This week, I’m back at Terranea to deliver another week of my firm’s Discover program. I was really nervous for this session – much more than my first one as orchestrator, a few weeks ago.
A few days after my last session, I got videos of my performance – and I was really unhappy with how I did. I was looking down at my notes a lot, and in the post-session feedback, some of the senior associates commented that it made me seem scripted rather than authentic. Although I still got great “scores” (my NPS was 78; that is, 82% said I was great and only 4% said I didn’t do a good job), I really wanted to improve for my next one. I love the content of Discover so much and if I’m not able to do a stellar job presenting it, I’d rather have someone else do it better, so that the senior associates get as much benefit from it was possible.
However, yesterday was fantastic! Our opening session starts with an organization called Drum Café, who provides drums for everyone in the audience and we all play along to different rhythms. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy and silly, but banging on a bongo for fifteen minutes gave me exactly the right energy level I needed to go up onstage and do a great job in front of 500 people.
Today and tomorrow, my presentations are much more limited – it’s primarily emceeing the program, introducing other speakers, and telling the senior associates where to go next. Thursday will be another big day of delivering personal content/messaging, but for today and tomorrow, I can mostly relax (in between prepping like crazy for Thursday, of course).
One thing that has me especially excited for today’s presentation? My walkup song. On Monday, my presentation is preceded by the aforementioned Drum Café – and as I mentioned, that gives me a ton of energy before I walk onstage. (Plus a billion extra “steps” on my Fitbit… woo!) Today, tomorrow, and Thursday, there is no Drum Café… but there is fun, upbeat pop music playing in the room as people are walking in. While waiting to go onstage, I am usually hanging out on the side of the room, bopping along to the music but trying not to look like too much of a weirdo in case the audience sees me over there 🙂 But I do have to listen to that music closely, because my cue to go onstage and get started is my very own “walkup song.”
The Sunday before my first session as orchestrator, my boss Patrick told me I would need to come up with a walkup song, which our amazing sound guys would find and load into their playlist. That same song would be played every day, so it had to be a good one! I gave it a lot of thought, and almost went with something by Rascal Flatts, but then I decided that country music might be a little bit polarizing. I then debated “Good Life” by One Republic – a song that makes me so happy and rings so true (“To my friends in New York, I say hello. My friends in LA, they don’t know where I’ve been for the past few years or so: Paris to China to Colorado”). But instead, I chose “Pompeii” by Bastille. It has a fantastic beat, and to me, just feels like some kind of a victory song. In fact, I used to play it as just that whenever I completed an exceptionally tough workout! “Pompeii” makes me feel powerful and accomplished and confident – exactly how I need to feel when I walk onstage.
Music can have such a powerful effect on people. Through running marathons, I’ve learned that the right song can completely change your mood around and give you the energy to keep going – which is why I put so much thought into my running playlists before a race. And if power posing can be used to psyche people up before presentations, then why not dancing along to a great song?
What’s your walkup song?