Are You a Bawler or a Boomer?

A. By booming, not bawling – and by out-smarting your inner mouse!

Cottingham Thursday Market In Full Swing Today 13th. August

Walking through the Cottingham market yesterday, many of our stall-holders appear neither to bawl nor to boom; they appear to be shy of engaging with customers and often ‘mouse it’!

How you could turn round your sales with a few tips: – 

Fight or flight: read all about it: the brain’s natural response to threats

Remember bawling frightens people away whereas booming ropes them in!

Daily Exercise For Traders: –

Stand in front of a full length mirror Dad’s Army-style and shout: “I am not a mouse and I am not angry!”

You can increase the dramatic effect by emphasizing the word ‘not’!

You may come across as threatening and menacing. Don’t despair, you’ve only just re-produced the ‘stand your ground’ part of the ‘fight’ part of your brain’s instinctive fight of flight response! You are now at the tipping-point where your ‘inner mouse’ may suddenly flip and make you take flight and withdraw.

Learn to modulate and project your voice, fellow actor!

“Life’s but a stage”, as Shakespeare famously said! But please remember: you’re there to entertain and engage your customers rather than chase them away! Appear to focus on the audience, not just yourself, but you are there to entertain, not to suffer in silence!

Now clear the throat laddie, take a deep breath and stand upright with the back of your head high on a straight neck yet with just the head tilted forward and gather yourself purposefully together and say in a deepened voice ‘masterfully’: “pull yourself together, you’re a boomer!”

Secret tip: in the military, wearing a peaked cap makes a soldier stand like this most of the time giving them an air of authority and also preventing slouching. Wearing a cloth cap tilted forward may help too!

If you are a female or ladette who would rather not be too ‘masterful’, you may practice; “You may turn if you want to,  ..the Lady’s, ..  not, .. for turning!”

You can ham it up a bit with: ‘I may be, ..  a boomer ..  but not, .. a bawler,  .. and certainly not,  a mouse’!

You may also maybe remember Eric and Ernie Wise with “I may be playing all the right notes, but not, .. necessarily, .. in, the, right, order”!

Eric must have been terrified of not being able to play the piano in front of the audience, orchestra and the famous conductor and pianist, but he held his ground and didn’t switch to ‘mouse mode’!

As a criticism for you to avoid, he let his ‘bawler side’ out appearing to get angry with “Mr. Preview”. How he held it together, we will never know!

And yes: engage and entertain them regardless of if you ‘hook’ and then ‘strike’ with some humor (individual reward) the moment you have their attention to break the ice as you make your ‘pitch’!

Be warned by the above sketch but also be prepared to take a risk to find your new level – for it is followed by the “I worked for Morcambe and Wise, and look what happened to me!”

When we get stressed, out throats tighten and on we end up squeaking like a mouse rather than roaring like a lion when speaking publicly! This is our fight or flight response again, priming all our muscles for rapid action.

Overcoming the fear of an audience and attracting their attention requires you to practice the opposite response. You need to learn to relax your throat when under stress and defuse the situation from within.

Racing drivers and actors alike overcome this ‘performance angst’ barrier by appearing to have no fear. Jeremy Clarkson often interviews racing drivers and actors on Top Gear and you can compare them for yourself! One is shy and reclusive off the track and loud and expressive on the track; the other is sometimes the opposite!


P.S: We can provide mentoring and coaching together with amateur dramatics and other individuals, actors and groups, please get in touch if you would like to explore further: Nick, Anne or Mike (

P.P.S: If you think adults are difficult to engage, teenagers can be far more of a challenge! Comedians Eric and Ernie also learnt the hard way cutting their teeth on the working peoples club circuit in the 50s where live audiences were far less tolerant than today!

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