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Public Speaking Example: How A Blues Legend Maintains Stage Control

Imma try it again. The sentence that made the audience poop their pants and obey the master called Buddy Guy during a live performance (captured on the video below). A prime public speaking example of how to command the attention of a very immature audience and reestablish your presence.

So, in other words, this video is about presenting and pitching.

What the following video will show you is what to do when your audience starts to behave like a bunch of drunken, out of control kids. The interval of the first three minutes is where you will see the master at work trying to discipline the audience.

A Word On The Audience

It’s obvious that not all deserve the punishment Buddy wreaks upon them as some of the audience members are actually there to LISTEN to the master. But, you are as strong as your weakest link – and having even a small bit of the audience not behaving as they should, means that measures need to be taken to reinforce your presence.

I extracted 5 key moments from the video, explained them in shallow detail and provide a key lesson to be learned. First, watch the beginning of the video up until the 3rd minute.

Key Moment 1:

50 seconds down the video. A simpleton yells: You are better than this! referring to Buddy’s performance. My reaction:

You can feel the temperature drop by a couple of thousand degrees in the venue.

Let’s examine the simpleton in shallow detail.

First of all, you are a member of an audience that is listening to a public speaking gig. An audience is supposed to listen to the performer. If the performer is bad, you have some right to address him and let him know that his performance is bad.

You have that right IF and only IF

  • You are well versed in the subject of the performance and expect a certain level of quality of that performance.
  • Are also an expert as much as the performer is.
  • that performer is everyone else except Buddy Guy.

Second, you are addressing Buddy Guy. People would kill to see him perform, and the only thing you can say to him is “you are better than this”?

But Buddy is a pro. And he is patient.

He just lets that comment ricochet of his velvet shirt and waits for the right moment to destroy the simpleton.

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. – Aristotle

The Lesson:

Be patient and do not let them get to you until the right moment.

Key Moment 2:

1:30 – He tests the audience to see how much they are actually respecting his performance by letting them finish off a verse of his masterpiece. He knew beforehand that they would fail the test – he did it regardless just to have a valid reason to discipline them afterward.

This EPIC FAIL from the audience meant that this was the right time and right moment for Buddy to begin his disciplinary action.

Key Moment 3:

Now wait a minute, waaaait a minute, I come here to have some fun with you… 

The Lesson:

Let them know why you are here in the first place.

I was doing this same damn song about three weeks ago in Tokio. They knew what I was talking about and I know you know.

The Lesson:

Instill a sense of competition – let them know that the previous crowd was good, but also let them know that you came here because you thought they are even better than the last crowd but they failed your expectations

I did not come here…excuse me…KIDS, for you to fuck this song up like that.

The Lesson:

Let the audience know they fucked up.

He pauses, coughs on the side and leaves his head tilted slightly so that he announces his last piece.

Stone cold mastery

Key Moment 4:

2:15 – Imma try it again.

The Lesson:

Set an ultimatum and make it clear. This is your show. They came to see you perform. You are in charge of the venue, the audience, and the performance. YOU ARE THE MASTER.  If they prevent you from performing, you need to give them a proper spanking and let them know that FAILURES like that one will not be tolerated.

Man, that finger looks like it can slice you in half just by pointing it at you. Imagine how many times it has touched and played a guitar string? You could probably chisel a marble statue with it.

Then the test came to see if the audience has learned their lesson.

Key Moment 5

2:38 Judging by the smile on his face after he tested them, the audience passed the test and were allowed to be in the presence of the master for 7 more minutes.

After he rewarded them with a smile, Buddy continues on to do what he does best.


So to Conclude:

  • Do not fuck with Buddy Guys’ performance.
  • It is your public speaking performance. That means you need to establish your presence and control over EVERYTHING including the performance and the audience. Think of the venue as your laboratory and everything in it is part of your experiment. Establish control over the variables in order to become an example in the domain of public speaking.
  • Be patient and punish in the right moment.

Now watch the whole thing again and enjoy the master at work


Public speaking lessons from a blues legend



Creative Strategist. Owner of content production house BB Director, creative strategy studio viktori.co and nomadic travel blog Direktorium.org.Besides enjoying burgers, kickboxing, hiking, fishing and running, I enjoyed working with brands like Porsche, Flat-icons, Foodie Flashpacker, Drugwatcher and more.10 years of experience in creating strategies, ideas and implementing them. More than 10 years of experience eating burgers.

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