Playing in a hand bell choir over the holidays, it occurred to me that no matter what song we played, we did not use the whole set of bells. After the director handed out the bells for a song, there were always some perfectly shiny, sweet-sounding bells left snug in their cases.
The reason was that a melody played in a set key and limited range only requires certain bells. You may need a C, but not a C sharp, a very low G, but not the very high G. Once the director decided what song we would play, she knew clearly from the music which bells she had to use.
Clarity of Purpose
Review your business services or products, with your purpose in mind. What should not be included? What dilutes your message, or throws a foul note into your delivery?
You also might look at expansion planning. How often do we think that adding a new line or a new type of service, would bring in new customers? If the new items are jarring to your current customers or confuse potential customers, will the additional items or services be profitable?
Make sure that the tones of your business blend and that your customers catch the melody of your message.
Coordination and Training
Some of the ringers in our bell choir are experienced enough to handle four bells, two in each hand. Some are novices who swing one bell in each hand. Novices focus on the basics of counting out the rhythm, following the notes, and getting a true tone. When you are new to ringing, it helps to have experienced ringers swinging their bells on either side. It also helps to come early to bell choir practice, so you can ring through your part a few times.
If you have employees, ask yourself: Which employees can take on more and do even better with the challenge? Who can help others get up to speed? Who needs to be taken aside to practice the basics until they are solid?
At our first practice of a new song, we were short on ringers. It was a relief when a few more ringers showed up. With fewer bells, ringers not only have fewer bells to coordinate, but fewer notes in the song to hit on time, and they can concentrate more on delivering the best tones. They can also follow the music more closely, clinging the soft notes gently and clanging the loud notes strongly.
In Sync Employees
If bell ringers smile nervously, flinch when they miss a note, or, worse, give a look at a fellow ringer for a wrong chime, the audience will feel apprehensive. So practicing both notes and ringer decorum leads to a winning performance.
Are your employees practiced enough to exude confidence? Do they show respect for one another and serve the customers as a team unified behind your purpose?
Harmony and Delight
Customers become fans of a business that has a harmonious blend of services or products, offers quality they can count on, and an experience that is far more than they expect. For a business, the solidarity of the team and the attention to making the melody ring out true and clear makes the difference.
Business Owner as Director
As Seth Godin said in a blog post today, “No one goes to a rock concert because the band is in tune. They have to be close enough to not be distracting, but being in tune isn't the point.” The same is true for a hand bell choir, or for a business. Perfect pitch perfection is not the point, but being in tune with your message is. That means, at the very least, playing with the bells that fit your chosen melody and a team that enjoys playing the same song.
This year, why not take time to hear and watch hand bell ringers perform. Follow their lead to get a standing ovation from your customers.