I’ve just been listening to the last part of a series called “Tony Bennett Presents The Great American Songbook” on BBC Radio 2. The show is available on iPlayer (only until next Sunday – 16th October 2011).

There is some great music – but one particular section (around 50 minutes in) got me turning up the volume. Tony Bennett talked about how he met Bob Hope when he was in the United States Army as a soldier in WWII (Tony Bennett was born in 1926!). He said that Bob had given him one of the best tips on being an entertainer – “If you love the audience, they’re going to love you. If you don’t care about the audience, they’re not going to care for you.” It’s a passion that Tony Bennett still has at 85 years old – and it’s a lesson to anyone in business who serves customers.

Tony also had his own thoughts. “I always admired my audience, most performers think they are superior to their audience, but they’re not.” Substitute audience for customers – and it gets you thinking??

Tony is passionate about making making people happy. He said: “The general public are powerful…. I’m an optimist…. I’ll go for what the public wants. I think the greatest lesson we can learn is to listen to what the public wants.”

Many people talk about following your passion. I agree. But don’t forget to “love your audience” too.

I hope you manage to read this post and listen to the BBC iPlayer before it’s not available. The quotes surround an intro to one of Tony Bennett’s favourite artists and songs. If you’ve missed the radio show, just finish this post by listening to Louis Armstrong and “Wonderful World”. Tony said that audiences identify with this song!