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  • Jack Rugan

Chuck Berry = Showman!

When Chuck Berry passed away in March of 2017 at the age of 90, the world lost not only the writer of some of the most iconic songs in the history of rock and roll, but also one the ultimate onstage showmen. His onstage splits and famous "duck walk" went on to influence many other musicians who incorporated signature moves into their onstage performance. Berry recognized that a performer must give the audience something more than just playing the latest hit record onstage. When the legendary guitarist was invited to play The Newport Jazz festival in 1958, festival founder George Wein initially cringed when he witnessed Berry perform the signature duck walk during the song "School Day" but then noticed just how much the crowd loved it. Wein later wrote in his memoir "the grand irony lies in the fact that putting Chuck Berry on at Newport was a daring move that opened the door or similar presentations all over the world". To me, that is one powerful quote! Chuck Berry had it all - the songs, the look, the presence, the charisma.

I'm a firm believer that when performing your material live, you must give your audience something visual in addition to those catchy lyrics and chords. There is nothing more boring than seeing an artist either just stand there, or even worse, sitting down and proceed to play their music EXACTLY how it sounds on the recorded version. Now, not everyone needs to be like Mr. Berry or any of the many other performers who developed their own "moves", however, every performer should provide some sort of visual accompaniment to what the crowd is listening too.

Now, for you as a professional presenter, these same principles apply. Your solution, product, or service may very well be a winner on paper or online and the reviews may be very positive. However, HOW you present it makes all the difference in the world. The visual accompaniment is integral to the presentation of your latest "record". From your onstage attire (see the column "Dress like you belong onstage"to learn more) to the carefully selected visuals you incorporate, and most importantly your presence and charisma will be the difference maker when it comes to your "fans" remembering you in a positive light.

This is just one of the many areas we focus on with the "Rock The Presentation!" workshop. For more information on this exciting and fun 1 to 2-day experience, click here.

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