Sunday, August 17, 2008

Karaoke: Not Just for the Fans

(Media Credit: Michelle Everett)

Karaoke: Not Just For the Fans

By: Joseph W. Norman

Uncomfortable in social settings? Struggling with your public speaking skills? Afraid of an upcoming event where you have to deliver a message to a large group of people? Ease your fears and master your emotions with a few nights of karaoke.

Sound ridiculous? At first I thought so too. The idea of using karaoke to ease performance anxiety and improve sales skills was introduced to me by a favorite author, Jeffrey Gitomer, a world class salesman and sales trainer. He is not a drinker at all but early in his career he would sing karaoke at least once a week to practice performing in an effort to improve his sales abilities. If you have read any of Gitomer’s work then you know that he is always poignant and definitely unconventional.

His thought was you have the perfect environment; a stage that is easy to get onto and an audience that is easy to please. As we say in the “biz,” I guarantee he “hammed it up” and was a real crowd pleaser.

Personally, I sang a little karaoke the other week at a local establishment in Fairport, New York. I hadn’t rocked the stage in quite some time so it felt good to get up there and cut loose with the vocal chords. You see, performance has always been an important part of my life. I’ve acted in a variety of musicals including; Oliver, The Music Man, Oklahoma, and my personal favorite, Footloose. They were a ton of work but an absolute blast. Unfortunately, in college I stopped acting but I did pick up the sporadic karaoke night.

What does this mean to you? Well, I believe you can take a few key things away from successful karaoke performances and relate them to life. Here are the Norman Style Karaoke Essentials and their corresponding life tips!

Karaoke Tip #1: “Screw it, let’s do it!” You’re nervous. But, it really doesn’t matter because you’re in a place where everybody wants you to succeed. And, besides that they won’t remember in the morning anyway. Take advantage of that!

Life Tip #1: Strangers care. When you’re put to the test with a performance or public speech know that the people watching want you to succeed. It is the human element. They might remember in the morning, but probably only if you really knock their socks off. What do you have to lose? Give them something memorable.

Karaoke Tip #2: Pick the right song. Feel the energy of the room and deliver the music they want to hear. I see too many people singing heartsick country music in an upbeat scene that just wants to hear you rock on some classic 80s one hit wonders. Take a little time with that song binder and give them a message and beat that resonates with their current energy level.

Life Tip #2: Know your audience. It is essential to know who is out there observing you. Feel their energy and adapt your message to meet it. Where are they coming from? Are they your personal or professional peers? What are you trying to say? How should it be delivered? These are all important questions to answer.

Karaoke Tip #3: Make it memorable. Your audience may be under the influence, but you can still make them remember you. Ham it up. Get a little unconventional. Invite someone on stage with you. Once in college I sang Cher’s “I Got You Babe” with a random forty five year old woman. I never saw that woman again but I made an impact on her in that moment. It was a lot of fun.

Life Tip #3: Make an impact. When you interact with someone always give them something to take away. If you teach somebody something they will remember you for that. Again, be unconventional and make it a positive experience.

Karaoke & Life Tip #4: There is no such thing as failure. You either succeed or you learn. Go into an experience and keep that in mind. Don’t fear failure but rather see it as a natural part of improving your life.

Karaoke & Life Tip #5: Have fun. Life is supposed to be fun. Don’t let Mother Nature or your karaoke audience down! If you are having fun, the people around you will enjoy themselves as well.

Although many don’t look at life through the eyes of a karaoke performer, some of these thoughts resonated with me recently so I wanted to share them with you. I never wanted to be an “Average Joe.” Grab some friends and give that local establishment’s karaoke night a shot!

Joseph W. Norman, resides in Macedon, NY, and is Chief Enthusiasm Officer of Notable and Newsworthy and Editor of The VIP Profiles. He is currently a full time real estate investor that would love to meet you!

He can be reached at or 607.743.8569.