Work on the banter

WFP 20140115

At the end of last year I saw Fink (a rocking Melbourne band with headed up by two Fink brothers) perform their annual Christmas show. It was a great gig, full of energy, played to a pub full of mates singing along to a funky set.

Col Fink, the lead singer, told me that he hadn’t done any work on the banter. They don’t play together all that often, so they had got together for a couple of rehearsals, but he hadn’t put any thought into what was going to happen around the songs - the banter as he called it between songs.

I reckon that’s a mistake, or a missed opportunity at the least. These guys are all great musicians, and they know the songs. Rehearsing to make the music better isn’t going to make the experience of the punters who come along any better.

The music is 80% of the show. But these guys have all put in 20 years of practice to make the music great. And if most of the audience is like me, we’re not going to even notice is someone makes a mistake with the music, or care if we do notice. Pretty hard to get much improvement on that 80%.

The other 20% of the show is everything else. The setup of the room, the interaction … and the banter. And that’s where the opportunity to make the show even better lies. I think it’s the difference between crafting the set (i.e. which songs you are going to play in which order) and designing a show (what’s the journey you are going to take your audience on). Bob Dylan designs a set (at least when I saw him play). Robbie Williams designs a show.

It’s the same running a workshop. 80% is the content, what you say, the exercises people do, etc. And of course that’s critical. But it’s worth considering how you can improve the other 20% too - the space, the catering, the music, the name tags, the entrance, how you welcome people etc etc. Especially when the first 80% is pretty refined.

I imagine it’s the same for most things. The banter, the other 20%, can easily get forgotten.

Love to hear your thoughts - how do you neglect to work on the banter? You can leave them below.