Latest "managing stage fright" Posts
You’re giving an important presentation to audience members who might not be entirely sympathetic.
Maybe it’s delivering news of downsizing, or a reduction in hours. Maybe it’s sharing bad sales statistics. Or, maybe it’s trying to sell an idea for change that’s not popular.
Whatever the message, the people staring back at you from the seats probably don’t know who you are.
They are a captive audience, compelled to attend your talk by company policy or their managers, whether they like it or not.
You already know they are not inclined to think about the issue or idea you’re presenting the same way that you do. So, now what?
If your goal is to open or even change their minds — to persuade, to get them to take the action you need them to take or see the issue in a more favorable light — what are your options?
Whether you believe it or not, the introduction to any presentation is the most important part.
It’s the presenter’s chance to grab his or her audience members’ attention in an inspiring and compelling way that will make them sit up and pay full attention.
If you don’t get your listeners’ attention during the opening few minutes, it’s unlikely they’ll be paying enough attention for anything you say later.
As I researched the most famous speeches of all time for my previous blog, I couldn’t help but notice that most were delivered by men. But of course, women are equally capable of giving a persuasive, inspiring and memorable speech.
That’s why I went out of my way to cite Susan B. Anthony’s words in that post, instead of showing the usual ones from the likes of Lincoln, Kennedy, Churchill, or Dr.
If you need to give presentations at work, or have public speaking opportunities, you might have tried all the usual suspects to reduce stage fright and performance anxiety.
You know, those time-tested strategies like deep breathing, visualizing yourself calm and comfortable as you give your talk, etc. These strategies do work for some people, which is why they are so highly touted in almost every bit of advice I can find about stage fright.
Researchers at Harvard Business School have now come up with a completely different strategy to manage anxiety and improve your performance: getting excited!
I wholeheartedly agree.
According to their research, this is effective because it forces people to think about the positives, rather than their fears. This fascinating study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
You might have seen the recent coverage of successful movie director Michael Bay’s (“Transformers”) public-speaking debacle.
For those who have no idea what I’m referring to, Mr. Bay was hired by Samsung as a celebrity spokesperson for its new and innovative curved HDTV. He came onstage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the teleprompter promptly failed, which is where the trouble started.
“I like to take people on an emotional ride,” Bay said about his films, gamely attempting to wing it. When asked how he thought the new TV, the Curve, would affect people’s experience watching his movies, he froze, apologized, and walked right off the stage.
View it here.
Embarrassing — and entirely avoidable, if he had been anywhere near as prepared for his role as spokesperson as he undoubtedly is when he shows up to direct a movie.