a message they cannot live up to. Believe me, I have received messages from comics that sell themselves like they are Aziz Ansari, Mark Normand, or Amy Schumer only to be presented with a tape that is less than satisfactory and no indication of a professional headshot.
If you’re going to sell yourself in such a grand fashion, exemplify what you are selling. People don’t want to feel like they were given a bait-and-switch.
Communication in itself is the key to a prosperous career, but it can also be the nail in the coffin if you don’t practice effectively.
So ask yourself, are you committing any of these communication flaws?
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!