Three Things I Learned About Training from Taylor Swift's Eras Tour

August 30, 2023 | 1632 Views

Three Things I Learned About Training from Taylor Swift's Eras Tour

Kelly McCutcheon

Group Director of Training & Development | Whataburger

Whether performing sold-out shows until 2 AM in the pouring rain, giving $100,000 bonuses to her truck drivers, or announcing the latest Taylor’s Version album release, the Eras tour is taking the world by storm.

The tour spans an impressive 146 shows across 5 continents. Your training may not reach an audience of that size, but you can still capture some of that spirit. Here are 3 things I learned about training from my experience at the Eras Concert.

Kelly McCutcheon "Lover" neon sign and jacket lettering


Taylor Swift gratitudeTaylor’s gratitude throughout the concert blew me away. All 3-hours and 45 songs of it. She frequently took moments to express her gratefulness for the audience. Despite the grueling schedule, unpredictable weather, and all the stress and pressure that follow a tour, you can’t read a word of that on her face while she is performing. It really looks like she is doing what she loves from the first note to the last.


There is nothing like an enthusiastic facilitator who genuinely wants to be there. Remind yourself that you are getting to do what you love. Whether it’s debuting the material you created, being center stage, or watching people blossom into the best version of themselves, getting to lead a training session is amazing. Take that moment and share it with your audience in a moment of gratitude for being there with you.


Singing along with Taylor SwiftTay Tay knows that we are not there to watch from the sidelines; we want to be a part of the show! Not only does the audience sing every word, there are even special fan-created chants and choreography (IYKYK) that add to the experience. Taylor levels up this co-creation by giving concert goers light-up bracelets that flash to the music in different colors to create stadium-wide ambiance. It's easy to feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself when 70,000 of your closest friends are singing along.


Emotional connection is created when your audience is invited, encouraged, and expected to participate! What is your crowd-sourced content?

For example, tell a story that reinforces your training but leave it open ended. “Someone came in for their first day of orientation and they were nervous. What do you think happened next?” This gives the participants a chance to choose their own adventure.

What are your callbacks? The lessons you want your training to reinforce should be referred to often. For example, during a recent training, our #1 goal was retention. So, I found ways throughout the session to start the sentence “After all, our #1 goal is…” and let my audience finish the sentence with a resounding “retention!”

And as for those light-up bracelets? In a large group format, I’ve given noisemakers to participants as a way of “voting” on survey or quiz questions.


Taylor Swift wears a different outfit on night 1 and night 2.

Every night of the tour, T-Swizzle plays two “surprise” songs just for that audience. It keeps us on the edge of our seats and makes the experience a little more special because those songs are just for us. She also extends a personal welcome to the city. During the concert I attended in Houston, she mentioned how amazing it was to be in the city where her parents met and married. She even switches up her outfits from concert to concert, making the experience feel even more custom.


Often, we deliver the same training content over and over. What can you do to customize your content to your audience? What do you know about your participants? What’s unique about the city you are in? Even elements like varying group size, season, and time of day can factor into how you approach your training from session to session. You can mix up the examples you use, the videos you show, or the themes and stories you incorporate into your training. As a bonus, it also keeps the content fresh for you! 

Well, my fellow Swifties, I hope these tips make you fearless when it comes to your next training session. Speak now and you are on your way to building your reputation as a training mastermind for evermore

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Comments (6)

  1. Patrick A. Yearout:
    Sep 02, 2023 at 09:48 AM

    Fantastic takeaways, Kelly!

    Sep 05, 2023 at 01:03 PM

    Hi Kelly - I'm not a "Swifty" but totally loved the relevance of your article!!

  3. Natasha Bronzini:
    Sep 05, 2023 at 04:31 PM

    Great article Kelly!! Keeping it simple and authentic...not a crazy formula to connect and make a difference in someone's learning.

  4. Kris Brown:
    Sep 06, 2023 at 06:50 PM

    Kudos Kelly! A Great synopsis of taking a non hospitality-service event and applying the principles to the restaurant/training business. As you have shown There are many cross pollination training opportunities between many industries.

  5. James Frank:
    Sep 07, 2023 at 04:22 PM

    Thank You Kelly for this amazing perspective on how to think outside of the box on ways to capture "The Spirit of Training"!

  6. Kimberly Carson:
    Sep 07, 2023 at 08:50 PM

    Great points, Kelly! I’m not a swifty, but you had me captured and it was so relatable!