Last night we kicked off our 2015 professional development series with a wonderful discussion led by two members of the Wolf Trap Foundation’s Development team – Anne Tilson Coppola and Jackie Sims. They gave our singers some wonderful tips on how to survive and thrive in cocktail party and reception chatter with opera lovers! (Tips I wish I’d had decades ago when I was first trying to figure this out:))
Don’t overthink it. These folks are at an opera event because they love the art form. That means they adore this thing that you do. You don’t have to prove yourself.
Be present. Use eye contact. That’s all any of us want in interpersonal communication – whether it be professional or recreational.
Have a goal. Identify something you are enthusiastic about sharing… a recent performance triumph… an exciting professional development… And make it your business to tell people about it! And while you’re at it, if you’re an introvert at heart (and many performers are, in spite of what people think…), set yourself a goal of how many new people you want to meet during that event :)
Listen. Opera lovers crave a chance to share their knowledge and affection for opera. Let them.
Repeat yourself. The whole room isn’t one unbroken extended conversation. If you have a good story, stick with it! It’ll be new to each person.
Follow-up. These folks want to follow your career, so make it easy. If you don’t have a web page yet (and you should, but that’s a topic for another day…), create a professional Facebook page so they can “like” and follow you!
What a gift it is to have the resources, talents and goodwill of our Wolf Trap Foundation colleagues to share with our young artists! Thanks, Annie and Jackie. Up later this summer: Wolf Trap’s Director of PR Michelle Pendoley!