If you want to know what’s working and what isn’t, or if you want to see if there are any disconnects in how you’re being perceived, don’t be afraid to hang around after a live performance gig, competition, pageant, or speaking engagement, and mingle with those that were within earshot. You’ll get what you need most to gauge your impact:
The most powerful tool you have for learning how to sing is the question. Don’t be shy about asking. You need to sharpen your questioning skills so that you ask better, focused questions, but be prepared for the honest answers that may run the gamut from bitter sting to sweet surprise.
Post Performance Butterflies
Many performers get more butterflies over facing a post performance audience than they do in those first few moments before their opening song, or that first wobble down the runaway, or tongue-tied trip following a teleprompter, or knee-knocking welcome to hundreds at a convention center.
Wanting to know how you’re doing makes you vulnerable, and that can be scary. However, the more you make it a habit to solicit feedback, the more comfortable you’ll get. In fact, you’ll even look forward to such times as bonding time or hang time with fans, peers, and all kinds of critics.
Online vs. Live Feedback
Online feedback can be harsh, but it’s easier for many to take because you’re in control of the process. If something in the “comments” thread is hard to take, you can get back to it later. If you read something you like, or in some cases see or hear something favorable or memorable, you can save it and then play it as many times as you wish.
With live responses the pain and pleasure may be fleeting, but you can get personal information for follow up when you receive feedback that you feel requires further investigation, clarification, or prompts the initiation of some plan of action.
Know Your Targets
Feedback gives you information not only on how you’re perceived and if you’re on target, but it also provides an opportunity to get a better sense of where your audience is coming from. You get the chance to ask questions about their response to your performance, participation, or presentation, so that you have a better understanding of where they’re coming from.
Many times you will find inspiration for new material, adjustments to your song sets, stories to flesh out, staging concepts, or musical arrangements. You may get ideas for themes or topics to address as a singer, speaker, songwriter, playwright, storyteller, local media personality, marketing consultant, state beauty pageant winner, aspiring politician, and so on.
So is there anything you can do to optimize the quality or value of the feedback you receive? Of course there is, and it all starts with questions.
Hungry + Curious
In fact, you must get in the habit of staying hungry and curious for information and feedback in all aspects of your career. For example, if you’re a singer-songwriter, make the effort to contact songwriters and other singing musicians to gain advice on challenges they’ve faced in advancing their respective careers.
Get tips on lyric writing or composition, but also ask about challenges with getting gigs, trends they see happening in the business, marketing opportunities through social networking, and the benefits that come with booking sessions with Brett Manning’s certified master associates.
If you’re a voiceover talent, a broadcast journalist, or a media spokesperson for a business who has been working Brett’s programs to strengthen their voice, get advice from your peers on challenges faced, image issues and concerns, and always ask about the highlights. Find out about decisions they’ve made that advanced their career or opened a door that lead to tremendous growth. You want to stay curious and hungry for information that will trigger positive changes and opportunities for growth.
So whatever the career focus for using your voice, ask questions to gain more valuable information on what works, what doesn’t, what to steer away from, what to consider. Give special attention to any survival tips that may impact your area of focus, such as how to recover or bounce back after a poor performance, how to handle equipment failure at a venue, or how to keep going after losing a band member, missing that big break you almost received, or coming up short in a local competition.
Gather + File
Keep records of information gathered through feedback on line, on the road, in meetings; compare notes from voice lessons such as studio sessions with Shelby Rollins, Leigh Nash, Jesse Nemitz, or Jason Catron in Nashville with those from your Skype sessions with Chris Keller or Zuke Smith in New York. Stay curious and open to opportunities to grow and learn.
Feed Your Network
Always ask for contacts that could lead to more gigs, speaking engagements, commercial voiceover work, agency or management changes – anything and everything that can have a positive impact on your voice and career is a top priority.
When seeking feedback on a live performance gig, demo work in the studio, a speaking engagement at a charity event, a guest host appearance at a talent show or beauty pageant – have specific questions prepared that frame, focus, and funnel feedback. This helps you cut to the chase and get the information that you’re seeking.
For example, if you’re a singer that just finished a live set at an outdoor festival, start off by asking a general question such as what they enjoyed the most. If you tried out a new song and had a specific objective in mind for the song’s reception, ask if they picked up on what you were looking for. Then, if they say, yes, follow with asking what specifically made the point clear for them. Ask follow up questions to get a clear sense of what specifically resonated with your audience. Find out what they relate to. This information can be used to help you make adjustments in audience appeal or in image changes for perception as desired.
When working with Brett Manning’s stable of certified master associates do not hesitate to share your concerns and solicit specific feedback on issues from your voice to choices in material to recommended tools and resources for artist development.
Use the SingingSuccess.TV forums to share stories of any career adjustments or talent tweaking you’ve engaged because of feedback – both promising and disappointing. Let others know what worked and why, as well as what didn’t work as well as expected.
Speaking Like Singing
Invest in Brett’s products to maximize the full potential of your speaking and singing voice. His method and approach also promotes optimum health and care of the voice.
Well-Versed + Well-Rehearsed
Just as it’s critical that you be well-rehearsed and full-prepared for each live performance, studio session, competition, audition, gig, pageant, broadcast event, guest host assignment, or other engagement – you must also be well-versed and rehearsed in preparation for soliciting feedback.
Whether it’s a career in singing, in cartoon character voice work, or as a bilingual broadcast journalist doing live translation, proactive engagement of feedback can give you that extra piece of information that opens a door that leads to unlimited success and appreciation for the gift of your unique voice. That is true singing success.