Yesterday was the Cubs home opener, and being a Chicagoan, that’s a pretty big deal these days.

I fell in love with the game living in Colorado during the Blake Street Bomber years. Watching baseball greats like Larry Walker and Dante Bichette hit balls consistently out of the park (partly thanks to the mile high air) made me a fan for life.

That was also when I was introduced to the “walk-up song”. Larry Walker’s was Crazy Train, by Ozzy Osborne. I still can’t listen to that song without picturing Larry approaching the mound at Coors Field.

So you can imagine my delight when I saw the following post on LinkedIn yesterday (even mentioning Larry and Crazy Train). My husband and I used to pretend what our walk-up songs would be. Mine, I declared, Mama Say Knock You Out by LL Cool J.

Fun for a competitive sport, LL Cool J’s sharp rap doesn’t feel like quite the right tone for my life. I’ll have to give this one a bit more thought. But how fun to declare a walk-up song, one that say, I could play in my head before my upcoming book signings or summer intern training webinars.

Read the post that I enjoyed yesterday, and then share in the comments what your walk-up song would be.  And a big thank you to Greg Roche for giving me permission to share his article and start this fun conversation.

Baseball season is here!  Do you have your walk-up song ready?

Don’t know what a walk-up song is?

A walk-up song is a few bars of a song played at a baseball game when a batter for the home team comes to the plate.  Each player has a song.  No song is used by more than one player for the same team.  It announces which player is coming up next.  It gets the crowd excited about the possibilities the player brings to the plate.  Since players usually pick the songs, the music reflects the image or attitude of the player.

I remember Larry Walker, who played for the Colorado Rockies, used to walk up to Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne.  The start to that song is memorable. “All Aboard! Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!” followed by the first few chords, along with the “Ay, Ay, Ay” and the rattlesnake’s rattle.

When you heard that at Coors Field, you knew who was coming up.  When I hear that song, the image of him crushing it over the fence sticks in my brain.

By now you should be thinking, “If it were me walking up to the plate, what would my song be?”  It’s a hard question.

You want your walk-up song to be something you like.  Something that you associate with your image, your personal brand.

Something that releases the adrenaline when the notes pass through your ears and into your brain.

Most importantly, it should make you feel like a rock star taking the stage.

It defines you and gets the crowd excited.

The mood of the song sets the mood of the audience.

It’s a fun mental exercise and can be used as a conversation starter in a group of friends.

Share your walk-up song in the comments.

Most of you are not professional baseball players.  

Is there a reason for picking a walk-up song?

Absolutely!

I used to work for a company known for its unique culture.  At large meetings, every presenter takes the stage to walk-up music.  The practice achieves all of the outcomes described above: the song lets the audience know who is about to take the stage, it gets the crowd excited, it sets the mood for the presentation.

It breaks the tension of walking out in front of an audience.  The crowd hears it, hums along, and gets excited about what is going to happen.

At the same time, it gets the presenter ready to present.  The music becomes the cue that tells our brains to switch from NOT presenting mode to presenting mode.

Habit formation happens when the brain receives an external cue.  In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, he explains that after our brain experiences these cues, there are routines that follow them and rewards when the routine is completed.

When the coffee maker beeps, you pour yourself a cup and enjoy the java deliciousness.

Your walk-up song becomes the cue that lets your brain know it is time to talk to the audience.  Taking the stage to the music helps you settle into your rhythm.

Next time you have to make a presentation, play your walk-up music and see if it changes the way you feel about taking the stage.

Maybe you never make presentations on stage or your company isn’t open to playing walk-up music at meetings.  That’s ok. Having a walk-up song is still important.

Each time you move from not working to working, you should play the song in your brain.  Release the happy chemicals in your brain and get ready to be a rock star.

The song will bring a smile to your face.  It will make you more relaxed.  You will be ready to show the crowd what you’ve got.

By the way, my walk up song is AC/DC – Back in Black

Greg Roche is a husband and father with a day job and a couple of side businesses. He’s just trying to find time to fit it all in. He writes for 15 minutes a day at 15minutesofchange.com

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