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The obligation of the audience

what kind of audience are you?Here's one thing Seth Godin said when we spoke that keeps bouncing around my head. You can have it in yours, too - here, see what you make of it. He's talking about people sidling into auditoriums to hear a speaker but positioning themselves near the back, on an aisle seat, ready for a quick getaway. 

What we forget is that this is all a duet. That it's so easy to imagine that people are doing things to us - that they are organizing this event to us, they are writing this book to us, they are writing this blog to us, but it's not true. They're doing it with us. You have an obligation as an audience member that if you go see Keith Jarrett play the piano, don't cough. Bring your own cough drops, don't cough. If you go to the opera, be prepared to engage in the encore when it comes. If you read a book and it works, give the book to someone else. Spread the word. This is the obligation of the audience. If the author can't count on this, if we count on it, we're going to be disappointed. What we're missing is that good audiences make good performances.

I tend to focus on the creating - the writing, the course delivery, the speaking, the coaching. But I'm also the one receiving others' creative genius - I'm a reader, a learner, a listener. Too often I do all those things without fully stepping up to the role. I sometimes check emails while listening to a webinar. I get way too involved in the Twitter backchannel when I'm at conferences listening to wise and articulate speakers. My mind flits while I'm reading, and I realise I'm just staring at the page. Too often I hear or read something that moves me and i don't let the person know what it's meant to me. 

What kind of audience are you? Do you put your back into it, do you step up to your obligation as part of the unspoken deal with the performer to enable them to give of their best, or are you sat in an aisle seat fiddling with your phone? When you read something good, read it properly. Bring all your insight and experience to it, and use it to create something in your turn. 

It's the idea economy, and you can help it grow. 

This entry was posted on 26 September 2016 at 22:39 and is filed under writing | creativity. You can leave a response here.

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