A few years ago, we hired a summer intern to help with special projects in our office. Two weeks into her internship, she cautiously approached my office and asked if she talk to me for a minute. She requested two weeks of vacation. My instant reaction was “are you kidding, you just started as an intern!” but instead I calmly asked her why she was requesting the time off. She replied that she was a member of a choir that won a spot to represent Canada at a global competition Vienna. I assured her taking the time off was fine and approved her to pursue this unique opportunity with full compensation under one condition. That condition was she had to document her experiences and then translate those experiences into the business world and world of sales demonstrating how it would help our team grow.
Here’s what she came back with.
Conducting refers to the coordinated actions of a group to achieve a goal.
The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble.
The best choral conductors are the most clear and consistent.
So, what’s the connection with sales?
Conductors act as guides to the orchestras and/or choirs they conduct.
They choose the works to be performed, study their scores to which they may make certain adjustments, work out their interpretation, and relay their ideas to the performers.
They may also attend to such organizational matters such as scheduling rehearsals.
Conducting isn’t just hand waving; it’s a very specific and often difficult choreography that should not vary between performances.
An excellent conductor will conduct in the same (or very similar) way in each rehearsal and performance.
When they choose to change a gesture, they should always make sure that the choir knows what is now expected of them.
A conductor must always be aware of the consequences of all their actions; conducting with a hand that is curved upward will almost always inexplicably encourage sopranos to go sharp, while conducting with a flat had encourages a more even sound.
Choristers, are so tuned to the conductor’s every move that even a change in their facial expression will have an effect on sound.
A cringe? They quiet down.
A smile? Their energy is doubled.
Nothing? They give nothing.
Essentially, a good conductor is the mirror image of what they expect their choir to be; they know the music just as well, if not better, and they give the energy that they expect in return.
Now, what you can take away from her learning to become the best conductor in your chosen field?