What helps to makes a multi-caller tip a crackerjack rather than a calamity? Skill and the charisma of the individual callers certainly play a part, and here are the Top 3 items that I’ve found to be solid contributors toward creating a corker rather than a clunker!

Attitude

• Try to approach the tip with a great attitude. I’ve tried a wide range of attitudes, and lousy attitudes produce lousy tips. Good attitudes help get you in the ballpark of a good tip!
• Try to make the other guy look good. If you approach the tip as an opportunity to help your partner shine, you can eliminate apprehension, uncertainty, and set your partner at ease. Any tension between you will be transmitted to the dancers in numerous ways. Try to eliminate it.
• Think Mike Seastrom. He treats everyone like gold and no one ever has regrets about calling with him! The only regret I’ve ever heard expressed was that it was all too short.
• If you are not the caller of record, be respectful. Allow the caller of record to lead the way.
• Keep a proper perspective! You’re there to entertain the dancers. You want to make a lasting and favorable impression without creating worries for your partner. Be at ease and have fun.
• If you don’t feel like you can add positively to the program of the night, politely decline. A bad guest tip, whether by yourself or with others, is not a memory you want to leave with the dancers!

Compliment Your Partner

• I don’t mean for you to dish out kind words, although there is a place for that if they are sincere. Rather, make whatever you do complementary to whatever your partner is doing.
• If there are more than two of you on stage, this can be as simple as backing off a little and allowing another to have a moment in the spotlight.
• Allow others their space. Try not to crowd and get in the way. Some callers move when they call. Heaven help you if you find yourself unable to dodge while sharing a stage with Mr. Sikorsky!
• Spend some time with your partner(s) before the tip and decide what you’re going to do – at least for a singing call. Encourage a smooth and swift transition from patter to singing call by agreeing upon selections and being prepared.
• If you don’t know your partner very well, try to create rapport with your partner during the pre-tip process. Get that caller’s assessment of the dancers’ skill level and mention a thing or two that you enjoyed during the dance. Connect with the audience (the dancers) and draw them into that rapport. It’s infectious!
• Thank the dancers, and thank the caller of record for allowing you to join in the fun.
• Thank the caller backstage again and if you can hang around to help clean up at the end of the dance, that’s always a plus as well.

Think "Guest Tip"

• Approach any collaboration as a “guest tip” and doubly so if you are not the caller of record for the dance. Dancers will take time to adjust to your new voice and presentation style. If you are the caller of record, having a new voice with you on stage will cause the dancers’ attention to drift away from you. So, keep your material reasonably simple as well.
• Dancers will be listening to each caller as well as the sound of the group (or duo). Some may not adjust quickly to the new sound. Build their confidence with short sequences that work!
• Avoid full extemporaneous sight calling unless you’re very confident and know your key dancers. Use of well-known patterns, memorized material, and perhaps limited sight calling techniques will stand you in better stead.
• If you are trading sequences with your partner(s), keep your sequences shorter than you normally would. Remember dancers have to adjust to the new voice beginning the next sequence. This is more difficult for some than others; new dancers might have trouble, for example.
• Try your best to keep the dancers moving with Wind in the Face, flowing, choreography.

It's Not a Competition!

• Remember you are there to entertain the dancers (without looking like a complete moron). You’re not in competition with your partner(s).
• Choreographic one-upmanship can frustrate dancers and make it seem as if you aren’t there for them. Will an impression like that help you book dances?
• No sense in competing with other aspects of the presentation or “show” unless the “competition” is part of an act. If nobody is laughing and having a good time, you may have made a poor choice.
• Cliché Alert. If the tip is treated like a competition, there are no winners. Everybody loses.
• In the spirit of friendly cooperation, when you’re using that remote volume nob on a Hilton mic cable, and you’re ‘Y’d in with one or more other callers, when you aren’t calling, keep that pot all the way down. That gives the others a chance to control their volume.
• As in the case above, if your mic is plugged in to a series ‘Y’, be certain to leave your mix ON. Turning it OFF will also disconnect your socket mate’s mic. Show common courtesy.

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