First off, when I say audience, you probably think a concert or a show don’t you? An audience is somebody who is listening. It could be one person sitting across the desk from you, or it could be a theater filled with people.
Anybody who you ask for attention from is an audience, and there is often an inherent value in that interaction based on performance. Performance in the way that we’re looking at is about authenticity.
The greatest performers in the world are the most honest ones, the most authentic ones. Performance is about amplifying different parts of your personality in order to achieve a particular goal.
Today we are talking to Michael Port, author of Steal the Show, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life.
We have got a fabulous download from Michael today. It’s “50 Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore If You Want To Wow Your Audience.”
“Your life is made up of lots of high stakes situations, and how you perform during those moments, and if you fall flat, then your life is relatively flat, but if you can shine when the spotlight’s on you, then you get to do big things.”
The book focuses on on feedback, how to give it, how to take it, how to get the kind of feedback that you want. We tend to run away from criticism, and as a result, we don’t grow.
Recognize that you don’t need to be an entertainer to be a performer. You just need to be somebody who wants to connect with others and deliver on promises.
You can focus on you, or you can focus on what the people are hearing. The moment you stop thinking about yourself, the moment you stop being nervous.
So how do you crush your fears and face your critics?
BE PREPARED: One of the reasons that we are often afraid is because we are not as prepared as we would like to be. We don’t know if we are going to be able to deliver what we want to deliver. If you’re prepared, then you tend to be calmer.
STOP BEING SELF ABSORBED: Once we start thinking about ourselves, and we go, “Oh my God, I look fat in these pants,” or “They’re going to hate me,” or “They’re not going to believe anything I have to say,” or “Who am I to say this? It’s already been said,” or any other number of things that we start to obsess on.
When we obsess on those things, it just gets worse. It’s a downward spiral. If we focus on the audience and every speech, every interview, every negotiation, every deal, every engagement, then we are serving our audience. Our job is to deliver on the promise, to focus on the people we’re meant to serve.
When your focus comes off of you, and your own needs, and anxieties, and on to the people that you’re there to serve, it gets a lot easier. You get a lot more relaxed.
You are more comfortable, and you forget about some of the things that were making you nervous, because you can’t hold those two thoughts in your head at the same time. Your mind is focused on one thing, which is delivering on the promise, that you don’t have the space in your brain for the anxiety.
How do people create a story that keeps their audience, whether it is thousands of people or two people? How do they keep people on the edge of their seats?
People, places, things, and then times or events. That simple! Here is where you grab paper and a pen.
Take out a piece of paper, and you would just put a line on the side of the piece paper with a title that says “Stories.” You’re not going to judge these stories. You’re not deciding whether or not you’re going to use these at any point. You’re just trying to remember the stories. That’s all.
Then you back later, and you look and go, “Could I use that in my next meeting to demonstrate the point of hard work,” or “Could I use that story to demonstrate that every once in a while we do things that make us look foolish, but you know what, we live to tell the tale?” You go back after and do that.
Then, brainstorm the whole story. Sometimes, it helps recording it. If you do it on audio, and then you listen back, you can write it down, what you said or you can have it transcribed if it’s a very long story.
It’s good to have just a big messy draft, because you are going to cut some of it. Cut it, sculpt it, and mold it into three acts.
ACT 1: The Exposition: The time, the setting, and the place. It’s the information that the listener needs to know in order to understand what comes next.
ACT 2: The Conflict: It starts with inciting incidence. Something occurs that creates conflict, and that conflict spurs some kind of action, and that action might create more conflict, which then spurs some more action, which the spurs some more conflict. That’s where the tension’s created.
ACT 3: The Resolution: Resolution is the thing that we’re waiting for. It’s not always happy. Sometimes it’s “they all lived happily ever after,” and sometimes it’s “they all died in the end.” The resolution determines the length of the story, meaning if the resolution is worth waiting for, it’s incredible powerful.
What is the biggest mistake that somebody in public speaking, in acting, or in selling can make, and how can they avoid it?
Respect. If you do not respect the audience, it’s hard to win them over. You need to respect them, and love them no matter what they’re doing.
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