I remember asking a mate after a gig “How was I?” I had just come off stage, full of myself, and I thought I’d aced it.
“Not bad”, he answered, “but you could have been a lot better”.
He then tore my act to bits telling me where I could have introduced a song better, asked why I kept looking at the ceiling when I was trying to remember my words instead of looking at the audience, and why did I sing the last song in G when it would have been better down a tone.
He was just being honest. I asked him and he told me the truth which I hadn’t expected.
Asking for feedback is difficult – and I didn’t get the reaction I expected!
The Mutual Appreciation Society does you no good at all.
I try not to get defensive when receiving negative feedback – particularly when I trust the person I am asking. I guess if you don’t want to know the truth you shouldn’t ask.
A mate of mine gave up gigging altogether just because one person in the audience criticised his singing. He had done hundreds of gigs over the years and he is damn good at what he does – and just because one idiot opened his mouth and was critical he decided to give up gigging for good. What made that one person in the audience so powerful? My mate didn’t like rejection – simple as that. Luckily, he has recently changed his mind and started playing again, but what a waste!
“So, How Was I”?
Rather than ask – How was I?” maybe you should be asking…
- How could I have improved my singing?
- How could I have made my guitar playing better?
- How could I have been more entertaining?
- Which areas of my performance can be improved?
- What could I have done to make it better?
Or even ask yourself
- What did I want to achieve from the gig?
- Did I tell people about my CD?
- Did I tell people about my mailing list?
- Did I tell people about my next gig?
- What is my target audience?
- If I was in the audience – would I pay go and see me? If not why not? What do I need to change?
- What is my USP? Its no good being a clone of every other performer – how can I be unique?
- What songs got the best reaction?
- Are there songs I like playing but the audience doesn’t enjoy listening to?
- What can I do better?
Much better than “How was I?”