The National Speakers Association just completed its annual convention in NYC. My friend Eric Chester created a concert experience around this year’s theme, NSA Rocks. He exhibited the power of extraordinary creativity, planning and attention to detail that brought out nearly 2000 attendees to one of the world’s most expensive cities in a time of economic downturn.
I’ve long been a fan of REO Speedwagon so it was a special treat to meet the lead singer Kevin Cronin. I spent a few minutes talking with him at a private reception and was impressed with what a genuinely nice guy he is.
There was a panel with famed promoter David Fishof, Kevin and Simon Kirke, Bad Company founder. There were lots of ideas that apply not just to rock music but speaking and even leadership.
Kevin said, “Everybody wants to be a rock star, but I needed it…” He went on to explain that is what gave him such an incredible sense of optimism and drive to succeed. He also spoke to the need for emotion in one’s craft, “It starts with emotion, that’s the seed…” Like him, I believe emotion-passion in some form-is critical for any remarkable performance.
Simon said, “Don’t bring the audience to your level–create a mutual level for your audience and you.” Interesting insight. What else does it take to be a rock star? “A pathological desire to show off helps,” he added.
He also said, “You can’t sit down to write a hit.” You sit down to write a song, or a speech, or whatever you need to create. It is persistence and hard work that turns some, but not all, into hits.