It’s an arbitrary estimate, but I’d say one out of every ten people are authentically comfortable performing Karaoke. Similar to public speaking or a solid debate strategy, I believe the art of performing Karaoke is a skill that should be learned by all and the act alone is a leading indicator of your tenacity in other areas of life. Among many other reasons, here are 5 things that make Karaoke so daunting:
- You have to think on-the-fly.
- You must multitask under pressure.
- You must appeal to a skeptical audience.
- You are forced to rethink the things that you thought you knew.
And of course, there’s the whole vulnerability complex that comes with exposing your level of talent (or lack there of) in an area that all humans can relate to.[col_half] [/col_half] [col_half_last] I had the opportunity to try my first solo Karaoke performance while at the 2014 SXSW Conference in Austin, TX. Despite having performed multiple times in my high school a cappella group, The Pleiadies, I completely sucked, and here’s why: [/col_half_last]
Fail #1) I didn’t do my research.
I had no “go-to” song. EVERYONE should have a go-to Karaoke song(s). When you’re faced with a 500 page book of options, even the most prolific performers would get analysis paralysis. This is the same scenario as if someone asked you to recount a time in your professional experience where you overcame an obstacle. The abyss of possible anecdotes that demonstrate this is overwhelming so pick your example (or song) and tailor it to perfection.
Fail #2) Showmanship & Sales.
I may know every word and riff associated with Lauren Hill’s “Killing Me Softly” but that is not enough to sell it. Just like any interview or presentation, simply relaying the content or reiterating what’s stated on your resume is not enough. You have to play it up. Dance a little. Delight your audience. Deliver with gusto. If the lyrics and vocals suffer as a result of your epic knee slide across the room, you will be forgiven.
Fail #3) My confidence crumbled.
[col_half] Even worse than somebody destroying a song is watching somebody not even try. Isn’t that the ultimate failure? I let the fear of not doing well enough hold me back from doing anything. Plus, your audience feeds off of what you give them and the result is a feedback loop that can either work for you or against you. It doesn’t take many episodes of “The Voice” to see this in practice. As soon as one coach turns around, the singer’s confidence builds, momentum and energy pick up, and all of a sudden she’s validated and has the power to sidestep the nerves that would otherwise sabotage that high note in the song’s finale. [/col_half][col_half_last] [/col_half_last]
However, the coaches don’t turn their chairs around if you don’t start off with a baseline level of confidence. Rarely will you get the benefit of the doubt from a bunch of people whose job it is to poke holes in your qualifications. You must build your own momentum in an interview because your audience is not there to do that for you. If you stumble at the beginning, you are paving the way for failure for the duration of your conversation.
I relate Karaoke to the interview process because it is another infrequent, art-of-delivery experience where you simply need to bring it. Rarely does your audience have the patience or tolerance for a “do-ever”, nor should they. Let’s be honest, no matter how much stage fright you may have, watching other people do Karaoke for a prolonged amount of time is about as fun as watching someone read a book. And ultimately in both situations, if you don’t bring it, someone else will and the only position you will assume is the role of spectator.