October 14th, 2015 Richard Mulholland
So I’m writing this from an airport lounge, on the way home from one of the most epic (punk) rock shows I’ve ever seen. This week I was on a speaking tour around the US, and was luckily able to head to Toronto to watch my favourite band, Rise Against, deliver what must have been the show of their life.
In truth though, I’m probably wrong, my guess is that they know they delivered a great show, however, I think they probably did the same two days before in Chicago, and again, the following night in Ottawa. That’s just what they do – they bring it all, holding nothing back, night after night.
Sadly that’s what we’re afraid to do the vast majority of the time that we stand in front of a crowd. We get up there, we open our mouths, and we hold back.
What if my humour doesn’t land?
What if I offend someone?
What if I don’t sound smart enough?
Holy crap. If Tim McIlrath and co thought like that, we’d have had a lack-lustre concert and I’d be writing about the correct use of bullet-points (fun, right?).
There’s good news though, it turns out that for the twenty minutes that we’re up there, it’s our stage. We set the pace, and we decide where to take them. Basically, we have all the power, generally we’re just afraid to take it. We’re so busy trying to enter the audience’s world, that we don’t think to bring them into our own.
That’s what Rise Against managed to do the other night, they confidently brought me into their world, and that’s what I stop and consider every single time I step onto a stage. For that short moment in time, I’m in charge, the audience is locked in, and all I have to do is deliver the content that I’ve prepared, in my own unique way (which turns out, really isn’t hard at all, because, you know, it’s just me being me).
You think you need to dial it down, but you really don’t, you need to reel them in. Don’t hold back. Sure, you may just be delivering your latest financials, or a marketing plan, but if you can, muster the courage to really put yourself out there and deliver with confidence, your audience will respond in kind.
So next time you hit that big stage, (or crappy boardroom, as the case may be), bring it like your favourite band, leave nothing behind, and have fun.
Rock up, and rock out.
Posted by Richard Mulholland
A motorbike riding, boardgame playing, punk rocking, kung-fu fighting, kettlebell swinging, business running, microphone abusing inked-ellectual gentleman. And Missing Link founder.