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The VO Boss podcast blends business advice with inspiration & motivation for today's voice talent. Each week, host Anne Ganguzza shares guest interviews + voice over industry insights to help you grow your business and stay focused on what matters...

Jan 3, 2023

It's time to build some rapport. Anne & Lau share their tips for making quick connections + how to turn it into a meaningful relationship. The truth is, relationships are what drive our careers—and they can do more for us than just pay our bills. They can provide emotional support, professional connections, and even opportunities that we may not have otherwise had access to. In a world where the internet opens us up to millions of potential connections, building rapport is more important than ever. You share yourself online for a reason: to further connection! We're all so busy, and we know that it's hard to find the time for things like cultivating relationships. But trust me: if you're not building rapport with people, you're missing out on a huge opportunity…and we’re here to show you how it’s done. Listen up!


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast and the business superpower series. I'm your host Anne Ganguzza, and I am excited to bring back to the show Lau Lapides. Hey, Lau.

Lau: Hey. Hey Anne.

Anne: How are you?

Lau: I'm fab. How are you?

Anne: I am amazing. And I just wanna say again, thank you so much for doing this series with me. I really am loving all of the conversations that we're having. I mean, such amazing conversations.

Lau: I love it.

Anne: I feel like our relationship is just growing and we're nurturing it, and I just love it. And it makes me think about how important it is to network and to grow relationships in our businesses. And I thought it'd be a great topic to talk about today.

Lau: Beautiful. And I'm always ready to talk about the superhero in everyone. Like, I love finding those superpowers, I know you do too, those hidden superpowers that are in all the VO talent that we meet work with.

Anne: Absolutely. So there's a lot of ways I think, to network with potential clients or your clients and build relationships. What are your thoughts about when you're new to the industry? How do you start to even build a relationship with your potential client or reaching out to clients to develop a relationship? Or even let's say your agent, there's so many things we can talk about.

Lau: That is the question of the day, isn't it? And that's a biggie that we all get, and it's hard to answer only in the sense that it's so large. It's so overwhelming. It's such a universal question. I always sort of break it down from the get-go, 'cause I feel like in my brain, if it's in small nuggets and little chunks, it's much easier to digest. So the first step for me is really defining what is the difference between building a rapport with a potential client or a producer or casting, and the difference between that and already having an established relationship.

I think that many have to kind of go back to the drawing board with that and know what the difference is. I simply define it by saying, listen, building rapport is your instant connection. It's your instant impact. What is the effect that you're having on your listener, your audience, your potential client? And it happens really fast. It's like 10, 15 seconds. It's really starting to happen. And the evaluation process in our business is very quick, is that everyone well knows. It doesn't take forever to sort of sum someone up when I'm building rapport. So we have to consider that warm up period, that prep period of like, how do I wanna go into this meeting? How do I want to set a tone when I go to the conference? How do I want to prep and present when I'm walking into a space, even if it's an online space?

Anne: Sure. Well, I was gonna say it can even be digitally as well, right? How you present yourself or have an initial outreach. Let's say even an email, so to speak, you're starting to try to reach out and build rapport with a potential client. And so it's really like an introduction of yourself and a reflection of who you are as a business. And so I think it's important to really maybe have a strategy on maybe how to do that, depending on who it is you're reaching out to. I would think that building rapport with, I think somebody new that you've never met before, let's say an agent or a potential client, would require some sort of a strategy that within, I would say 10 or 15 seconds, you can make an impression on someone in a positive way obviously.

We've talked a little bit about, and I know on other podcasts, I've talked a little bit about cold emails, which it's really important how you introduce yourself so that you're not off putting to someone else or appearing to be, I think, to self-centered or too much about me, me, me or I, I, I, and I really believe to really start to develop a rapport with just about anyone, I think you have to come from a centered heart of service. You know what I mean? How can I help you? What can I do for you? If you wanna build, I think a positive rapport with a client and be authentic. What do you think?

Lau: I think that's perfect. And, and our business is a business. It's like any other business out there. You know, I would say we never know who we're next to in the airplane or in the elevator, in the restroom or we're in life; we're living life. And so anyone we're near that is in our sphere could be a potential client. We have to always be thinking about that. Like, woo, how could I make an effect, an impact, impression on this stranger, so to speak, someone I don't know at all, and in a minute or two, all of a sudden we have an instant connection. So there is sort of like a magic there. There's a mystical piece in there that you have to make happen. Like you have to take agency for saying, I am going to assert that I'm not going to wait.

Anne: I love that you said that. I think honestly, if I wanna think about our relationship, right, I met you for the first time when we were on a judging panel together. It's like literally we were in a professional environment on a panel, and I was so impressed with you. And I was like, immediately, I'm like, oh, I have to meet this woman. I mean, and I just felt, I did feel like an instant connection. And I think a lot of that has to do with maybe similar personalities. But the first thing I did was reach out to you, and I'm not just saying, oh my God, this was, you know, oh, I saved the day or I did, you know -- no I reached out with, because I was so impressed and I genuinely said, oh my gosh, I really wanna meet you. And let's talk because I just think you're amazing. And I think that's something that you can think about as a business if you wanna reach out to someone like a potential client. Oh my gosh, I love your product. Or I've seen the work that you've done, and I think it's amazing. That's like kind of a good way to build, I think, strong rapport with someone.

Lau: Absolutely. You know, what's amazing too, is that we were online, like many are online. We were online. Here's the fascinating thing. We didn't know each other at all and we hadn't met and we didn't even speak to each other. And yet I think we could feel something, that energy shift, and you and I couldn't move fast enough. I don't remember if I emailed you or you may emailed me, but we literally were on that same wavelength -- oh, have to connect, have to connect, and, and within a day or so we were connected. And then I feel like I have known you for years. Like I literally --

Anne: Me too.

Lau: -- we haven't met in person. You're in San Diego area and I'm, I'm in the Boston area, and we're 3000 miles apart. And yet we can still have that mysterious energy through building rapport together. So it really is quite impactful. And it shouldn't be underestimated at all, how you can build -- it could be a one time exchange or it could be a lifetime of moving into the relationship space together.

Anne: And then developing and nurturing that relationship as you go on. And it's interesting 'cause it made me think, I started off by saying even digitally, right, we can create rapport with someone that could be a potential client of our business. Also the way you present yourself online in public. Right? And we can talk about in person as well, but online, if you are putting out content, which so many people, you know, in this business, we say, you gotta get out there on social media. You gotta put out content. Let people understand who you are and your brand. When you are doing that, when you are putting content out, you are theoretically, I'm gonna say building the blocks for building a relationship with a potential client.

So things that you're saying online or putting out there, I think you have to also be a little bit careful about because potential eyeballs are on that content. And so if you're going to be saying, I don't know, things that may be negative or combative or maybe very controversial, remember that there are other people that you may not even be aware that have their eyeballs on that. And that could build maybe a negative rapport. <laugh>

Lau: That's right, that's right.

Anne: If you're not careful. I think that assuming, I guess I'm gonna go in the digital realm, assuming that what you say is only seen by the people you think. I mean, I think it goes a lot further than most of us even realize.

Lau: Right. And I, I think you identified something so pivotal in the, the differentiation between a rapport and already establishing relationship. Which I like to think of simply as it's based on time and based on trust. We may have a very strong rapport together, very, very connected, but we don't have time on our side. I'm not talking about you and I. I'm talking about in the general business world, we don't really know each other well enough. It's only through action over time do we get to know what our value system is, what our principles are, how we work, how we function -- that takes time to unfold. So the stronger your rapport, I'd like to believe the quicker you can start building a relationship together because --

Anne: I like that.

Lau: -- the masks start coming down, you start to reveal more. There aren't as many filters on because you're slowly developing some trust together, and that's incredible, but we can't always expect that. It just isn't always going to happen.

Anne: Right. And a client that you've developed that, you've got a good rapport and that over time you've developed that trust -- I think when a client trusts you, that's when they come back to you again and again and again, and that is what can help to really grow our businesses. And I think each one of these relationships is something that you have to consciously really think about and nurture and work at it. I don't think it's something that you can take for granted at all. I know that I don't take any of my clients, my jobs for granted. I'm grateful for all of them. And I think coming at it with an attitude of gratitude also helps to nurture that relationship and, and build trust. I think trust is so very important to establish over the long haul with your potential clients or, or people that you're working with in the industry. For sure.

Lau: Right. And I like to say too, it's a feel good kind of thing to create because not only is it important to have over time to retain a client and to make money and have a viable career and get your ROI, but also it feels good. It should feel good to know that I am delivering something that someone needs and is satisfied within their timeline. And that they are going to come back to me. And there is that reciprocal kind of energy that is a part of the reason why we're in this industry, is that we want to know we're satisfying. We want to know we're pleasing. We want to know filling, filling the need, solving that problem --

Anne: That we're loved.

Lau: -- so to speak <laugh> Well kinda.

Anne: Right? Don't we all just wanna be loved? I used to say that all the time in the corporate world, right? Part of the reason why I think so many people, at least when I was going through the corporate world, were so stuck in your jobs and you feel like, ugh, I'm stagnant at moving. I think it's, we just wanna be loved. We just wanna be appreciated for what we do <laugh> and for us to have some acknowledgement of that. And then when that happens, then it becomes a very reciprocal, mutual give, take, give, take relationship. And so it's really not any different in our own businesses.

Lau: It really isn't. And if someone does for you, Anne, a live testimonial or they record it for you, they say, Anne is great. She gave me this and I'll never forget her. And I love her -- It's obviously marketing power to do that, to have your case study, to have your testimonial. But when you look at that, when you play that for yourself a year later -- and I can't speak for you, I'm speaking for myself -- there's this innate, deep sense of satisfaction that I may or may not remember what they paid me, but I absolutely remember the experience of working with them.

Anne: Yes.

Lau: And that, that is their outcome. And that we made something that is immaterial, so to speak, real. We made it real. I think there's a surreal nature to what we do, 'cause it's not always time, a physical product. A demo is a physical product. But other than that, it's more exchange and process and craft and acting. It's hard to come down to qualify what that is exactly. And then when you hear it from that client or that talent, I mean, I'm getting a little verklempt right now. I'm telling you, like I kind of wanna cry right now because it is life changing. You've helped them find their sound, their voice, their identity --

Anne: Oh, absolutely.

Lau: It's just awesome. It's awesome.

Anne: It brings me back to my teaching days as well, you know, with my students. I mean, I got to help shape some of their lives as they were being educated and going through school and I've watched them grow up. And it becomes one of those things where it's like, ah, it's just such a feel good heart situation. And I think that that really means a whole lot when it comes to doing something that brings us joy. And so, you know, developing, nurturing those relationships that can really give back in a way that's more than just money. Right?

We talked about in our, one of our last episodes, businesses with purpose. Well, I think that feeds into it really well. And part of the purpose is to, I think, develop a good rapport, those good relationships. Now online -- I started off by kind of talking about it online -- I think in person just accentuates the relationship building or accelerates the relationship building because then you've got that, you know, we're looking at each other in -- on a video right now and, and we're hearing each other, but when we actually get to physically meet each other, then there's that other energy. And so I think when you're trying to develop a rapport with someone that maybe you're just meeting at a conference -- there's so many of the voiceover conferences these days now -- it's important to also have that physical rapport, developing a physical rapport with people that is, I think, open and embracing opportunity to meet and really share with other people.

Lau: Absolutely. I do think the brilliance of being online now, if you never get to meet your other party in person in a room, which many of us just can't. You know, we live too far from each other. We're never gonna unfortunately see each other in a room. It's incredible to think, my gosh, I am developing a whole relationship with this person online, and we've never been in a room together. And it reminds me of how some of us feel about some of our A-list movie stars or some of our A-list pop stars. Am I really gonna be in a room with Tom Hanks in this lifetime? Probably not. I hope so, but probably not. Can I feel like I have a strong relationship with him over the years of supporting his work?

Anne: Sure.

Lau: Of connecting with his characters, of loving what he has to say? Yes.

Anne: Yeah.

Lau: And so sometimes that just has to be enough and it's the, the digital relationship, the online relationship that we can connect with that has to go as far as it can go, because we're just never gonna see those clients in person.

Anne: And that becomes some of my wonderful colleagues who are in animated series or in video games that are beloved and have fans that are out there that the same kind of thing that have developed a, a relationship. I just watched the movie Elvis last night. So that whole thing just kind of, it makes a difference what you're putting out there. Now here's the question, because sometimes I feel that what you're putting out there digitally and/or even online with, through video or even in person, can there be too much, can you share too much? Can there be a place where maybe in a professional business, we've gone too far and overshared? What are your thoughts on that?

Lau: Yeah. That's the question of the day, honestly. I really do think the more I learn about online media, the more I'm learning that that can be personal, but it can also be generational. Because we have millennials and up and coming Gen-Zers who are digital natives who grow up with that in their hands and share every and everyone else, every single moment of their day and will contextually mix that in with their businesses. And that heightened level of personalization is not only accepted, but expected.

For me, I find it jarring, to be honest with you. Like, I don't necessarily wanna report what kind of eggs I'm having in the morning. I just don't <laugh> but I've had some of my audiences, including like my own children go, okay. But just so you know, like we care about that. We kind of wanna know. It's not irrelevant to us. That's like part of you, and if we're gonna work with you, then we kind of wanna know that. So it, to me, that's a lot of generational gap in there.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I'll tell you, so I guess personality-wise, I've always been kind of an open book. I was always the talker, and I think a lot of voice artists, maybe those people, the talkers in the family. But I've never necessarily had an issue sharing with people. But I also think that I'm strategic when I share and where I share. And I think that when I'm looking online, when I see a share that might be a little, I don't know, maybe a little TMI or a little --

Lau: Little provocative.

Anne: And I wonder how does that fare with your potential client? And again, because you might have a millennial that hires you, and I get that. And they wanna see or feel, or hear an authentic you. So when I put myself out there, I mean, I try to be as authentic as possible. I mean, and when I'm talking on the VO BOSS podcast, I'm pretty darn authentic, but it doesn't mean that I always have to be like every single minute of the day overly authentic, because I think that I have certain clients that may not want to know certain things about me.

Because it would affect whether they would hire me or not. And I think that's the biggest question, right? If I share too much or if I have, let's say I'm distressed and I'm sharing that I'm distressed on a day that maybe I'm supposed to be doing a live session with one of my potential clients, right? And now they understand maybe that was why the session didn't go so well. Or maybe because they already know so much about me that maybe they won't hire me again, right? Because it affected me to the point where my performance was affected. I don't know if I had a bad day and you know, I'm sharing it and I share a lot, and I have that potential client, maybe they're not gonna wanna work with me after that.

Lau: That's the risk we take. I mean, can't please everyone all the time, you know? I mean --

Anne: Yeah, that's true.

Lau: -- the truth is what pleases one audience is just going to maybe repulse another audience. And I think the more we can pivot and shift and switch up to different audiences is just about the best that we can do. But I'd rather be pliable a little bit. Like I don't wanna be that person that says, oh, I'm 40, I'm 50, I'm 60. And this is the way I do things. And I'm not open to anything else because this is my people and this is -- I kind of wanna be able to relate to different generations. I wanna be able to meet people where they're at, even if I'm not great at their level of -- their mode communication, I want, I wanna be perceived as someone who is trying and who cares about it and who wants to reach them and what they need, which is gonna be very different needs than what someone who's 20 or 30 years their senior is going to be.

So I like that flexibility. That's what I'm trying to say. I think in networking and in building rapport and deepening relationships, the more flexible you are -- I would say, think of your relationships as like an architect. If you had a beautiful building, it was a very tall skyscraper type of building, how does that fare in a city like Tokyo or San Francisco, that's getting earthquakes all the time? We're getting conflict all -- in problems all the time. We have to have a super concrete, strong foundation. And then the higher up we go, we have to be able to flex in the winds. We have to be able to literally blow back and forth. And I like to think of us as business people and as networkers, as people that have very sturdy foundations, but that can flex with our clients and, and mold and different directions, you know?

Anne: I love that. Yeah, I love that analogy. That's just a wonderful analogy. So let's talk about a lot of conferences are popping up, and especially now I'm noticing a lot of them. And we were talking about it earlier. I think everybody's ready to get out there after the pandemic -- I say after the pandemic, I mean, I don't even know how to define it anymore. I just know that everybody, I think after two and a half years of this is ready to just get out and hug people or see people and get that physical connection, which I can completely understand. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna be going out a couple times this year to conferences. And so in terms of, let's say building a rapport or even nurturing a relationship, maybe you're gonna meet somebody finally -- I'm gonna meet somebody at one of these conferences that I've been working with for two and a half years -- what kind of tips do you have for building rapport? Or what would you do in terms of in-person networking tips that we can give the BOSSes out there?

Lau: All right. Let's talk. I mean, there's some of them that are fairly simple that you and I have seen over and over and over again, mishaps. Like for instance, how many times have we gone to a conference or a networking event and we're meeting people and they have no business cards? They just, oh, I'm sorry. I have nothing to give you. I ran out. I forgot them. I -- whatever it sounds so insanely simple. And yet having something on you that is hard copy, that is old school hard copy like a business card still is pro, still is a professional rapport building tool rather than just writing it down on a notebook or piece of paper.

Anne: I wanna make a point, 'cause I am gonna go to this conference coming up in, in October. And I said to my husband, I said, 'cause my husband does events at shows. And I said, so do people still use business cards? He goes, oh my God, yes. 'Cause I was like, or do I use like here scan my QR code? You know, digital? Now I wanna say that usually there's an app that goes in a conference that you join the app and then you can put all your contact information in the app and then share it with other people. I think being able to have both, I love the touch feel. It's again, like why do we still have books? Because I love to touch and feel the books. And I think we are gonna be appeasing anybody that we might meet again, like you said, we, we're gonna be flexible. I think have both. Make sure you're logged on to that app, have your contact information. You can share it that way, or have that touchy feel business card. And I think that that really would be a great way to, to be prepared. So I'm like, all right, I'm gonna get business cards and refresh my business cards now. And I do like the touchy feel.

Lau: I do too.

Anne: Take it outta my wallet.

Lau: I do too.

Anne: I remember, gosh, back before it used to be like scan my QR code or here's an app for the conference, It used to be a thing. You must have cards. And we would all be like, oh my God, you don't have your business cards at this conference? You really need to have a business card if you wanna be considered a professional. So now I think if you can kind of be flexible and have both available, I think that's a good way to prepare.

Lau: Yeah, I agree totally. And I also don't wanna alienate a potential friend, client, contact because they're just not techy. Like they don't do the scanning thing. They don't know much about it. They're not into it, but they're brilliant. And they like run a great business. You know what I mean? So I don't wanna be the one that makes them feel out of it, out of the scene because they don't know how to do that for instance, that would be one reason to have plan for sure.

Anne: Yeah, absolutely.

Lau: I also wanted to point out like prepare how you want to enter the space. I think a lot of folks just kind of run in, and they're stressed out, and they're running late and they're, they're just there. Think about, you know, I always like to say, visualize the room, visualize the room. Who will be in there? You should be able to see many people who will be in there before the event actually happens to have an idea of the caliber of folks that are coming in, what the presentations are, so forth and so on. But think about the traffic. What kind of traffic may be coming in? Who are the people that you want to target in terms of your, your perfect client, your perfect connection? And really make a list, like jot it down, you know, make notes in your phone, however you do it, so that you walk in and you have a strategy in mind --

Anne: And you're prepared.

Lau: You said that earlier, you're prepared. You're not just kind of floating around and seeing who comes to you and who -- you are really kind of assertive, 'cause you only have a certain amount of time. Even if it's a two or three day conference, you're gonna wanna sit in on shows and webinars, seminars. And you're gonna -- time gets eaten up very fast at those events. And there's oftentimes a lot to seen a lot to do. So map it out, have a strategy in mind, say, I wanna meet these three people? Who are they, and really have that ready to go.

Anne: Yes, absolutely. Now here's a question which I know a bunch of people, if they are at a conference, and there are agents or casting directors there, what do you consider appropriate for people that come up to you and introduce themselves because they might wanna be represented by you? 'Cause that's a tough one. Sometimes people will not go up because they're timid or people will go up and be overbearing. So what is your advice for that as an agent or a casting director in terms of what do you consider to be professional?

Lau: That's an interesting question. I honestly have not to been to many conferences in person since COVID to really -- when you're on online, you know, you're sort of protected. The automatic digital boundaries already there. So you're kind of protected by that. Whereas in person, I haven't really experienced that, but I'm gonna imagine there's a groupie thing that goes on. There's a groupie mentality. Like if I were to see some of my favorite people like Rob Paulson or Debbie Derryberry -- I mean, I have relationships with them, but if I didn't, I wouldn't wanna run up and like crowd them and be in their space. I'd wanna pay attention to protocol, pay attention to structure.

So there are very specific protocols and structures when you go to those events where you're gonna see them on a panel or you're gonna see them where they stand in a line and you're gonna take a photo with them or whatever. Okay, agents are very similar in that. Oftentimes they're in a workshop or a panel or they're invited guests. And if they're not in a structured setting where you're gonna ask them questions, there's a Q and A, you can talk to them, I wouldn't recommend running up to agents or casting and like smothering them.

Anne: Right. And giving them a demo or giving them your contact. And I think again, you have to kind of go like, well, approach them as to like, what do you know about them? And I always say approach was not the I, I, I, me, me, me, but about, oh my goodness. I have another voice actor that I'm friends with. And they've talked to me about how wonderful you are and I really appreciate meeting you. And that's it, nothing like, I don't don't think pressing like, are you accepting new -- I feel like that's just almost too much sometimes. Unless you've got the indication from the agent that they're looking for more people to put on their roster.

Lau: Right.

Anne: I don't know. It's read the room. <Laugh>

Lau: Read the room, read the room. And oftentimes they're there for a reason. Like they're there not just to educate you, but to find people. They're there to field new talent for their roster. Oftentimes it's like innate, that's the reason why they're there. So don't crowd them. What you wanna do is you wanna listen to what they have to say, take notes on what they have to say, refer to what they have to say and follow their contact information that they provide to you, and that day, like I wouldn't wait -- we talked about windows of time -- that day, while you're at the conference, go to a spot --

Anne: I really enjoyed your presentation. I really, yeah.

Lau: Boy. Yeah. Yeah. I just sat in. And when you talked about this, I was really impressed.

Anne: I love it.

Lau: I'm a talent I'm seeking representation. It's wonderful to hear you. That's it. I wouldn't do more than that because you don't need need to. Right? You, remember you don't have a relationship. You're building rapport.

Anne: Absolutely. Absolutely. Wow. Great discussion today. I love it. I love it. Thank you so much. So I am going to say thank you so much, Lau, for today's conversation, and BOSSes out there, you can have a simple mission, but yet a big impact: 100 voices, one hour, $10,000, four times a year. If you wanna find out more, visit to join. Also big shout-out to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can connect and network and build rapport like BOSSes. Find out more at You guys, have an amazing week, and we'll see you next week. Bye!

Lau: Bye!

>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.