Performance tips from Barry Manilow

This morning I caught a recent interview of Barry Manilow, songwriter/performer of 4 decades, shared over National Public Radio. I caught the tail-end of it, and from that hearing found 2 nuggets I will apply to my own performances. Here they are.

One nugget I feel is the key to creating engagement with audiences, because it builds interest, energy and honesty:

I immerse myself into the circumstance of the song and then sing it. Barry Manilow

Many of us get caught up in the platform mechanics of the moment – technology, order of the agenda, time pressures, even the internal concern of “what are they thinking of me?”  When our focus strays from the subject matter of our content, especially straying from our honest feelings toward it, it comes across as a recitation vs. a heartfelt message.

Recitations affect our timing, our focus, our meaningfulness and our audiences’ abilility to see value in what we are saying. I think of a judge reading the expectations of the jury. Generally, when they believe it’s lengthy and boring, they distract themselves from the awe of the focus and come across as non-believers in what they are sharing.

Performers who allow themselves to be distracted prior to or during their performance create a disconnect. Similarly, conversationalists and public speakers lose their audiences when they avoid this necessary immersion. It may seem like a “stagey” act to enter the appropriate mood, but it serves the purpose responsibly.

When we focus on the intent or circumstances of our message, we enter the authentic space that gives us appropriate timing, emphasis and delivery while we simply step on the magic carpet of honest sharing. We become what we are saying vs. talking “about” it.

This strategy of taking the time to connect to our message allows time to stand still for us all while we enter the zone of authenticity.

Does this scare you? I hope not. Unless you are afraid to be meaningful in front of others. And if that’s the case, let’s consider Manilow’s second tip:

I find gratitude during my performance. Barry Manilow

More artist than performer, Manilow used to fumble through his stage time, preferring to stick with singing and playing in a rehearsal room instead of for an audience. For many of us, bring an audience into our midst and anxiety clouds our abilities.

In time Manilow learned to simply thank the audience for allowing him to rehearse in front of them. This became his gratitude.

Does a video camera, observers or other forms of audience give you anxiety? Perhaps it would be helpful to shift your focus into gratitude for others allowing you to rehearse in their presence. Then you will find yourself back in your artistic or intellectual zone.

Speak with confidence!

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On December 7th, 2012, posted in: adrenaline, anxiety, Passion, performance, preparation by