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Small Talk

Small Talk Made Smarter: The Secret to a Successful Connection

Sarah Thomas

Small talk is a necessary evil – after all, we can’t just start conversations with strangers asking them about their deepest, darkest secrets. If you do start your conversations that way, let us know how it works out for you!

If you start your conversations by asking “How are you?” then you may want to rethink your small talk strategy, according to Harvard researchers in a CNBC article. In the course of their research, the Harvard researchers discovered that asking meaningful questions during small talk makes you appear more likable and interesting to others. There are several tactics you can use to turn your small talk into successful, meaningful connections with other humans, instead of meaningless drivel.

Be You

There’s no other YOU in the world – so embrace it and be you in every conversation. When you’re fully yourself, you’re acting authentically, and that authenticity will shine through in your conversation. True connection with others is dependent on a foundation of authenticity – after all, you can’t build a connection with a façade of someone.

Chris - Ideas Are Not The Problem

Be Personal and Personable

When you’re making small talk, particularly with someone you’ve never met before, be sure to introduce yourself and say your name clearly. While introducing yourself, Huffpost suggests providing a personal detail about yourself. This not only makes you more personable and approachable but also gives the other person a potential conversation starter to begin a deeper discussion.

Cell Phone Behind The Scenes


Listen – really listen to the other person. Active listening goes beyond just hearing what the other person is saying and acknowledging that they’re speaking. Maintain eye contact when appropriate and give them your full attention. Leave your cell phone in your pocket. When you’re actively listening to the other person, you can engage in the conversation and connect beyond small talk – pick up on the cues in their conversation and their context and carry the conversation deeper than the surface.

Bear and Chris

Go Beyond Listening

Take it one step further and go beyond listening – be observant. Look carefully at the person you’re speaking to. Watch their body language, observe the words that they choose, the inflection in their voice. Pay attention to the story that they’re telling behind the words. By monitoring the way a person is speaking, you can change topics if you notice that they are uncomfortable, or you can deflect the conversation if they appear to be nervous. As an observant participant, you can make the other person you’re speaking to feel at ease – which increases the odds that you’ll have a deeper connection with each other and go beyond the small talk. Also, pay attention to your surroundings – if there is something interesting or notable going on in your surroundings, it can serve as an opportunity to connect with another person via a shared experience.

Chris and Lady

Be Confident

Primer Magazine suggests that confidence breeds confidence – so be confident in your small talk. Start by dressing confidently and acting confidently. Make eye contact and speak clearly. When you’re confident in your own actions, you’ll inspire confidence in others as well – and as a bonus, they’ll feel more comfortable talking to you.

Power Pose

Try out these tips the next time you’re stuck making small talk during your day and let us know if they help you forge a deeper connection. Some of the greatest stories and relationships have sparked from a chance encounter! We love telling stories, and if you’ve got a story for us to tell, we want to hear it – contact us at and we’ll help you find the best way to tell your story.

No-Nos of Marketing featured

5 No-No’s to Avoid in Video Marketing

Facebook is logging over 8 billion video views by its users per day—even more than the population of earth—and it’s one of the most effective marketing-to-sales conversion methods ever. If you have something to sell, video production should be high on your list of marketing tools. That said… I have to tell you, there are some huge no-no’s when it comes to video marketing that you absolutely must avoid:

  1. Trying too hard to go “viral”

    I know. We all love those tear-jerker Olympic moms ads and share them like there’s no tomorrow. Viral videos are an ever-changing-magic-voodoo mix of emotion, timeliness, tastefulness, and humor. Videos that try too hard almost always end up horrifying. Like the Kia video with the human hamsters. Shudder.
    No-Nos of Marketing

  2. Making videos too long

    Attention spans are getting shorter! 5 minutes is just way too long for most video projects. People get bored easily and move on to the next thing. We aim for the current sweet spot between 2-3 minutes.Wristwatch

  3. Unclear branding

    Ever watch a video ad and come away wondering what the point was? In the quest for “viral” content, marketers sometimes lose sight of the goal: making the sale. Don’t let your central brand message get lost in a herd of Internet cats. Be sure that your audience is also aware of your company and your logo as well.Brand Confusion

  4. No call to action

    Leaving out the call to action (giving the audience clear instructions about how to contact you and buy all the things) is so sad. Even if you have the best viral video ever, if your audience has no idea what to do next, all that hard work is more or less wasted.Call to Action

  5. Not addressing a specific target audience

    You know the old saying about trying to please everyone and not pleasing anyone? That’s truer than ever with today’s consumer. Before you even think about viral anything, focus on your target audience’s problems, needs, and desires; your video should answer those problems for them. You should also tailor your video to the platform – videos read differently on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.Smartphone screen

One last thing: another huge mistake people make is not choosing the right video production team for their project. You need a partner who will communicate openly with you, understand your needs, and narrow-in on your marketing strategy and target audience from the get-go. That’s something we excel at here, and I’m not just tooting my own tuba. Contact Us and we’ll help you avoid these pitfalls while engaging and enchanting your target audience!

Fonovox press pray

Types of Music Videos Ranked

From Budget Friendly to Breaking the Bank

Making a music video can be totally fun and exciting and give you all of the VH1 “Behind the Music” vibes you dream of. However, not all music videos are made the same. There are many factors that play into the type of music video you create, from your vision and style to your budget. Here’s a simple guide to help you decide the type of music video production that is best for you, based on your budget and your dreams.


Budget Friendly – Lyric Videos

The most budget-friendly option in music video production is to produce a lyric video. Lyric videos may seem pretty self-explanatory by title – they’re videos where lyrics play across the screen in sync with the music. They can be incredibly innovative because the font and visuals can change the mood according to the song. A fast paced song may have bold, rapid text, while a slow ballad could include lyrical script floating across the screen. Lyric videos serve a simple purpose and can also be a placeholder until a final video is complete – or it can be your final video if you’re working with an extremely tight budget.

Computer monitor with vibrate image

Mid-Range – Performance Music Videos

Performance music videos are the most like what you’re used to seeing when you think of a classic “music video” – and it is what you’d likely see on MTV and VH1 back when they used to actually play music videos instead of reality TV shows. Performance videos include shots of the musical artists performing their songs on camera. There is no limit to the amount of creativity that you can express in these types of videos. They can include live concert footage, in-studio footage, or lip-synced footage from just about anywhere in the world. If you’d like a performance music video, you can keep this option easy on the wallet by choosing to keep it low key and using a single set, and limiting the amount of time spent shooting.

Man on stage with microphone

Moving on Up – Narrative Music Videos

While performance videos can be excellent when done creatively, then can also get a little bit repetitive – after all, we’ve seen thousands of these over the years. If you want to stand out, sometimes you’ve got to mix it up. Enter the narrative music video. Narrative music videos take performance videos one step further, and play out almost like a film. The story in a narrative music video can follow the lyrics, or tell a similar story – or even something a little bit different. Film-like narrative music videos leave plenty of room for creativity and artistic expression, and they give you a great outlet to express a mood or concept that is greater than your song. Budget wise, it can vary – the more locations, camera and man-power you’ll need, the higher the budget will end up.

Woman with guitar in field at dusk

Make it Rain – Concept Videos

Concept videos aren’t your average music video – you really need to flex those creative muscles. Concept videos have zero rules and full creative reign, so your imagination can really run wild. This may mean serious budget implications, because the more props, locations, talent, cameras and days spent shooting, the more you’re spending. But it is all worth it to match up your epic song with your dream vision.

Man with guitar on a soundstage

Understanding the different types of music videos available to you during production makes it much easier to make and stick to a budget – and as a bonus you’ll spend less time arguing with your band. Keep in mind that these types aren’t set in stone, and you may need to pull a little bit from one or two different styles to get the music video production that you’re after. We’d love to go over your needs and how we can help. If you’re in Wilmington, DE; Philly; Baltimore; NYC or beyond – contact us and we can talk you through the production process today. If you’d like to see some of our recent work, check out N’Front here – they’re an awesome band and we’ve helped them create a video that is a blend of a performance video with elements of narrative as a tribute to Gerald Levert.


We are a full scale Video Production Company and Audio Recording Studio specializing in connecting with your audience through the development, production, and delivery of content geared for TV, Social Media, Online and Streaming Platforms. We love getting lost in our clients’ worlds, connecting with their audience, and telling their stories. There is an audience for every story, and they deserve to be told. Let us help you tell yours.

How to Make Your Next Virtual Event Not Suck

How to Make Your Next Virtual Event Not Suck

Thanks to the impact of COVID-19, virtual events are becoming the new norm even more quickly than they were before, and they’re up by 1,000% (Forbes). You’ve probably spent your evenings meeting up for virtual happy hours with your coworkers, virtual game nights with your friends, and virtual events hosted by the places that you used to hang out in person. Thinking back to the time you’ve spent virtually lately, has it felt fun and engaging, and worth the extra screen-time?

If you’re planning your own virtual event, you don’t want others to feel obligated to suffer through a lame time just for your sake. We’ve got plenty of tips to help ensure that your virtual event won’t suck!

Pre-Record Elements

While going entirely live is fun and exciting, it can have drawbacks as well. There’s no second take on a completely live stream, and you may miss something important that you want to address at your virtual event. If you’re able, try to pre-record some elements that you want to include during your event. By pre-recording, you can lower the chance of errors, even if you’re a pro with plenty of live streaming experience. As a bonus, by using some pre-recorded material you’ll give the whole event a more polished and professional feel – and give yourself a breather during the live segments as well.

Plan Ahead

It seems like simple advice, but a plan is crucial to any event, and especially important in a virtual event. Make a plan for everyone included in the event so that each person’s role is clear during the livestream. A plan helps you keep everyone on the same schedule during the event so that it can run smoothly. Ensure that everyone has an assigned role as well, from the moderator to the master of ceremonies. A simple outline of your plan can help you stay on task during the live event so that each person can refer to the schedule and anticipate what is coming next. A plan also allows for…


When you’ve got a planned out schedule, you can fill it with opportunities for engagement and interaction. Your audience will be engaged because they’re invested in seeing the outcomes of your engagement. A simple way to create opportunities for engagement is by asking viewers to submit questions through comments or a chat box – and people will often stick around throughout the event to see their questions (and others!) get answered. It helps if you have a dedicated moderator assigned to the task of fielding those questions as they come in. Almost all of the online live steaming platforms include interactive features, so use them! Try out polls and quizzes, and encourage your viewers to share the event on social media. Keep your audience engaged by asking questions, taking requests and suggestions – or just giving everyone a shout-out as they join the event. When your event is over, don’t be afraid to ask your audience for feedback.


Our whole world is moving more into the virtual world as we make changes due to COVID, but it doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected to each other. Hosting a great virtual event can help you, and your business and brand, stand out against everyone else.

If you need help planning the best virtual event, contact us! We can help you throughout the entire process, from the creative plan to pre-recording and live streaming. We look forward to making your virtual event a success. You can check out some virtual events that we’ve hosted here.

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