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The Qualities of a Great Entertainer

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In every entertainment field there are a handful of entertainers that stand out for their commitment and proficiency in what they do. Whether the venue is music, theater, comedy or talk-show host, the men and women at the top are in a league by themselves. If you aspire to greatness as an entertainer, you should emulate the characteristics of those who are the best.

Understand Human Nature

A great entertainer must understand human nature. A comedian must know his audience and what will make them laugh. Jokes that are appropriate to one audience may be distasteful or offensive to another. A theatrical actor must know how to elicit emotional reactions from the audience. A musician or singer must do the same. Interaction with the audience is always present, even when the performance is structured or choreographed. The entertainer must have stage presence to engage the audience's reactions -- the greater the level of engagement, the greater the entertainer.

Commit to the Craft

Great entertainers work hard to hone their skills. They do not worry about balancing life with work. For many of them, work is life. A 40-hour work week has no meaning for them. Their drive for perfection sometimes alienates them from their fellow entertainers who lack the motivation and commitment to strive for greatness. Even when their popularity has faded, great entertainers may persevere to maintain their skills. Great entertainers never stop working. A comedian, for example, is always looking for new ideas to make his audience laugh. The musician and singer hear the music in their heads. Their art is their life.

Possess Innate Ability

While anyone can improve techniques with practice in virtually any entertainment endeavor, great entertainers have an inner drive that propels them to the top of their profession. Some have talent that comes naturally to them. Some know what they want to do from an early age, excelling in school music programs, starring in community theater, making classmates laugh with their jokes. Some have the feeling that they must prove something to themselves.

Aspire to Greatness

If you aspire to be great in entertainment, look at the greats in your entertainment field. Learn about them -- how they got their start, who influenced their professional development, what handicaps they had to overcome and how they maintain their proficiency. Ask yourself if you have the qualities that they possess and if you do not, how you can develop them. Ask yourself if you are willing to commit the hours and sacrifice to reach the top. If you have family and friends who will support you, you have an advantage. Connect with others who also seek to perfect their skills and give support to each other.


Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.

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