Crosby, Stills, Nash & A Business Speech: The Business Definition of “Live in Concert”

I was recently contacted by the head of a major non-profit asking my advice on an upcoming speech. Speeches are one of my side-specialties…they don’t come along that often but when they do, they can be quite fun. And as it was a non-profit, I too did it for no-profit.

The speaker needed to address a crowd on the importance of preparation and training in fund-raising. His organization is a major raiser of funds for disaster-relief around the world. His task: to explain how fund-raisers are trained, practice, perfect their trade and are able to make an emotional appeal and connection to the public. Of course he had the company training manual to work with, but he considered it outdated, out-moded and somewhat boring.

I thought for about an hour and then asked Jerry two simple questions. 1) “Have you ever bought an album/CD of a great band?” and 2) “Have you ever been to a concert of one of the bands of which you have previously bought an album/CD?” The answer was “Yes.”

“Great,” I answered. “We have your speech!” He seemed stunned.

Without reproducing an entire half-hour speech here, these are the main points which were addressed. I believe they can apply to any business where there are components of training, practicing, perfecting and interaction with the public (prospects/clients/customers).

When you buy an album or CD, you are not buying the actual sounds that are produced by an individual or band.

The music begins as rehearsal. It begins with practice. And it begins with the “raw” sounds that emenate from the vocal cords and instruments of the band-members in a studio. Later on a sound technician mixes sounds, other sounds are added in, musical instruments are added in, and more. Effects are produced to make the overall presentation as perfect as possible. The result is the album or CD.

In business, perfecting one’s craft begins in a vacuum, a “virtual” studio in fact. Lessons are learned. Drills take place. Scripts are gone over. Things are “tweaked.” It’s just one huge rehearsal!

Of course, as any lover of live music can attest to, the hallmark of any great band is the ability to thrive and excel live in concert. Whether in an arena of 5,000 or a stadium of 50,000, it’s time to “put up or shut up!” There’s no room for errors, no do-overs and no “tweaking.”

It’s the same in business. It’s time to put all of your skills, wares, talents and knowledge to the test and “connect” with others. Whether a sales-person in a conference room, a telemarketer on the phone or a businessperson calling a prospect, it’s time to deliver!

As part of the presentation for the speech, I decided to incorporate a music video. I chose an act whose CDs I cherish and who I have had the opportunity and PRIVILEGE to see and hear live in concert. I consider them to be one of the greatest acts in rock history, both in studio and live. At the end of the presentation, two videos were presented. The first was Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Southern Cross,” the studio-perfected video and song which I will not show.

The second, shown below, was their live appearance of the same song. It is a live video which rocks! I believe it demonstrates perfectly how to go out and connect face-to-face. With no “tweaking,” polishing or studio effects, it is a masterpiece which represents the culmination of practice and hard work! To me it represents making the business connection and everything about the “WOW-Factor!” 

It never fails to amaze me how much more effective a relationship and presentation is in-person, unscripted and naturally. I hope you enjoy!


About 200 people, I hear,  played “air guitar” and sung along during the presentation. A standing ovation followed. I have a feeling it was more for the magic of Crosby, Stills & Nash than for anything I did 🙂

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Yonatan Maisel is a business blogger and author. He started a business blog one year ago. 90% of his new clients now find their way to him as a direct result of having read one or more posts. He is a regular contributor at www.bizSugar.com and www.jobshuk.com.
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