When you read through the credits of a television show, you will see various producer titles -- executive producer, supervising producer, senior producer, broadcast producer and producer, to name a few. While every producer has different responsibilities, chances are they share a few of the same skill sets and traits that have made them successful in a very demanding industry.
After 25 years in the television industry, I've found that producers with longevity and awards in the television business have a few things in common. Whether you are an employee or business owner, here are five useful qualities TV producers possess that you should have to make your business life more successful:
1. Natural curiosity
Most producers have a natural curiosity about things and people. They are either asking or thinking the questions who, why, how and when? Producers read a lot. Whether it's newspapers, online articles, listening to the radio or just talking to people, they always want to stay on the pulse of what's going on.
You should stay on top of what's going on in your industry. Read trade publications and follow your industry's leaders on social media. Better yet, reach out to them and ask a question.
2. Great communication skills
Producing is storytelling with words and pictures to a mass audience. Whether it's for television or your co-workers, it's important to share your message clearly in different mediums. Hone your writing and practice your presentation and speaking skills. Always think about the group you are addressing and make your presentation relevant, concise and if possible, entertaining. You want to keep your audience engaged and informed.
3. Open to criticism
Television producers are constantly being criticized about things ranging from bad story ideas to a guest who fails to give a good interview. A boss criticizing a worker is a part of any job. This is the perfect time to put your ego away.
Reporter and producer Lyndsay Christian of FiOS1 wrote in a recent post for my blog Ready4Air: "Develop tough skin. Critics are tough. Accept criticism graciously. Learn from mistakes. Always look at the positives in every situation." This is good advice that can be used in any business situation.
Turns out, being organized is helpful in every profession. In television, producers are constantly juggling several balls at the same time, so it's important to have your ducks in a row. I am a big fan of lists. Making a to-do list and crossing off each accomplishment as the day or week goes by helps you to keep track of your project. Remember, the devil is in the details so keeping a list is a surefire way to avoid making a mistake.
5. Good collaborator
Producing, just like business, requires teamwork. No two people ever think alike so learning to collaborate as a group is key and doing it with a good attitude is a plus.
Meachun Clark, who was an AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) coordinator for a major cable network, explained to me in a recent interview that one important quality is to be personable.
"It also helps to be personable when dealing with talent, as well as their reps, to get everything you need taken care of," Clark says.
Finally, it is always important for a team to stay open to new ideas and different ways of doing things. With teamwork and great communication, any television show or business can be successful.