Performance tips: Preparing for success
Studies have shown that glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is one of the most common phobias there is. For many, the thought of speaking to a large audience is the stuff of sleepless nights. But it doesn’t have to be. As with all things in life, the key to success when approaching a public speaking engagement – whether it’s a speech, pitch or presentation – is preparation.
Ludic’s in-house performance experts, who have a wealth of experience working closely with many Fortune 100 clients, share their tips for getting in the zone and inviting success before setting foot on stage.
“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”
– Henry Ford
1. Get Ready
If you're not ready to give a speech, the audience will not be ready to hear it. To break this vicious cycle, facilitate yourself into a place where you can serve the purpose of the speech and be available to others. This means warming up your body, breath and voice, and preparing your mindset so that when you are on stage, you are able to focus your attention on the audience and genuinely connect with them.
2. Know your intent
Supercharge your performance by getting clear on the intention: the “why” is where you and the audience meet. Instead of first trying to memorise your speech or presentation verbatim, focus on the intent and find the journey of the speech. Join the dots this way and you'll rapidly build a rapport with the audience. Why? Because intent drives attitude, gesture, facial expression, tone and pace. Rather than wondering what you should be doing with your hands or worrying about a monotonal speech pattern, intent joins you up so you can focus on your story, be in the moment and listen to the audience. When this happens, you are in the zone where authentic presence lives and your ability to influence and inspire is maximised.
3. Build success from the ground up
Shoes hold the weight of our body and its tension and therefore influence our posture. If you've rehearsed in a particular pair of shoes (for example, casual shoes) and then wear a different pair on the day (formal shoes), you won't feel as comfortable because things feel different. To prevent the negative thought cycle this triggers, take a tip from the actors’ studio: build success from the ground up by rehearsing in the shoes you will wear on the day.
4. Give your inner critic the day off
Be in the moment. Self-auditing a performance mid-speech or mid-presentation means that you've stepped out of the moment by putting all of your attention on yourself, rather than the audience. This reduces your ability to influence and inspire because the connection to the audience has been frayed.
To prevent this, you need to give your inner critic the day off. So instead of approaching a presentation with a critical mindset, you must tell yourself a better story, one in which you are the hero. One way of doing this is by finding a song that reinforces this story and mentally playing it as you wait to go on stage. Once you’re up there, putting your attention wholly on the audience instead of yourself will keep this momentum going and hold your inner critic at bay.
5. Develop a “Yes, Let’s” attitude.
An actor rehearses so that they know every line, every prop, every entrance and exit. They rehearse until things are known. This then gives them the ability to step into a space and manage what is unknown. So, if something unexpected happens during a presentation or speech, they can accept it with a “Yes, Let's” and move on.
Ultimately, the secret is this… Actors don't rehearse until it's perfect. They rehearse until it's authentic and connects. That's always the final destination. And that's how they – and you – can invite success.