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Four Lessons Honky Tonks Can Teach You About Presentations

Few people know that since the 1960s, Nashville has been the second-largest music production center (after New York) in the U.S. But the true heart of Nashville lies in the “honky tonk.”

References to honky tonks go back as far as the late 1880s. Back then, they were rough establishments located primarily in the south that served alcohol to a working class clientele and often featured piano players or small bands. Honky tonks eventually became synonymous with a type of music epitomized by country-western singers such as Hank Williams, Jr. and Waylon Jennings (often featuring guitar, fiddle, string bass, steel guitar, and lyrics that tended to focus on tragic themes of lost love and loneliness). That style of “outlaw” honky tonk music influenced what we know as country music today.

Perennially, Nashville honky tonks like Tootsies and Legends Corner draw huge crowds. Tourists and music scouts alike come to watch performers as they attempt to attract that elusive record deal. The energy inside a Nashville honk tonk is infectious, and as I watched up-and-coming performers work the room, I realized there was an art to their “presentations.” Each performer included key elements in their act, which I believe were worth noting when making any type of presentation.

Here are four key takeaways that honky tonk performers used to make their presentations “sing!”

Brad Johnson is vice president of marketing for Advisors Excel, an independently owned insurance marketing organization in Topeka, Kansas. Johnson mentors a small group of elite advisors across the country. 

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