Facing Mean Faces: How To Deal With Unkind Looks From The Audience

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a big advocate of making eye contact with the audience when you sing. In fact a while back I wrote an article spelling out specifically why you should never sing entire songs with your eyes closed.

But let’s face it, there’s a reason why many people would rather close their eyes than look at the audience. The fact is, not every face you see in the audience is kind. And it’s already hard enough for some people to get up there in the first place. Now you want me to open my eyes too Ron?!

Well, yes I do. And if you think about your performances as mini-messages, or conversations with the audience it should become obvious why you’d want to look at the person you’re conversing with or delivering a message to once in a while. But the reality is no matter how well you’re doing there will always be people in the audience who seem less than enthusiastic about you. They may be looking at you with a blank expression, a mean expression or maybe not looking at you at all. There may be people in the audience who are completely immersed in some mundane activity like rumbling through their purse, or looking at their cell phone.

But audiences are a lot like life. They both have good and bad, positive and negative elements. So the best thing to do with an audience is the same thing we do with life. We avoid focusing entirely on the negative aspects and instead focus on the positive. Because you see just like there will always be people in every audience who aren’t feeling you, there will always be people in the audience who are.

You won’t be reaching or blessing everybody. That’s life. So the best thing to do is simply focus your attention on the ones you are blessing and reaching. A simple way to do both- increase your eye contact while also avoiding as much as possible those faces that may discourage you is a performance technique called the “Four Square” method.

To do this, you mentally divide the audience in to 4 square sections. As you sing, you simply move your eyes from one square to the next, then the next, and so on. But here’s the key! Most of the time there will be at least one or more people in each one of those sections who are with you all the way. They are enjoying you, being blessed, smiling or praising God, standing , whatever they do when they’re being blessed.

Your job is to find and focus on those people in every one of those sections. Look at the first section, make eye contact with the people being blessed. Move your eyes to the next section, do the same thing. Just keep your eyes moving from one “square” to the next, making contact with the people in that section that are being blessed by what God is giving them through you. You’ll be encouraged by them and they’ll get an even deeper connection with the song because of your direct eye contact with them.

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6 Responses to Facing Mean Faces: How To Deal With Unkind Looks From The Audience

  1. I enjoyed this, like the method you suggest, I am going to try it. Thanks, Ron!

  2. Chikodi Uzoamaka says:

    Thanks Bro Ron!

  3. Favour Meledious says:

    I’ ve really been blessed by this music ministry. My singing has really improved. Thanks Ron for the five day free singing lessons. I thank God for using you to be a blessing to those He has called to serve Him. Thanks also for your follow up and post which you never get tired of. Am trusting God for fund to enable me start this lesson fully. God bless you.

  4. alyce says:

    A lesson I learned: I was invited to speak to a university night school class, so the class wasn’t typical college age. Most were working adults extending their education. This was by no means a ‘congregation’ although the subject matter was Spirituality in Black America. Meanwhile the Lord was leading me off my prepared notes.

    Throughout I hadn’t felt I’d made much of a connection, if any at all. That seemed to bear out in the Q & A. I felt it was totally dry. (Usually I can tell by smiles and grins if there are believers in the crowd.) After dismissal, the first one to speak to me was the person I felt was tolerating the whole lecture and couldn’t wait to get out of there. She thanked me and asked if she could hug me! And she was followed by a number of her classmates! I was stunned!

    My lesson was that I don’t need to decide who I think is in the ‘audience’ or congregation. If I really trust God, and know his Word does not return void; then what I need to do is obey and put out there what He has given me, and trust that He will have His Word do what He wants it to do and to whom…and when. Applies to vocalists too? Reports came back from the professor from their next session about how much they got out of a yielded vessel. At least, I try to be! We don’t know where folks are in their walk. We minister regardless. God gives the increase in due time.

    So, the 4 corner approach is good. In small rooms, looking at the back of the room, skimming the tops of heads from left to right and back again achieves the same thing. Great post, Bro. Ron!

  5. Charises says:

    Dear Mr. Ron,

    I enjoyed your first 5 free singing lessons. I am a musical artist and would like to get pricing information for private vocal sessions.


  6. Jackie Pack says:

    Good words, Ron!

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