Friday, April 17, 2009

Learning from Kenny Chesney

I saw an interview the other day with Kenny Chesney, the country music superstar. He was talking about the preparation for his annual tour. Kenny has been voted as Best Entertainer eight times and his summer tour usually ranks at, or near, the top of the list of highest earning tours every year. He’s obviously doing a lot of things right. Here’s a couple of ideas about preparation I picked up that apply to presenters.

First, he is meticulous in his preparation each year before the tour starts. He personally oversees every aspect of the show, from lighting to sound to which songs get played in what order. He knows that he has to have everything just right in order to put on a great show. As presenters, do we take enough time to prepare? Do we care as much as Kenny does? Too often I see presenters who create their text-only slides on the airplane on their way to the presentation, never rehearse and rush in 2 minutes before their presentation is to begin. It is no wonder that the presentation is less than it should be. Take the time to prepare properly, your audience deserves it.

Second, he explained that even though they have a two and a quarter hour set prepared, if the audience energy is right, they will extend the show to as long as three full hours. Kenny and his band have enough material prepared that they can go where the audience wants them to go. As a presenter, do you have the depth of knowledge and expertise to go where the audience wants to go? True experts prepare what the audience needs, but always have the ability to answer questions that come up or go in different directions if that is what is needed. If you don’t have the expertise you feel you need, create a plan to become an expert – study your area one hour every day, and pretty soon you will start to see the result.

Any time you see a great artist perform, whether it is Kenny Chesney on his tour, a local play or a symphony, remember that the artist has put countless hours into preparing just so you can enjoy the experience. Let’s commit to preparing better so that our audiences have a great experience too.


Blogger Unknown said...

Finally someone realized that Kenny is not only a fantastic performer, but a hard worker from whom we can all learn some important lessons.
I enjoyed your article.

4:44 PM  

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