Learn From Adele – Build Your Platform

Adele Waves

Jacq and I just watched Adele Live At The Royal Albert Hall (amazon affiliate link), and though every song was just wonderfully done, I found myself fascinated by what Adele was doing in between each song. Because even though most people would be interested in hearing her belt out her amazing repertoire of hits, what I took away from the performance was Adele’s real magical ability: the ability to resonate with her audience.

What Adele Could Teach You About Impact

I’m writing something about this right now for my upcoming book with Julien Smith, but I had to share some of the ideas with you, because it relates very well to another piece of the puzzle for my series about building your platform. So, what was it that I saw?

Adele knew how to relate to people on their level. She talked about what it’s like to go out with friends when you’re the sober one, and your drunk friends get you into trouble. She talked about how breakups can be such drama-filled experiences (after all, both her albums are odes to her exes). She talked about the excitement she felt for playing the Royal Albert Hall, and when she did this, she talked about it the way you would talk about it, if you were chatting with your friends. It felt real, and very very much like she just wanted to share everything about what she was feeling.

Some Practice for Resonating like Adele

  • When you address people in your writing, on stage, in a video or audio, never ever say “you guys.” Talk to one person: someone who matters a great deal to you, and who you’d like to share something important with at that moment.
  • Share your emotions. When you’re nervous, say so. When you’re excited, say so. Many emotions that we’re told to keep to ourselves make for a better connection that bridges the gap between people.
  • Find what will connect you to others. It’s almost always an oddity. I talk about my love of Batman, or I’ll mention something that happens to most of us that you thought had only happened to you. What does it do? It immediately brings us closer.

Always Treasure Your Opportunity

I’ve heard people say “my community” quite often and every time I hear it, I scrunch my face up and feel a bit sad. I’d much rather they say “the community I have the fortune to serve.” Why? Because we never own community. It’s a gift. And even if we are the supposed “leader” of such a tribe, it’s always clear and obvious that we are there in service of the people who have chosen to share their attention with us.

This starts no matter where you are in the world of platform building. If you have two people who think you’re worth their time, then humbly treasure their kindness. Learn always to heap the praise onto them. You will never win an award that wasn’t brought to you (even partially) by the people who give you their attention. Never ever let yourself feel it’s the other way around. You’re lucky to be part of their world, and you serve them.

Celebrate the Similarities

I think what got me so excited about Adele’s between-song performances was that she did such a great job of talking about the day to day that we all might have in common. Sure, very few of us have chauffeured limousines waiting for us outside our workplace, and that’s why Adele doesn’t talk as much about that part. Instead, she talks about what it’s like when you and your best friend have a falling out and how hard it is to rectify those issues, even though the original pains are probably long forgotten.

See how that works?

This is every bit as important to learn now, as you’re developing your platform, as at any other point in the journey. So, even if you’re not a fan of Adele’s music (I am!), I recommend checking out this performance, and seeing how she handles it. There’s a lot there. Rumor has it she’s done okay by herself, and I’m betting it’s not just her voice that got her there.

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  • http://thesewingspace.com/ Lena Merrin

    Great post, Chris. Thank you

  • http://customresearchpaper.net/ research paper

    very good presentation, thanks for sharing

  • http://twitter.com/rdopping Ralph Dopping

    Good lesson here. Thank you for pointing out the importance of remaining humble. The older I get the more I realize that it’s not about me but more about what my experience can offer the people that choose to listen. When someone listens, it’s a gift, for sure. I am guessing Adele thinks of it that way.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley


    I like your thoughts on Community.  It’s easy to get a little full of yourself when you start to see consistent traffic and comment and shares… But we’re all part of a larger community.  I like how you refer to the community that visits your site as a “Gift”.  Because that is what it is.

    I take so much more from the engagement of the people that come to my site than I think they get from me.  I learn so much from them… It is a Gift.

    That is an important thought to keep close.

    Thank you!

    Ryan H.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidLakins David Lakins

    Great post and a great concert! Love the  mirror ball track towards the end of the concert – if you haven’t seen it absolutely electric – made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!

  • http://twitter.com/my3rdact Hattie Horn

    Chris, everytime I read a post from you my confidence, in my own capabilities, increases.  Thank you for your generous insight, and for indirectly holding me accountable for achieving my goals.  PEACE.

  • http://www.onelovemeg.com Meg | One Love Meg

    I love Adele. I love what she stands for, how she sings, what she sings about. I just love her. I have seen her concerts before, not this specific one but I will be checking it out. I really like the “Talk like you are talking to one person”

  • http://twitter.com/RenaissanceKate Kate Hash

    Doesn’t matter if your business is online or “in person,” whether your at the top of the ladder or the bottom — what you see time and time again with successful folks is their ability to resonate with and relate to their community, audience, tribe members, whatever you want to call it. It comes natural to the best!

  • Philip Strange

    Love the RAH and love Adele. That’s my part of London too! I’ve seen Sting, Barry White and Elvis Costello perform there! What was the old neighbourhood like? Did you check out any bars and restaurants on Fulham Road?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      That’s a great list of people to see. I wasn’t there in person, though. Saw this on a DVD. 

  • http://www.PurpleandSpice.com/ Sharon Fiberesima

    Great insights there from Adele. I guess it’s about finding your voice and knowing how best to use that voice to relate to your audience (readers). It is what keeps people coming back to hear you speak. I am in the process. Not there yet, but getting there.

    Thanks for the post, Chris.

  • http://dcdriverepair.blogspot.com/2011/10/get-complete-industrial-servicing.html Industrial panel pc

    Indeed, that’s a great lesson!

  • http://twitter.com/3rhinomedia Don Stanley

    Love the “my community” vs. “the community I have the fortune to serve.” Well put! 

  • http://slocumstudio.com Slocum Design Studio

    I remember when you spoke at the Boston Business Expo and you addressed all of us on an individual level. Really powerful.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      It’s the only way I know how to do it .: ) 

  • http://twitter.com/buyerpersona Adele Revella

    Funny  . . . one of my client’s sent me a link to this post as she thought you were talking about me and my focus on buyer personas . . . 

    I love Adele’s music. It’s great to hear that we’re connected in more ways than I ever imagined!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Worse people to be compared with, I’m sure. : ) 

  • http://kmburck.com/ Kathy

    I love Adele’s music. Adele and Sarah M. are the first I go to when friends and I hit karaoke. :)

    I’m not quite clear on your reason behind “my community” vs “the community.” The latter sounds very impersonal to me. Maybe because most of my communities are just that, impersonal and distant (I now live in SoCal). But I have found one community OC WordPress Group, and they are my community. Not because I own them, but because I really belong. They’re like family to me. I love them dearly, and we’re always there for each other. It’s one of the strongest communities in the WP community. 

    Our group honored the leaders of our community a few months back with a plaque and card. Our little ceremony brought them to tears. Two men, in tears. And men you wouldn’t think could be brought to tears that easily. It was heartwarming. :)

    That’s my beautiful community…that I’m incredibly honored to be a part of. :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Because you don’t own the community. You are a participant, even if you’re the person leading. 

      • http://kmburck.com/ Kathy

        You’re right. No one owns a community, tribe, family, etc. But in belonging is where “my” comes into play for me. I don’t own my family, my tribes or communities. But I do belong to them.

        I’m sure you’re making a very strong point, and I’m not missing it. I’m just seeing things from a different perspective. It’s one of my quirks. :)

        And I agree…those that think they own a community, tribe, employees, etc. Are truly missing the beat!

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/111991055781045745735/about Gary Stockton

    I remember watching Adele on an obscure webcast called “In The Attic” around 2005/2006. It was hosted by Rachel Fuller who is Pete Townshend’s girlfriend. I was struck instantly by Adele’s laid back, friendly personality as she crooned to an acoustic guitar and smoked ciggies, chit chatting about life. She came off like a girl next door, very down to earth. When we met her a year or so later at the Roxy, 19 had just come out and I told her she would win a Grammy for it, and she said “ohh stop!’. I hope she never changes because this is the quality that endears her to her fans along with her amazing songwriting and vocal skills. That ability to connect with your audience is what makes Stars. Adele is completely authentic and genuine. Thank you for recognizing and writing about this Chris.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Agreed, Gary. I think she’s the real deal. : ) 

  • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

    “Rumor has it..” very nice!
    I so adore Adele, but that isn’t what this post is about. Really, what builds any community is a feeling of commonality and mutual respect. Adele respects her fans and her fans respect her. She respects them enough to talk to them as real people and not “my fans”. From what I’ve seen of Adele she is who she is. This isn’t some gimmick to “build a platform.” Which is why giving people tips on how to “build a platform” is making something simple, complex. To bring together a group of folks who respect you and your work, be yourself, do what you are good at, share it lavishly. Don’t run around trying to hack “how to build a platform” because people can smell that miles away.

    Ultimately, people want to hide and do all sorts of contortions to get to their goals.The reality is, being yourself is scary but the ONLY way to real success.  In Adele’s music we hear real anger and passion and heartache. Those are her REAL feelings and most everyone can relate to that kind of pain when they were 19 or 21. Her appeal isn’t chatting up the crowd. It’s letting everyone truly see who she is on stage and off.

  • Anonymous

    This is great analysis, Chris.

    What makes Adele special is that while she’s sharing her amazing vocal talent with the world,  her behavior shows that she’s the opposite of a diva. I’ve not seen the show you mention, but certainly will. The only thing that could get in her way is anxiety from listening to people telling her “you’re doing it wrong”. She’s doing it exactly right and I hope she stays true to that. Adele’s charm is the sum total of her “pipes” and her willingness to let down that wall between the stage and the audience.

    I’m wavering on the “my community” usage – that phrase gives me a feeling of belonging to something greater than me, rather than a feeling of ownership.

  • http://www.turndog-millionaire.com/ Turndog Millionaire

    Nicely put Chris

    Very easy to forget these fundamental things, but they’re so important

    empathy is arguably the most important thing we all have

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  • http://msmorphosis.com/ MsMorphosis

    I LOVE that you wrote about this performance. I have the DVD and watch it all the time, and you’re right – she does the most amazing job connecting with you (even through a TV screen). It shows in her product (her music), her persona (her performance) and her quality. 

    Fantastic article! :)

  • Ashley

    Didn’t know this other talent of Adele’s – smart woman!

  • http://social2cents.com Jeremy Brown

    Such a great lesson and thanks for sharing Chris. My takeaway: be yourself, build relationships, and stop worry so damn much about the numbers. 

  • http://www.webyogi.co.uk/ webyogi

    OMG thanks for this post. It captures the essence of engagement so perfectly. Adele is like mad men for me you can’t get the message or sentiment out of your head, it’s human it’s emotional, its authentic and its ruddy wonderful to be reminded that we are all human beings not human doings :)

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    We don’t have to interpret “my community” as implying ownership of the community. Why can’t it be an acknowledgement that we see ourselves as being part of a community?

  • http://www.sarahcourtmezzo.com/ sarahcourt

    Great post! Thank you so much for this – full of great things to think about. 

  • http://businessbeware.biz/ Ashley

    Great post Chris as always! It’s true, focus on quality and not the quantity. In a world full of fake, people like to see the “real” in people :)

  • http://twitter.com/staceythewriter Stacey Mathis

    I like that analogy. My perspective shifted.  Thank you.

  • Patricia Rossi

    This line is just brilliant and true….”Find what will connect you to others. It’s almost always an oddity.” It is almost always an oddity indeed! Thanks for a wonderful article. Have a great Super Bowl weekend.

  • http://www.FluentBrain.com Matt Tanguay

    Hey Chris,

    I didn’t know Adele before, I’ll listen to her songs! I’m sure I could learn a lot from her way of relating to people.



    • http://ryzeonline.com/ JasonFonceca

       Matt! Fancy meeting you here :)

      Anyway, Adele’s song are… ubiquitous. Like… everywhere. It’s possible you haven’t heard her, but the chances are very high that you have.

      Either way, they are loaded with emotion, generally heart-wrenching, vocal landscapes of awesome.

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  • http://www.clickandinc.com/blog Sarah Kolb

    “When you’re nervous, say so. When you’re excited, say so.” This is absolutely key. I gravitate more toward people who own their flaws than people who pretend they don’t have any, and you’re absolutely right that sharing feelings like this can lead to a deeper and more poignant connection. And more so with “nervous” than with “excited,” I think — it’s harder to admit something when you expect it to be viewed as a weakness, and the admission is a lot stronger when it has that “letting you in on my personal secrets” layer to it.

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    very cool post! thanks! 

  • http://ryzeonline.com/ JasonFonceca

    Thanks for this! I really love what you highlighted here Chris, very eye-opening.

    I study celebrities of all sorts, because they are shining examples of “sexy success” and Adele does so much right.

    Adele also doesn’t blend with traditional beauty moulds, and I can’t tell you how many women I’ve known who would see their looks as a limitation, where Adele sees hers as an asset, or at the very least, irrelevant. :)

    Platform, vulnerability, connection, rock on Adele.

  • Anonymous

    thanks for the post

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  • http://twitter.com/MusicPowerStrat MusicPoweredStrategy

    Excellent article and insights Chris!

    The connection that Adele has with her fans during her show are the same reason I like folks such as the duo, The  Civil Wars, Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, N.J., and songwriter/musician, Walt Wilkins.

    They just don’t get up to play music or lecture on a topic.  They share life experiences that we can all connect with and they weave these stories into their time with us on stage.

    Thanks for reminding us of this important skill.  We could use it when relating to our communities.


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    This is wonderful article. I like this.

  • http://www.peppervirtualassistant.com/ Agatha Tefora

    I’m a bit off topic here but anyway, I watched the replay of Grammy’s last night and I must say, Adele is really different from the others. While most are too confident about themselves, Adele is just simple and very transparent. That’s what I really like about her.

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  • Madison .V.

    hi adele u r the best singer eeeeeevvveeeeerrr i think u r the most inspiering person ever ………. but that is not what i want to ask i need edvice lol i like this boy in my school and i like him alot and my friends sayed he wants to ask me out lol and  i cant ask anyone eles so should i ask him out ,,,,,,, i ask u this because from your songs each word tell me that i can do anything……..i hope to be a sing because of u ……..ppplleeaassee write back thanks sooo much (: Madison .P. Valiquette …..TALK TO ME ON FACEBOOK MADISON VALIQUETTE!!!!!!

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