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How To Get Better Engagement

Jul 29, 2017 | How-to, motivational, Tips & Tricks | 3 comments

What Bar Singers Can Teach us about Better Engagement

We’ve been in our bolt hole in Portugal these past two weeks enjoying glorious sunny hot weather. We aim to come here 2-3 times a year to completely switch off and take a break and recharge our batteries.

One of our favourite haunts is an Irish Bar in the old town of Albufeira called The Shamrock.

Neither of us is Irish or have any Irish ancestry but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the welcoming inclusive atmosphere you always get there.

In fact, it’s not just frequented by the Irish. English, Scots and Welsh are often found there too. And many come back year after year.

Despite it being located up some stairs in a shopping complex doesn’t stop it from being crammed most nights with people of all ages, from young families with their children, young adults, old people and everyone in between.

The owner and staff always greet you with a smile, find you a seat if it’s crowded and make you feel welcome and chat with you.

Patrons are equally friendly and even though you’ll probably never meet again you can strike up a conversation with anyone and feel like you’ve been buddies forever.

The other unique thing about this bar is they have live singers every night in the season. There are regular singers who have regular slots and there are guests.

Singers are usually really good. But interestingly there are some singers that really know how to nail it.

What makes a really good singer that nails it different from just a really good singer?

This is what I observed

The really good singers stand on the stage and sing. They generally look good, they sing really well. But the audience aren’t really paying that much attention. It’s like the singer is background noise while everyone carries on their own conversation trying to speak louder than the ‘noise’ coming from the singer.

At the end of the evening, the singer feels ok, the audience feel ok. Yes it was an ok night.

The really good singers that nail it are singers like Danny Maverick and Declan Ryan. They’re both really good singers and they have their own regular slots in the season at the Shamrock.

At the end of a Danny evening or Declan evening, everyone is buzzing and so totally engaged with the singer. They stay longer, buy more drinks and come back again.

The difference

What do they do that’s different? Is it their repertoire? What they wear? How they look?


It’s how they get engagement.

Engagement Lessons from Bar Singers Click To Tweet

And I think how they get better engagement is a lesson to everyone in business.

Danny and Declan both do this and so do all the other really good singers that nail it.

They don’t just sing well.

They don’t just pick popular toe-tapping numbers.

It’s what they do in between

In between singing, they interact with the audience and ask them questions.

Not just blanket ‘crowd’ questions.

They look at each group of people or couple, catch their eye or get their attention and ask them: ‘where are you from’, ‘how long are you here for’, ‘who’s that with you’

and then they’ll relay something personal back relating to what their answer was – he’s visited there before and is that quirky thing still there or he cracks a joke which has the whole place exploding with laughter.

Even though the venue holds maybe 40-50 people he treats everyone there as special. And everyone leaves feeling incredibly happy (and maybe quite drunk?).

The singer took notice of them and they had dialogue. They felt part of the performance, enjoyed themselves immensely, pay more attention to the performance, stay longer and buy more drinks (happy bar owner)!

How To Get Better Engagement

So, the lesson I’ve taken from really good singers like Danny and Declan is it’s not just about being really good at what you do – singing nicely from the stage, because if you are largely being ignored by your audience, who does that benefit?

Not the audience – they only get a mediocre/ok experience. Not the singer – ok they got to sing, but it wasn’t really appreciated. Not the bar owner – the audience didn’t buy many drinks or feel compelled to rave about their experience and come back.

To nail it, it’s about interacting with your audience, asking them questions, responding to their answers, being likeable and making them feel part of your business (your performance), which makes them like you, stay longer and buy more from you.

Which would you rather be? The performer who sings their heart out but is ignored? Or the Danny or Declan of your industry who absolutely knows how to connect and engage with their audience.

And how easy do you make it for your audience to like you, stay longer and buy more from you?

What about you?

If you’d like some more ideas of what that might look like for your audience in your online marketing then post a comment below or email me.


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  1. Linda Anderson

    I love this analogy, Vee – makes it really clear how important it is to engage with our audience at a personal level so they feel connected, seen and heard – which is what we all want in the end!

    Portugal is wonderful too, isn’t it? Your story makes me hanker to go back again!

  2. Vee Smith

    Thanks Linda. Yes we love Portugal

  3. Declan Ryan

    Wow! I’m extremely flattered, Vee – thank you so very, very much! I didn’t realise that what I do had such a profound effect! Beaming from ear to ear, I am!

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