With the Final Four coming up this weekend, everyone below the NBA level will be done calling hoops for the year. While some will move right into a baseball schedule, many of us are entering a period of down time. It’s a great opportunity for broadcasters to go on vacation, be around friends and family, and work other jobs that actually pay the bills.
While it’s definitely important to relax and recharge, this is also the time that can separate broadcasters from their competition. With extra time comes opportunity to work on networking relationships, critique your own work, and generally focus on mastering the craft. Here are a few specific ways I’ve found to make sure the off-season is productive:
Sending Critique Requests: Sending emails to have your work critiqued can be a frustrating process. Waiting for a response that takes weeks, months, or never comes at all can be disheartening. However, in my experience you can really boost your chances of getting a reply by reaching out at the right moment. Most high-level broadcasters want to help up-and-comers, but the high volume of requests, in addition to a demanding schedule, makes it easy for your message to get lost in the shuffle. Reaching out during the off-season has personally led to a far better percentage of replies compared to reaching out in season.
Go To A Conference: Connecting via email and social media is great, but there is still nothing like meeting in person. Under ordinary circumstances, it’s difficult to get face-to-face time with decision makers and others who can advance our careers. Again, people are busy, and the reality is that the benefit of the conversation only goes one way.
At conferences you can talk to people in their element. The conversation can be natural as opposed to transactional, which makes it far easier to make a real connection. It also helps that often you can find an abundance of free cocktails, which helps people to let their guard down a little bit. Just make sure you’re not the person who goes overboard on the free drinks and gets remembered for the wrong reason.
My personal favorite conference is the National Sports Media Association Awards Weekend in North Carolina. This year it’s in late June and includes a great seminar, great networking, and great hospitality from the local community.
Meet People In Person: Outside of reaching out to mentors, it’s a great time to make friends in the business. Invite other broadcasters out for coffee or happy hour. Hit the road and visit people that live outside of your area. You can also look for opportunities for face-to-face meetings while on the road. Ask for tours of large-market stations, and you never know who you might meet in the process.
What do you do to network and improve as a broadcaster during the off-season? Share your ideas in the comment section below.