Lessons from Showbiz: Every Performance Matters

Every_Performance_Matters5From 2002-2005, one performer in Las Vegas was voted the top entertainer every year.

His name was Danny Gans.

As a pro baseball player for the Chicago White Sox, Danny picked up a small role in the iconic baseball movie “Bull Durham.” After an injury ended his baseball career, he parlayed his talent for vocal impressions into a showbusiness career. He started at the bottom and spent years working his way up

When I first worked with Danny, it wasn’t in a glitzy Vegas showroom. In fact, it was long before he became famous… in the middle of a blizzard at a half-empty Knights of Columbus hall in Fargo, North Dakota.

Not that it mattered, because “the man of a thousand voices” gave that audience every bit of the show that won him so many accolades later in his career. His effort was as palpable as his sweat was visible. After his closing number the audience—a half empty house, due to the weather—showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.

Unknown to Danny until after the show, that meager audience included an older couple with their visiting daughter… who happened to be assistant to the entertainment director at Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. This led to Danny’s first Vegas appearance.

Perhaps he was applying the dedication it takes to be an elite athlete to his show business career. Perhaps he was so used to being an showbiz underdog, he simply got in the habit of giving his all. Whatever the reason, Danny became known for the fierce commitment he made to making each show his best. His audiences could feel it… and the industry noticed.

Anytime your name or your brand is attached to a meeting or event, you will leave an impression on people who matter to you and your organization. A few suggestions…

  • Arrive early, so you have time to deal with the unexpected.
  • Dress appropriately—rule of thumb is presenters should dress “one step up” from the audience.
  • Be prepared… both with your message and with the technical/logistic details.
  • Rehearse—not just for yourself, but for the tech people who are there to support you.
  • And give it your all. Set your mind to delivering the best performance you can give on that day.

Whether they number in the tens or the thousands, your audience always deserves your best. Besides, you never know who might be in the house and what it could lead to. Every performance matters.


Rick Cornish creates communications that inform, influence and inspire… helping organizations increase sales, promote unity and encourage their people to embrace change. Working in video, corporate meetings, event marketing and more; Rick delivers purposeful creative that drives business results and builds stronger brands.

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