by Damon Carson

WARNING: You need to read this article alone. I ask you to say some stuff aloud that might be embarrassing to you or aggravating to others upon first utterance.

With that caveat stated, now a question. Do you love the chant of the auctioneer? Maybe you remember attending livestock sales as a kid. Maybe you enjoy going to estate sales. Maybe you watch the Barrett-Jackson car auction on the Speed channel.

Whatever the case, much of the show and intrigue is listening to the fast talking auctioneer. Their ”cry“ just builds enthusiasm and excitement.

Do you ever wish you could chant like an auctioneer? If so, I’m going to teach you the basics in this article. In about 5 minutes you’re going to hopefully impress even yourself by becoming a bid caller.

First, though, a little background on learning the auction chant. Most things you read from auction schools describe a long lengthy process of learning tongue twisters like the following:

”A big brown bug bit a big brown bear, a big brown bug bit a big brown bear… a big brown bug bit a big brown bear… A big brown bug bit a big brown bear, a big brown bug bit a big brown bear… a big brown bug bit a big brown bear…“

Of course, many think you learn to bid call by filling your mouth with marbles and trying to talk.

Who knows, maybe both are true!?! Whatever the case, I have a little system that I can teach you that will have you calling in about 5 minutes.

To start, let’s look at the anatomy of the call. It is really pretty straight forward. Written out, it looks something like this: “1 dollar bid, now 2, now 2, who will bid a 2? 2 dollar bid, now 3, now 3, who will bid a 3? 3 dollar bid, now 4, now 4, who will bid a 4?“ Try reading this sentence aloud a few times picking up the pace each time. (Remember, try this alone.)

OK, any success. Maybe!?!

With that basic diagram complete. We can move on to what will make you really sound like a pro. Enter the filler “words.” These are the “words” between the numbers that make you sound like you’re talking 100mph when you’re really not. I put quotes around words because they are not words you’ll find in the dictionary. Rather these are syllables that you put together to form made-up words. Actually these made-up words can be anything. That is part of what makes each auctioneer’s cry unique, because their filler words are each different. It just helps to choose syllables that are full of staccato to make your chant really pop.

So, let me demonstrate. Let’s make up our own word based on the phrase “who will bid a 2” from above. Let’s use the syllables “oo” “da” “bid” “da” to create the word “oodabidda”. Say “oodabidda” a few times, and each time increasing the speed. Then add in the number 2 at the end… “oodabidda 2”. Faster now.

Now, let’s put it into a chant: “1 dollar bid, oodabidda 2, now 2, now 2, oodabidda 2? 2 dollar bid, oodabidda 3, now 3, now 3, oodabidda 3? 3 dollar bid, oodabidda 4, now 4, now 4, oodabidda 4?”

As you can see, you’re really not talking fast at all. Rather, you make up words that are first and foremost not words in the English language, and secondly, the syllables are chosen because they have a rhythm and cadence. (Note: filler words are not that important and you need not understand them, it is the pronunciation of the numbers that need to be clear and understandable.) While any group of syllables can be a filler word some of the other popular ones are “whodabiddat”, “whodabydemat”, “who’llabid”, “imabida”, “udabid”. Use whatever flows off your tongue the easiest.

With just a little practice who can really impress your friends, spice up a speech, or fill in for the real auctioneers who don’t show up for the charity auction. In fact, just a few weeks ago the last thing happened to me. Our auctioneer had a family emergency right before our annual Cub Scout Cake Auction. So, I became the stand in auctioneer for the night. At the end, multiple people commented, “I didn’t know you were a professional auctioneer.” In fact, I’m not… I just know how to use filler words. I guess that puts a whole new twist on the Scout motto “Be Prepared.”

I’d love your feedback on this article. Were you able to initially sound like an auctioneer in 5 minutes?