Refining your message so that you can get it across is very important. This is why Twitter requires 250 words so that people don’t just start rambling. You need to clearly get out there so that you can get proper feedback. Join your host, Samantha Postman, and her friend Tre Ammatuna in a conversation about refining your message and connecting with people. Tre is a software engineer at Amazon AWS and he believes that receiving the proper feedback is everything. Listen to the conversation and how it’s important to really refine your message. So join in as Samantha talks about the energies of life, the rhythm of music, and much more.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Transcriptions @ http://samanthapostman.com
- 06:17 The Atomic Essay And How Twitter Teaches You To Be A Better Writer
- 11:47 The Art Of Refining Your Message
- 17:53 What I Learned When I Was Teaching
- 21:07 Rotating The Room – What Music Teaches Us
- 32:32 Music, Rhythm, And The Energies Of Life
Listen to the podcast here:
The Impact Of Rhythm Of Music on Our Lives with Tre Ammatuna Part 1 of 2
Samantha: We’ve got a treat for you. It’s a little different than normal. My friend, Tre, is in this writing online and publishing community that I’m with. I was going to do a solo show but I wasn’t feeling it. I reached out to my friend, Tre. We’ve never talked before other than some chats to this community group. I was like, “Do you want to do an impromptu episode with me?” He’s like, “Sweet. I’m up for that.” You are getting the uncut Tre and Samantha show. We both connect in talking about life and the journey of life. Tre, I don’t know a ton about you. Tell me about yourself.
Tre: We chatted in the group a little bit and on that one Twitter space for a little while but we never connected through there. I am a Software Engineer at Amazon AWS but I’ve been doing that for a few years now. I originally came from audio engineering, deejaying and working in the entertainment industry. I did that for about fifteen years before I came over to software. I live out in wonderful Seattle, Washington, the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’ve got four kids, a wonderful partner here and journeying through life as we go. I’m enjoying now being a little bit more out with things like our wonderful writing that we’re doing.
Samantha: Something I’ve noticed on Twitter that I love about you is I know that you’ve got a strong professional self but you choose to hold it back. It’s there. I have the same thing. I’m a tax accountant by first trade. I’ve closed my practice now. One of my little giftings is online product reviews. I do it for kicks on the side of it. I don’t talk about it because I feel like there are many people on Twitter who’ve got great business advice and all these marketing tips and twenty tips to a better you on Twitter. I could probably raise my following group if I went by it but I feel like life advice is unique. You can use your professional self and what you’ve learned through that. I see it coming through in you, which is you drew it to me. You don’t straight out say it but it comes through you. That’s something that I love about your writing.
Tre: It’s interesting when I started the program and they tell you, like, “Take your three buckets that you’re going to talk about.” I did professional and personal development. I want to start doing a little bit more of the technical and the actual, like writing on tech and software. One of the main reasons I wanted to start writing in public is because I’ve been doing a lot of mentoring in semi-private spaces, like Slack groups and things like that. I’m found that I’m repeating myself. I’m like, “I need to put this somewhere and I can point to it rather than continually repeating and writing the same thing to people.”
That’s what started it. Since then, I’m like, “I haven’t done any of that writing yet.” This is the first iteration I’m doing. I know you’re one of the alumni of the program at this point. I’m trying to get the habit down. I was coming into what speaks to me the most. Maybe it’s a factor of timing and trying to get things more quickly. I see myself being more critical of trying to get something like that. It might take me a little bit extended, more time involved in doing those. I want to get the writing side down.
One of the big things that came out too for me was changing careers into software. It was drawing a lot of the connections from previous careers, work and things. How can I draw that out to what I’m doing now, showcase that, bring the strengths and lean on those strengths when you’re coming into a brand-new career to succeed in that? I think that’s one of the aspects that came out a lot especially on the writing. Most of my essays, the stories I’ve been pulling from, have been from my audio engineering and deejaying days. At that time, I haven’t pulled a lot yet.
Samantha: That takes a bit of courage too. For at least me, telling the person would be more courageous but that was easier in some ways than the business. With business, I’m like, “Maybe it’s a little bit of imposter syndrome.” Once I put my business expertise out there that people are like, “You’re full of it. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Even though I’ve cut three months off development for an online product and all this stuff but the second I say I’m an expert at something. I think that was it. I did that in 30 days. I’m a slow writer. Some of those essays took me four hours.
Mind you, mine have a lot of depth to them because I have so much to add to it that I’m trying to filter what’s going to go in there. If I had written about things I’ve learned in the business, in some ways, it would go faster because it’s muscle memory in many ways. I’m part-time this term because I’m trying to get my show launched and a bunch of things. Interestingly enough, I think you might’ve read that in the group but I landed at a TED Talk for September and it wasn’t because I wrote anything about business.
Tre: We chatted about this in the Twitter space a little bit on you getting that, which is a big congratulations on landing that thing. Doing those types of talks, I’ve done conference talks and things like that as well in the past. They are a lot of fun. It’s an involved process. A lot of people, when they are getting into those, do and don’t realize some people think about it and they’re like, “It’s putting yourself out there.” The work behind them is a lot. The ones that I did especially when it comes down to a smaller. The first ones were 25 to 30 minutes that I did.“If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough. ” Click To Tweet
It took a decent bit and a lot of thought behind them. One of the last ones was like a lightning. I went for a 25-minute talk and they gave me like a lightning talk, a ten-minute talk. I’m like, “That’s going to take me a month longer to prep.” As with these essays and as you’re saying, “I have a lot to say.” One of the biggest things I have with the atomic essay format is the 250 words. Keeping it down into that. By the time I’m brain dumping, I’m like, “Now I have to cut half of everything I wrote.”
The Atomic Essay And How Twitter Teaches You To Be A Better Writer
Samantha: This term, we have this atomic essay with a specific size because Twitter has resized everything. We have a new template as well. In my last one, it wasn’t quite constricted. Twitter would show the title. It didn’t matter if you went over the 250 because it didn’t have to fit in the screen. Now, if go over that specific size, on a desktop, I think it shows the title but on a phone it only shows the middle so it doesn’t work.
Twitter, if you’re reading, please fix that. I did a lot of mine around 400 and even that still took me quite a while. I put my blog up and I’ve started throwing some of those on there. I’m glad I’m at 400 because it’s a couple of minute reads. I do get 250 is pretty tight. I think that the quality of essays when you can go up to 350 adds a bit. You’ve room for a personal element. At 250, it’s hard to communicate knowledge and a personal element. If you’re gifted at it, they both are together.
Tre: It’s that complete golden intersection thing that Nicole talks about and getting that. That’s definitely one of the things I struggle with on there. It’s funny because even one of my latest ones was titled 250 Words is Hard. There’s 304. Why? I couldn’t even put Why 250 Words is Hard in 250 words.
Samantha: Talking about this reminds me of people who are in the audience like YouTube, Twitter, everything. It’s all like, “You need to get this down in two minutes or I’m not going to listen to you. You need to get this down to one minute. You need to get this down to five minutes or I’m not going to listen to you. My time is worth X amount.” I have the same thing when I listen to software. People will say to me, “If only they could get this down to three clicks,” and I’m like, “Do you understand that three clicks are maybe another $20,000 for that company to get on the front end down to three clicks?” There’s this underappreciation of what it takes to get it down to these tiny few seconds.
That’s the part that’s making me nervous about TED because I have a lot to say. I’m a person who jam packs information. I’m like an information queen. I love information. More information you’re prepared for about anything, any conversation, anything that’s going to throw it out. I’m curious as can be. I literally accumulate information. I’m like a sponge, everything around me sucks right in. When it’s time to talk, I’m like, “Okay.” A side note before we get to that, when I did my Master’s a few years ago, a friend of mine was doing her Master’s at the same time and she’s like, “I got to go home and write my twenty-page essay.”
I’m like, “You get twenty pages?” She’s like, “Yeah, they’re all like that.” I’m like, “My Master’s are two pages.” She’s like, “That’s a Master’s? That’s not a real Master’s.” I’m like, “One time I spent six hours trying to get it down to two pages because the professor would not take on over two pages.” He said, “If you can’t express it in two pages, you don’t know what you’re talking about or your BS-ing your way. I don’t need to read twenty pages of you BS-ing.” You probably get it but it’s not points for extra conversation so that helped. Do you think the atomic essay would be easy for me after two years of writing two-page Master’s papers?
Tre: What he’s saying there is almost exactly from Albert Einstein. He was the one that quoted, “If you can’t explain it simply then you don’t understand it well enough.” There’s even more complexity to that. I’ll send you the exact essay that had that 250 words is tough. Here’s 304 on why because I have several of these and that’s exactly what it was on things like Albert Einstein quoting on that. There’s a book called TED Talks by Chris Anderson. There they talk about exactly why it’s eighteen minutes for those, which was a great forcing factor in thinking about that.
It’s attributed to Woodrow Wilson. His version of it is even a remixed version of older ones. It’s basically saying that if I’m to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation. If an hour, I’m ready now. We get that thing. We have a lot of information if you get us on that right subject. Do you want me to talk right now if I have a lot of time? Let’s go. I can chat all day about different things. When you have to be concise with your words in that environment, it forces you.
It takes time to refine and find those ways to essentially pump as much content in this little bit of time or wording as possible. The presentations worked in a good way because at least you can also get a visual element with the words and what you’re speaking in many ways. The classic of a picture is worth a thousand words and being able to do that. There’s also a balance there because you don’t want people paying attention to like your presentation and the slides. You want them to listen to what you’re saying. It’s interesting to find those balance with presentations where you have multiple multimedia things come into play.
The Art Of Refining Your Message
Samantha: That’s what our show is going to be about. I know what it is. We didn’t know what we’re going to talk about but I know now. Essentially, what we’re doing is the art of refining into a simpler message for people. It reminds me of what we’re learning with Twitter. What I love about Twitter is I’m getting to be a better writer by taking out all those extra little words. It’s what you were saying there too. There’s that saying we all know, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s like that. You associate with something they already know.
When you’re writing in a very small way, that’s important to try to connect. We’re saying, “I can do that.” Using metaphors and stuff is a very quick way to communicate a large message in a very quick amount of time. If you can get people to picture what you said without using all the words, it’s quick and you have to take on a little extra filler stuff. The thing with me is that I talk fast and I think fast. I don’t give people enough filler to catch up. I’m like, “Bang, bang,” and then I’m like, “That’s right.”
We’ve had time to think about things. I think a lot. I talked to lots of people. I’m a practiced speaker and people aren’t always practiced listeners. Especially about the subject we might not be talking about. That’s something I self-taught myself. I used to work in an office and I’d go to my boss and I’d be like, “I need some help with this.” She’d be like, “What’s your problem?” I’m like, “So and so. Never mind, I’ll figure it out.” She was like, “Glad to help. Come in any time.”
Tre: The classic rubber ducking essentially. It’s like, “I need to talk to somebody about it and then solving our own problems for us during that.” Trying to clarify that through speaking the words out, that’s a classic software engineering thing. It’s rubber duck debugging. You have an issue, trying to figure out what the issue and what the bug is. Before you go and talk to somebody about it, I talked to Homer about it on my desk. I tell Homer my problem. He either goes, “Oh,” or I might figure it out or I might go for help and then I’ll send the message over to one of my teammates and start talking to them through that. Speaking it out loud helps us clarify many things.
Samantha: That’s interesting that you say that because I told you that my tax accountant by first trade. Whenever I had clients in front of me, they’d always be like, “Did you have a question for me?” I’d be like, “Sorry, I’m not talking to you. I’ll let you know what I have a question.” I’ve heard that’s pretty common. I haven’t statistically gone and done some analysis or something survey but I’ve heard it’s common with people who do finance work. That was partly how I could do it so sharply was because I was banter. I’d be like, “I need to talk about this.” This client got this investment over here and I didn’t say everything out loud but I think that was partially what I was doing is I was working out the little kinks. They’ve got this issue over here and this one over here. What can I do to make it the best situation?“If you have to speak for 10 minutes, you need a week of preparation. If you have to speak for an hour, you're ready now. ” Click To Tweet
Tre: Going back to preparing for talks and things like that, whenever I have one strategy that I use to figure out the initial drafts of what I’m talking is I’ll basically stand in here or when I was at an office, I would book a conference room or something, I would put my camera on, start recording and talk about it. I go off the cuff and chat about it for 30, 45 minutes or whatever. I’d have a whiteboard behind me and I would jot quick notes about the key subjects that I wanted to key in on and I would do that every single day for a week or so.
You would be able to key in on those subjects that you want. When you’re doing these types of talks, you don’t want to have a teleprompter or something. You also don’t want to memorize line for line. It sounds you’re reciting whatever. You want to be able to feel like it’s off the cuff but not be off the cuff. It sounds like you’re probably a lot like me once I start going off the cuff then I don’t know where the heck I’m going to go. I’m going to definitely blast past the eighteen minutes.
What it allows you to do is that I’ll hit those key points but every time, it’s a little bit different. It helps refine those ideas. Now, whenever I do those, my speaker notes are 1 or 2 words, little tiny phrases that keep me in line with what I wanted to talk about but because I’ve continually done this, recited it and rehearsed it essentially. In that way that I’m not reciting rehearsing, it still gives that off-the-cuff feel. I also have a complete agenda. I’m making sure I’m hitting my points. I can’t remember. It was another blog post that I found this strategy that works.
It’s one of the guys in tech that runs tech conferences and one of the bigger ones. That was one of the ways that he did it. I was like, “This is interesting.” That’s why I started doing it. It’s fun. It’s that rubber duck thing and talking to other people but then you can refine it. It allows you to work through what your brain is doing. Every time you might get to a new point that it’s like, “I didn’t know I want to go in that direction here instead of that direction.”
By the end, each way, you can almost feel it. I’ve even had ones where I was giving a talk and you can read the audience and see how they’re engaging with different things. It’s one of the reasons I keep my slides minimal is because I could tell what was going on. I’ve done this impromptu type rehearsal a little bit so I thought that was going to go this way. In the middle of the talk, I was able to go this way succinctly and easily because I had that type of practice.
What I Learned When I Was Teaching
Samantha: I think that takes a type of person though too. With teaching, I can do that too. If you’re prepared and knowledgeable then you can talk about anything within that range and add to it as people add to you. When I teach, I have double the amount of material I need. I’ve got all this stuff that I prepared, I cut out and then what I was going to teach but I’m never married to my material. Maybe it’s not the right way to do it. Teachers are going to tell you what you need to have. I’m more like, “This is the takeaway I want,” or what I’m hoping to leave them with.
When the room comes in, there’s an energy, someone asks a question and sometimes I’m literally on the fly, I’m dumping half of it and adding in the stuff that I took out because it’s more relevant or might be the questions. At the end of the day, whenever I’m teaching, I’m always thinking, “Whatever’s going on in this room is more important than any material I’ve ever prepped.” It could even be that someone shares in the group, “I lost my job,” and I literally will stop the entire class. I’ll sit down and be like, “That sucks.” “I didn’t like that job anyway.” “I know you didn’t like your job because you told me that. However, it still hurts.” When you get to choose when you leave a place, those are like a breakup.
If you break up with someone else, it’s not near as hard as being the one who was broken up with. When it’s out of our control and we’re not the ones choosing and readying ourselves, it’s tough. I don’t care how you can rationalize that. I would stop the room, sit down and have a conversation, that was a particularly small room. Everything was settled because there’s nothing like someone sharing something super deep and then not addressing it. It’s like the elephant in the room after. It’s like, “Your agenda is super important,” but no agenda is that important. People will stay late. I’ll offer and be like, “We did have some a little bit extra to go through. If you’d like to stay, you’re welcome to stay.”
When I was teaching, I’d always book an extra half an hour after and before. I was always there 30 minutes early so people could come early and talk. I always stay 30 minutes late in case people wanted to talk about anything that came up from the lesson or maybe their personal life. It always gave me wiggle room for that. See what I mean, I’m not used so I do that and the eighteen minutes is freaking me out but I will be okay. I’m already practicing and I haven’t written it yet. I’ve been writing it in my head.
Every time someone’s like, “What’s your TED Talk about?” I did a mini audition but I was permitted to get a little wiggle room to move around in it and then I try it. Every time I talk to people, I concentrate on a different piece. I can’t give them an eighteen-minute TED Talk. I’m like, “This is one aspect of it,” and then I talk about it and I’m like, “I literally wrote that in my head.”
Sometimes if it’s going well, I’m like, “Do you mind if I hit the record a minute?” I’m like my best friend. I stick my otter on and catch the last three quarters. I’ve got all these pieces that are starting. I’m hoping that when I go to write it, I’ve got a good portion of it. The cool thing is I get a reaction right away because people look at me and like, “That’s what you’re going to say?” I’ll be like, “Yes. Good to know, sea lions.” They sounded cool in the shower.
Rotating The Room – What Music Teaches Us
Tre: At Ship 30 for 30, one of the things that they had us look at was that Jerry Springer podcast with Tim Ferriss and that episode on how comedians have to test all their material right there in front of the audience. There’s no better way to get direct feedback on exactly if something is going to work or not than to have any audience at all. I got this from deejaying and performing with audio and entertainment. Especially deejaying, it was definitely those things of like when I transitioned from one song to another song, I get complete direct feedback from all that entire floor of like, “They stopped dancing.” There’s also what many people don’t even realize on there.
I’m looking at writing an essay on this as well. It’s something about rotating the room. That aspect was that most DJs would look at the dance floor. They’ll be like, “That didn’t work. Those people went off,” but then they didn’t realize that half the people that were at the bar started moving towards the dance floor. That was a key thing that you wanted to do in that environment that you want to continually rotate people through the different environments. That way, everybody continued. Not only is the dance floor staying full and everybody’s staying happy and everybody’s dancing but then the bar is staying full. The people that hired you are still happy because they’re also making money there and everybody’s going.
Samantha: The energy continues too. That’s brilliant because you can only hold that high energy et for a period of time and then it’s rest time. Let’s come back and do it again. You’re holding long-term energy. I did some track and field when I was in high school or junior high. It’s like sprinting. Everybody’s dancing like crazy when it’s out. The next thing you know, you’ve got a few slow dancers at the end. What you did is quite brilliant. It reminds me a lot of the music piece. You’ve got these strong elements. If you belted out a song the entire time, it’s tiring for people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a brilliant singer.
Tre: Putting it into that aspect is chorus versus verse, the song. It’s that aspect. The owner of one of the nightclubs I worked at was the person who taught me. He brought that club from Bourbon Street in New Orleans to Florida where we were. He is the one that taught me that aspect of it. It was funny because he goes like, “Yeah, here, you’re going to be rotating this but realize that there are also people walking right outside the door.” He got this from being fifteen years on Bourbon Street. He’s like, “You’re not rotating the room. You’re rotating the street inside and out as well, pulling people in and letting the entire thing breathe and moving energy around.” It was an aspect that went, “Wow.”
Samantha: There’s something about being at the back of the room. If you’re a leader, I want to be at the front but at the front, you can’t see everything. You think you can. You can see a lot more from the back of the room than you can see from the front. I used to mentor and there’s sometimes going to be like 100 young adults in the room and the ones at the very back are not as interactive with the speaker but they’re getting a lot more information from the back of the room. I was at the back so I learned so much about what was going on with the young adults. I could see right away who’s having a bad day based on body language, who sits in the corner, which two are engaging.
When we had breaks or at the end, I knew exactly where to go because I could see what was going on from the back of the room. I knew exactly what was going on in the room and how the speaker was connecting or not connecting with people or certain people. I might say something that was offensive to a little group, not intentionally and then I go over there and smooth things over later. When they’re all at the corridor, I was like, “I need to go over there and smooth a few things over,” but I wouldn’t have known that from the front.
Music, Rhythm, And The Energies Of Life
It’s interesting that you said that about deejaying. My nephew, his name is Asher Postman. He started out as a DJ and is gifted musically. I don’t know if you ever saw this when he’s gotten millions of hits or at least over a million. It’s called Dubai Was Lit. He does these like remixes on viral memes. I don’t know if that’s quite a meme and then now he does a lot of remixing and stuff. He started off as a DJ but now he’s doing a lot of his own music. He’s great at it probably because he was great at both. He understands music, people, how to help people move to the music.“Speaking out loud helps you clarify things more easily. ” Click To Tweet
This reminds me, years ago, we were hosting a wedding in the yard. The guy who did the DJ, we have a farm and he thought it would be okay to bring his wife out the next day to clean everything up. We had the wedding late. You don’t have to worry about neighbors or anything like that. He brought his wife by the next day. I chatted up with her while he was cleaning up all the audio equipment. I’m like, “How do you fill your days?” I rarely ask women especially what they’re doing for work because they get uncomfortable. She’s like, “I’m working in a senior complex. I do recreational therapy,” which is like crafts and different movement things.
I’m like, “That sounds super fascinating. I bet you learn a lot from them.” Her body language went down and then she was like, “Yeah but I went for four years for a Music degree. I feel like I spent all that money and wasted it.” Obviously, she had some shame with it and felt low about it. I have these insightful things sometimes. I think she’s good at it based on what she was telling me she was doing. I’m like, “Part of the reason you’re probably good at it is that you understand music.” She goes, “What do you mean by that?”
I’m like, “When you’re running an hour program with your seniors, do you build in more energetic periods and then a slow-paced one where they can get themselves back together and maybe it’s something they do on their own for a little bit?” She goes, “Yeah, I do that.” I’m like, “It’s the same as a chorus and a verse. You’re doing that rhythm is because you understand rhythm. It doesn’t matter what you do, what you run, that music degree is going to take you far.” She was like, “I’m so glad I took four years of Music now.” I’m like, “Everything you do is like a form of music.”
Tre: It’s pretty impressive when you dig into how music influences our lives in so many different ways and exactly that aspect of not even like a song. You think about an album that you sequence tracks like bands and people will sequence track. As a DJ, you’re doing a full mix. I sequence tracks, not just the individual things but how we’re flowing to get that energy up and down. You’d switch from one key to another key. I know that going from this key to this key brings the energy up. I know that going down to this one will bring it down a little bit.
It’s being able to sequence because that energy allows people to breathe, to experience the entire thing and then you even go to the next stage of, “We’re making not just an album or a step,” but think about the concert. You want to filter the bands a specific way and book people in certain slots because you know their style of music will have the energy going in a specific direction. It’s definitely an aspect of it that people don’t think about and how that affects different presentations and how you do classes and all different aspects of life. I’m happy you were able to key into that for that person because I see that a lot as well.
Samantha: People who are listening to that will know it too. I don’t know if you knew this but I’m the managing partner of a crop farm out in Alberta. When we were talking, I thought of another rhythm, which is somewhat musical to me. In the spring, everything comes to life again and there’s an energy about that. I was thinking about this whole idea of chorus and verse. There are different parts of the year that have this rhythm to it. In the spring, people will meet me and they’ll be like, “How is it going at the farm?” I’m like, “There’s this rhythm with farming. We have the planting season and then the care season, the harvest season and the rest of the season.”
It’s a lot like music, which is why we love music so much because it replicates life patterns. Our life is like that. We’re born. It’s this excitement about being born. We go through these periods of high learning and then low learning and then high learning. We age and we have these periods of rest. Farming is like that. Especially because of farming, we get the obvious rhythm of planting. In the city, a lot of people miss that now. They don’t have that regular rhythm. It’s very therapeutic. I’m a person who likes different things. I like different food. I rarely travel to the same place twice other than local mountain places. When I travel abroad, I’ve been all over the world. I rarely go back to the same place twice. When I go back to the same country, I usually go to a different part of the country. This rhythm thing, there’s something to it.
Tre: It’s what you were talking about like positioning, front of the room, back of the room and things like that. One of the aspects that I go into is going to a concert and this is a little key in that you might sell tickets around this one area, like concert seating whenever you’re looking at a concert. It’s nice to be close up to the band. You can see them. You get that experience or some people like to be in the very back and be able to see the whole thing.
Let me tell you where the best seat is. If you’re right there in the middle where the audio engineer and the lighting engineer and they have that booth set up. It’s in the middle because what it is that person is controlling the entire sound, the entire stage. Here’s the key. While they’re mixing, making the music sound great for the entire audience and doing it with that in mind, they’re standing right there. They hear it right there. The best sound is going to come from right there. The lighting guy will be controlling all of that stuff. He’s doing it from right there.
Samantha: It’s going to sound great to the person standing there.
Tre: If you are in those seats, you’re going to have the most full experience in that aspect. However, there are times when you might want to move forward into the pit right in front of the stage to get that more experience right there with the artists and be intimate but there’s that trade-off. You’re trading off the experience of the entire thing to try and get more intimate with a specific person. It’s interesting whenever you look at that. I’ve thought about where people are in these and whenever we’re going to these things. I’m talking to all my friends. I’m like, “Where do you want to go? How do you want to experience this?” They look at me when I first talk. I was like, “Nobody’s ever asked me how I want to experience this show. I’ve been working in concerts for a long time. It’s set up for an experience. How do you want to do that?” I always want to get upfront or I want to get over here.
Samantha: It’s interesting that you say it like that. When I would mentor, I would meet young adults and invite them to the group. I would ask them questions about them. I can gauge people quickly so I could get a pretty good idea about who I would want to connect them to. I might ask it but not in a direct way. “Are you looking for relationships? Are you looking for friends or are you looking for knowledge? Are you looking to find a mate?” Half of them are there to look for a mate. That’s a great place to find one. That would influence my recommendation for them. What time should they come? Make sure you’re coming early. That’s when this particular group shows up.
The ones that are community orientated, they’re early, chatting, having coffee and catching up. They’re all going somewhere after too. I’d be like, “Make sure you do those because when you’re sitting during the knowledge part, you’re not talking to anybody. If you’re there for the community and you only come for the knowledge part, you’re not going to be building community. What is it that you’re looking for? If you’re only there for the knowledge, show up the second it starts and leave the second it’s over then you got what you need out of it.”
I would challenge people and ask them why that was the experience they were looking for. It’s a little different than what you were doing. I’d be like, “Is it because you’re on a time constraint?” Maybe I didn’t always ask them that a direct question. It depends on how it would go but I could get a good sense. It could be that they were insecure. They did want to meet people but they didn’t know how. Sometimes they’re raw like that and other times I pick it up and then I go, “I know somebody.”
When they would come, I would connect them with someone specific who I thought would be a good fit for them. I already cued somebody else up and I’d be like, “I invited Jeremy to the group. He’s going to be coming on Thursday.” That person would make sure that they sat with them and chatted up a small amount. I never forced the energy. There was another question, “What experience do you want and why is it that you want that experience?”
Thinking that in mind, that whole verse versus chorus, that’s the part I’m going to have trouble with the eighteen minutes because I’m going to be feeling like I got to power that. Even talking to me, I’m sure you can pick that up. I’m super high energy when I get my adrenaline going. It’ll be trying to pull back a little and take those slow. I have a trauma story to share that I’m going to include in there. I’ll hit the emotional and that will be slow.
It’s at the very beginning as well, which will suit that well. I didn’t think about that but that’s a good place for it. I hate starting out with trauma stuff. I don’t want to be like the big sob story person. I’ve had it. My life is a sob story in many ways but I don’t talk about it all the time. I’m a little reluctant to even bring it up with a TED Talk. Remembering that there needs to be a little bit of a build-in of the verse, the chorus and a little audience rest time to take it in.“Music replicates life patterns. ” Click To Tweet
Tre: Bringing stories and those aspects to get those golden intersection moments, what I definitely look at with those is seeing which stories I want to add in there. When I talk about those stories, I almost like to key in on the aspects of those stories. I want to talk about how I want to talk about those as separate entities and feel like, “What does this feel like? What is this?” Going back to the chorus first type of thing, is this more of an energetic chorus side of things? Is it the real story?
The story side is always given to the verse that’s supposed to be a story. Is it even a bridge that pulls back and feels different from the rest of the entire song? It connects to things but gives you that little bit of pulling away from what we’ve been feeling to feel something else and then coming back into it. That way, at least I can sequence them in the way. I’ve done them individually and seeing what the energy is, I can start sequencing them and see what the flow of energy feels like throughout the entire thing.
Samantha: It sounds like you’re meant for a TED Talk. I wish we could talk longer. I think there’s a lot of value in talking about music and rhythm. Even a song, to get a song down to a couple of minutes, how much work it takes to get it down. That’s why there’s perseverance and grit and that’s why they’re successful because they can take something so large and make it small. That’s a lot of work. People want to know what it takes to succeed. What it takes to succeed in taking all of this and then bringing it down, filtering it down. Do you know when you’re cooking and you get it all down to the very small a bit at the bottom?
When we filter everything down and get to the meaty part of it, that’s where a lot of the success comes. When we hear people who are successful, what we see in public is what they were already doing for a long time before. We see this fine sharpness to it. We’re like, “Look at how they did that.” What you need to look at is that’s the 2, 3-minute version of many hours and years of training and education. I got hired for consulting a little while ago. The guy has been for my hourly rate, I gave it to him and he’s like, “Are you going to do a ton of prep with that?”
He figured I was going to have all these extra hours. I’m like, “I have educated, trained and done this so much that is the intuition for me. If you want me to go through all of your stuff ahead of time, there’s a fee for that. This is my fee for that.” He was like, “I trust that,” because in his industry, he is a rock star as well. When I said that, he knew exactly what I was saying. Have you heard that story about Henry Ford who had somebody come in to fix something in their engineering department? I thought it was Henry Ford.
Tre: I’m not sure on that one. The Picasso napkin drawing story is the one that I key in on that aspect.
Samantha: He called in a bunch of people to work on it and nobody could fix it. He brought in another guy. Apparently, he stayed overnight. The next morning, he’s like, “You need to do X, X and X.” I think he sent him a $10,000 bill. He was like, “What? I need a breakdown of that.” I guess he sent something back. It basically said, “$9,999 to learn how to do this and $1 to tell you where to put it.” People underestimate. They wonder why there’s a $10 an hour job versus $450. By the way, I am super educated, super trained and I am not paid in most of that but I can do it in a snap. There’s definitely value in people understanding what you get the boiled-down version.
Tre: It’s been chatting with you on all of this and digging into these aspects of an impromptu thing. Who knew that we were going to come in here and all of a sudden break this down to rhythm, music, the energies of life and how those move around? I had no clue. It’s been excellent.
Samantha: Thanks for being on with me. I appreciate it, Tre. We have to do this again. Thanks.
About Tre Ammatuna
Tre has performed in front of thousands as a dancer and DJ, worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment as an audio engineer, and is now with Amazon as a software engineer, currently working on AWSAmplify. He prides himself on being able to connect lessons learned from different areas and apply them to new circumstances with a creatively technical mindset.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join Samantha and the Bold Perspectives Community today: