Performing is more than just about the talent you have and the songs that are backing you up. When it comes to putting on a good show, it's almost like being an engaging performer is a talent in itself beyond your singing, playing, or speaking.
In many cases, performers get in front of a crowd of people that are already familiar with them and way more open to supporting their efforts, but what about the cases where you're performing in front of a cold crowd, meaning they are completely unfamiliar with you?
Audience engagement can go a long way when combined with great performance or presentation skills, winning your audience members over and giving them a memorable time they will want to talk about with everyone they know.
Even when you're performing in front of your biggest fans, the more enjoyment you can give them out of the experience, the better the performer you'll be at the end of the day.
Here are some tips I want to share that will help you increase the satisfaction of everyone who will be watching you on stage for your future performances.
An easy yet very effective way to get the audience member involved with your songs is to give a bit of detail on each one you perform. You can share a little bit about how the song was made and possibly explain some complex lyrics that will help the listener appreciate the song more.
You can tell stories about how the song particularly resonates with your life and your story, helping to bring a connection between you and your audience members, especially the ones who can relate to your situation.
Who doesn't like a freebie? Some of the best performers and presenters like to include a little giveaway for audience members at random, using the power of hope to win over everyone's attention.
Some performers like to do raffles or merch giveaways, while others like to go wild and throw money or gifts out into the crowd while they perform. Depending on your style and your audience, come up with a creative way to give them valuable yet simple things for free.
The best types of speakers and performers know how to go out into an audience to engage them face-to-face, literally. Some performers like to walk down aisles as they move around the area, while others go as far as interacting directly with individuals in the crowd.
It can seem like a very daring thing to do as a performer to just step off of the stage and take things to another level like that, but the risk is often rewarded in many different types of settings.
Another cool way to get people in the audience involved is to have a moment in your set where you give the mic to an audience member to sing or speak with you.
This is a great way to show how much you value fans and audience members and get people hopeful to be picked (or maybe nervous about being picked, but they'll be engaged!).
The method works really well when you have people who are familiar with your work in the audience already or if you're trying to open a dialogue and encourage feedback from people.
Another classic yet effective thing you see performers doing, especially in the music industry, is bringing audience members up on stage. You can do it in a way that's an extension of passing the mic to get them involved, or you can perform to them.
Pop star celebrities love to eat this idea up with personal performances and dances for fans that get lucky enough to be picked to come on stage, making that one lucky fan's day and energizing the crowd.
The most standout example I have of this is when the legendary Janet Jackson would bring fans up on stage to perform for them with her dance moves, and they would absolutely lose their minds.
Most independent performers don't have the type of budget to put on the type of production that Beyonce would put on, but a little goes a long way when it comes to lighting and props to use in order to keep your audience's attention.
LED lights can do wonders these days and give a lot of showmanship to someone in need that is on a budget. Check out Amazon to see if they have any stage lighting product ideas that suit your upcoming shows' needs.
A lot of strobe light and multicolor LED options come with a remote control for easy use and can be used for performances, parties, holiday lights, and much more, so you can get a lot of use out of it.
You can be a prop, too when it comes to your performance and attention-grabbing capabilities! Colors matter when it comes to your performance look.
Black or white is a way to play it safe, especially if you're doing a very small performance, but don't settle for a neutral color if you're going big. These also don't pop on the camera well at all, and you will need some great makeup and lighting to make it look great.
Jewel tones, including teal, emerald green, purple, and sapphire blue, are very saturated colors that stand out in a great way.
These colors look really good on stage and on camera, so go for one of these to be safe. These colors also work great on stage with a variety of different skin tones.
If you want to switch things up to keep people involved, consider bringing out other performers (and often) to collaborate with you.
Mind you; these performers don't need to be doing what you're doing. Have them perform in a way that compliments what you're doing.
For example, if you're a singer, have dancers come out on stage. If you're a rapper, have a percussionist come out on stage with you. If you're a speaker, try collaborating with a demonstrator or a model.
One of the most important tips I want to leave you with is to be authentic and be your natural self. Too many times, performers and speakers are trying to put on heirs, which can cause a disconnect between you and the crowd.
On the other end, performers and speakers can often find themselves riddled with nerves that will have them acting completely beside themselves, and maybe give off a lackluster show that isn't engaging.
But again, at the end of the day, it's not so much about you or your nervousness, appearance, or shyness, as it is about the audience.
Not to get all sappy, but we're all on this earth to help others in some shape or form. Think about your next stage performance from the perspective of what the audience needs. How can you make this the best experience for them?
The answer is by performing with confidence. People love a message or performance that is given confidently. It brings out confidence in themselves, and everyone feeds off each other's good vibes.
If you're nervous, you can even be straightforward and let them know, and that can turn into a way that you provide them with background on yourself, building that connection and engagement right up!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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