Bob LeDrew sang tonight on a boat ride that was part of the festivities here at Podcasters Across Borders 2008. There was an open mic with quite a mix of amateur and not-so-amateur performers. I wanted to go up, and was looking for my chance, when Jay Moonah got up and did his bit (musician amongst musicians), and that kind of made me feel a lot less capable, so I didn’t go up. But Bob LeDrew did. I learned a lot from Bob, and got my courage up to go up and sing a song (with Jay playing guitar) after Bob did a small set. Here’s what Bob taught me:
Get Up and Take Your Turn
Bob and his wife play music at house parties (I forget what they called them, but the name would make more sense than “house party”), and he had quite a repertoire to choose from. Having had lots of shots at the microphone over the last several months, Bob felt confident to get up and do his thing.
As a media maker, getting up and taking your turn (to blog, podcast, etc) is easier if you find lots of opportunities to try yourself out along the way to the main gig.
Complete the Motion
At a few points, Bob didn’t remember the words to certain songs. We were an encouraging audience, and what got me was that Bob didn’t blush and crumble under the pressure. He paused, said a few words, and then went on to the next song.
As bloggers, if you mess up or forget something, just keep going. There’s always another post and another chance to do a decent job.
Be Charming, Not Depressing
When Bob had his forgetful moments, he didn’t collapse in upon himself. He knew that he could just move on to the next bit. This doesn’t come easy to everyone. Lots of people get hung up on self-analysis and can’t quite make the next move because they’re stuck analyzing where things crumbled.
Make your mistakes, accept them, and be outwardly charming about matters while you pick up the pieces.
A Friendly Audience Helps
Bob played for us on a boat of peers and friends. We were out on the water, having food and beers, and the mood was very light and cordial. When he forgot a line, it didn’t matter to us, because everything he’d done until that point was great, and after the first time he missed a line, we were on board with laughter and applause and encouragement. He knew we were his friends and wouldn’t laugh AT him.
Build a community that cares about you, and you can experiment and try new things without fear of ridicule.
Despite a few forgotten lines, Bob finished with a really great song about a motorboat, that was funny, engaging, and had lots of clever use of words. The music that accompanied it was great, too, and we all got into the song quickly and deeply. Bob had us right where he wanted us by the end of his very small set of songs, and he made an impression on me and lots of others on the boat.
When you’ve taken your shot, make sure you finish strong in your work.
At the end of it all, Bob’s performance was a great metaphor for how we all struggle with understanding social media tools, business communication, collaboration, marketing, and all the other things we’re facing in our day. I learned from Bob’s charm, poise, and commitment, as well as his ability to stay confident and positive throughout the experience.
Do you follow Bob’s advice, such as I’ve written it out here? Would you be just as confident and charming as Bob in those situations? How do you conduct yourself in moments where you’re trying a few things out, and everything might not be 100% perfect?
And by the way, Bob writes an interesting blog about the world of Canadian PR that’s worth checking out, as well.