We interrupt this current series to bring you a crucial piece of information …
Think about an in-person conversation that you had with someone today. Not about what was said, but about what was done. Or, if you haven’t seen anyone yet today, stop reading this point, go find someone, have a conversation about the weather, and come back to finish reading this post.
It’s amazing how much of the tone of a conversation is determined not just by voice, but by body language and facial expression — most importantly, the eyes. Have you ever had an in-person conversation with someone where no eye contact was made? It was probably an awkward moment for at least one of you.
We all know that eye contact is important in communication, right?
Set the topic of eye contact aside for a minute, and let’s talk about music stands. It’s a stand that holds your music. Without it, you don’t know your music, right? I hope you disagree. Our goal should be to have no music stands at all. To that you say, “Andrew, I see you using a music stand almost every week!” I know, I’m guilty and am speaking to myself here too. But, there’s a difference between having a stand up there to know your music and having a stand up there for a quick reference check.
Here’s a reality check for each of us — If you walk on stage and need to stare at your music stand to know what’s coming next, you’re not prepared to lead. Do everything you possibly can to learn your music as best you can — don’t distract others by being distracted by your stand.
Now, I know that the issue for 99.9% of us isn’t that we don’t take the time to practice before Sunday. But, let’s call it like it is, my music stand in front of me on the stage is a security blanket. Can you relate? Have you ever just tried to go a Sunday without a stand? If you’re not used to it, it can be terrifying. You might even feel naked — “What am I supposed to hide behind now?!”.
Try taking it away sometime. It’ll feel good carrying the stand that was brought to you back to where it came from. What’s the worst that could happen? I guess you could play an entire set in the wrong key, or you might have to make up your own verses to some songs because you forgot the words — and all of that without having anything to hide behind anymore … I guess that would be bad.
But, I’m pretty sure that for all of us, a little bit of practice here and there might limit our mistakes down to a few. And the more we do it, the more comfortable we will get. And the more comfortable we get, the less mistakes we’ll make. And the less mistakes we make, the less distracting we become. And the less distracting we become, the better leaders we are.
With our music stands gone (or when we’re looking at them less), we’re then able to look up and make eye contact with the people we’re leading. The most engaging leaders are the ones that are making the most connections with the crowd.
Try it out — let us know what your experience was like.