TREVOR "The Games Man"


DO's and DON'Ts on Stage

by TREVOR "The Games Man"

Recently, when I was asked about the "DO's and DON'Ts" of being on stage, at first I drew a total blank because I don't ever think about how to perform when I'm on stage --- I'm too busy entertaining the crowd. But I definitely have DO's and DON'Ts. Here's a few of them in the order I thought of them:


DO make eye contact with every single person in the audience at some point in the show. This isn't always possible, but when it is, it really helps the performer "connect" with the audience.
DON'T ever turn your back to the audience unless it has a specific point in your show.
DO treat everyone in the audience the same: adults, teens, kids... treat them all the same. For instance, if you tease the kids, tease the adults, too. If you call on adults, call on kids, too. And so on.
DON'T talk down to children.
DON'T talk up to adults.
DON'T talk to teens, period. [Just kidding!]
DO treat teens as if they were adults unless they start acting like children, then come down on them hard.
DON'T just go full steam ahead with what you had planned if your audience is significantly different than what you thought it was going to be.
DO gear your material to the audience, that is, be flexible enough to be able to change your presentation to fit the audience.
DON'T EVER do little kid stuff with teens (unless you're teaching them stuff to do with little kids).
DO start any teen show off with displays of skill: your best, your trickiest, your hardest, your most impressive feats. Teens will only be impressed by you if you prove right at the start that you're good. With kids, you can save this stuff for last, but teens need to see first that you are an expert or you'll get no respect.
DON'T say "um" ever.
DO simply pause instead if you need to think for a moment.
DO say "please" every time you ask the audience or volunteers to do something.
DO get in the habit of saying "Thank you" afterwards.
DON'T mumble.
DO enunciate your words clearly.
DO speak slowly when you introduce yourself, especially if you have an unusual name.
DON'T speak so fast that it's hard for others to understand you.
DON'T swear, cuss, or curse... even euphemistically.
DON'T do anything you wouldn't want your mother, kids, favorite teacher, or mentor see you do.
DO bathe before every show. Brush your hair. Clean your fingernails. Oh yeah, and brush your teeth, too.
DO take advantage of spontaneous comments from the audience whenever it's appropriate.
DO have an arsenal of "damper lines" to deal with hecklers.
DO stop using the ones that don't actually work... even if you, personally, think they're funny.
DON'T try to be everything to everyone. No matter how good you are, there will be people who don't really care for what you do. Accept this as reality and get on with it.
DO ask for and listen carefully to all criticism. If you continually get the same types of negative comments:
DO something about it, even if you personally like the offending part the way it is. Get rid of it or improve it. This will make your performance better.
DO be absolutely ruthless in purging from your show anything that people find objectionable or offensive in any way.
DON'T listen to insults, though.
DON'T cry over spilled milk: if you make a mistake --- even worse --- do a lousy show, apologize, agree on a way to make atonement if called for [see my Quality Guarantee at the bottom of the page], and get over it.
DO have FUN. If you're not having a good time on stage, your audience will usually pick up on that.
DO have an attitude of gratitude. Thank the audience at the end of the show. And be sure to thank your host after the show, and again in writing or an email within a week.




PO Box 463, Haydenville, MA 01039