How to Chat to Your Audience without Sounding Fake


Create a relationship with the audience that feels present, authentic and worthy of holding their attention –says Gary Williams

No one is born with the ability to tell anecdotes in front of 800 strangers with a spotlight burning into their face.

It takes a lot of time and practice to make something look easy.

Value The Gaps

Director Kim Gavin has worked on the London Olympics and huge concert tours. He says, “It is what’s in the gaps that makes the magic.”

There is lots of material out there — or in your head.

Write it down, become a collector, keep it safe and one day you’ll find the perfect place to use it.

StageChat_text02The Four Chat Types

One way to simplify things is to divide your “chat” into four types: information, personal anecdotes, famous anecdotes and comedy.

Once you start to think of things for each of these areas, you will have a “repertoire” to draw from in a variety of situations.

Information will include dates when a song was recorded, how many copies it sold, who wrote it and son on.

Sharing personal anecdotes is a great way to connect with your audience. Tell them what the song means to you, when you first heard it, what inspired you to sing or maybe you met the original artiste.

garywilliamsinsertFamous anecdotes are great stories you’ll find in biographies. Used in the right way they will add interest, authority and humour to your show.

Create a Conspiracy

A crucial ingredient of a good performer is spontaneity.

Time Out reviewer Ben Walters says, “A cabaret show isn’t just a transaction – an audience paying to be entertained – but a collaboration, or even a conspiracy, between everyone in the room.”

Learn to love interacting with your audience. You don’t have to be the best singer in the world, but a bit of charm goes a long way.

Whatever you say must be sincere.

StageChat_Text01You must feel it or they won’t believe it. Offer something of yourself.

Everything you do comes back to making a connection with the audience.

Keep it Real

Remember, the key to good patter is sincerity. Keep it real, and follow these simple steps:

• Think of your own anecdotes and write them down.
• Research your subject and become a collector. Write down any interesting facts and well known stories you find.
• Only use humour that’s a good fit for you and your show.
• Rehearse your new anecdotes and stories out loud.
• Practise them on your friends, in front of the mirror, in the car.
• Practise them again, and again, until they are second nature.
• Don’t steal other people’s material and routines.

I’m going to leave the last word to singer Lennie Watts: “Don’t strive for perfection, strive to be present and alive in each moment!”

garywilliamsbioGary Williams is a singer and author of ‘Cabaret Secrets – How to Create Your Own Show, Travel the World and Get Paid to Do What You Love’. For more details and to hear his Podcasts click here.

  • Karen Chung

    Great article!