Happy New Year, team! I kicked off 2024 with a quick Las Vegas trip to see country superstar Luke Bryan in concert. I had heard he is a great performer, and sure enough, he and his band put on a spectacular show.
Along with the high-energy music and high-tech staging, I couldn’t help but notice how well he engaged with his audience – something many business professionals fail to achieve. Much of the time he was at the very edge of the stage, just inches from his fans, even stopping to take selfies. He told stories and used self-deprecating humor, all techniques that make for good talks, as well as music performances.
But the real surprise came during the encore. When I entered the theater and climbed up to the balcony I noticed a large catwalk above me. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but everything changed two hours later. Very quietly, while I was sitting in the dark with 5,000 other fans waiting for the encore, the catwalk dropped down to balcony level. The lights came up, the band started, and there was Luke on the catwalk singing to all of us in the “cheap seats.” In fact, the entire finale was performed to the balcony, with the main floor fans looking up.
It was the perfect reminder that every audience member is important. The next time you give a talk, get away from the podium and your PowerPoints, and interact with your entire audience. If you can, walk into the room. Make eye contact with those in the back, and be sure to take their questions.
And don’t forget to rehearse before you take the stage.
Here’s to a 2024 filled with big wins!