call and response

Jay Clouse leadership, relationships

For several years, I’ve helped put some small dinner meetups together. We usually have 10-20 entrepreneurs, artists, and investors in the room with the promise of good group discussion.

We start the discussion with introductions. But the veterans know that the whole point is the introductions. Talking about what everyone is involved in organically spins into fascinating conversation, and then we will eventually conclude a topic by moving on to the next “intro.”

Another pseudo-secret is that I always kick off the introductions (and it’s not just because I love to talk about myself).

By kicking off the introductions, I set the tone for the conversation. I set a precedent that everyone else subconsciously anchors to and crafts their approach accordingly.

So when I introduce myself, I remove all facade, cut through the bullshit, and lay out a raw, authentic look at what I’m currently doing and struggling with.

In The Coaching Habit by Michael Stanier, he explains part of the reason why Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” became popular.

Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2012 summertime hit “Call Me Maybe” was more than a little popular. The video has north of 700 million views on YouTube. The song is also one of the latest examples of a very old form of music, call and response.

Carly Rae sings (“Hey, I just met you”) and the music response (cue violins). Carly Rae sings again (“And this is crazy”), and again the music replies. You can trace this pattern back through classics like Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” to the deep roots of folk music and blues.

Starting a conversation with openness and vulnerability works like call and response. When you set that tone, it lowers the shields of others in the conversation.

You’re basically saying, “I trust you, and I want to connect with you.” And others will respond in the same way.


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