Margo Chevers
Northeast Leadership

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How to get UP On a down day

Stop The B.S.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

The Chevers Report March 31 , 2006 

Volume # 1 Edition # 13

Tony Orlando - without Dawn
spotlightA number of years ago, I was speaking at a convention for the National Tour Association. I was speaking two separate days, so I got to know the participants.

The first day I spoke, many of them asked if I would be attending the entertainment show that was scheduled for that evening. They said that Tony Orlando was the performer. I responded to them all that I had to get to bed early that night since I was presenting first thing in the morning. I was asked many times if I would be attending, but I persisted that I needed to get my rest.

I didn’t think I’d be missing much, since I’d heard Tony Orlando and Dawn sing their hit songs – “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”, “Knock Three Times”, and more. I’d also watched their hit TV show during the ‘70s. I thought they were good, but not enough for me to lose my precious sleep for just Tony – without Dawn.

The next morning, at the continental breakfast, everyone was buzzing about Tony Orlando. He was just “fantastic”, was how many referred to the show. I began to think I’d made a poor choice in going to bed early.

Finally, I asked someone what had made him so good. After all, I remembered him, and as good as he was, I didn’t think in terms of “fantastic” when I thought of him.

The woman I asked gushed that he was “fantastic”. I pushed for details. What was so great about him?

She told me how he had asked for a volunteer from the audience. A young woman came on stage and interacted with Tony Orlando. The person who was in charge of the spotlights, had the light on Tony, but Tony Orlando gestured to the man behind the lights to throw the light on the young woman. This happened a number of times during the brief time the young woman was on stage. Each time the person who was telling me what had happened, said that Tony Orlando gestured to have the spotlight put on the young woman, she also stated that “Tony Orlando was just fantastic”.

Just the fact that Tony Orlando wanted the audience member to be in the spotlight, made the rest of the audience elevate their feelings about him. By making the young woman the star, Tony Orlando looked “fantastic”.  He didn’t try to steal the spotlight, but knew the importance of making the young woman look good and by association, he was making the entire audience look good. He understood that he was there to serve his audience.

We can learn a lesson from this when we’re dealing with our customers. Instead of trying to make ourselves look good, or smart, or right, we should turn the spotlight around and shine it on the customer. By doing so, our customers will talk about how “fantastic” we are.


Margo Chevers, author of the book STOP the BS (bad service), has been providing sales and customer service seminars to a diverse cross-section of industries for the past 19 years. To receive her free 10 top tips for exceptional customer service, call (800) 858-0797 or email

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© 2006 Margo Chevers


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