It happens to some degree to all of us at some point in time. Our heart starts racing and pumping blood around at a crazy pace, we get hot and sometimes sweaty and our mouth suddenly become like the Sahara desert. Most of our muscles tighten like a spring.
It is both a good and bad thing. Good as it puts us in a state of fight or flight in an emergency, but bad because sometimes there is no emergency, only perceived threat and in these cases it can shut down normal behaviour and be uncontrollable.
As human beings we don't often like being taken out of our comfort zones, but on certain occasions we will have to do so.
Situations in life like standing up in front of an audience and speaking or putting on a performance can seem daunting with 50-5,000 eyes staring up at us intently. There are however effective ways in which to deal with these types of situations and make it a whole lot easier.
A combined approach is best.
1. You must prepare your mind and body correctly and rehearse what you are going to say. Then review it by recording it and listening to it back. By putting the preparation in you immediately reduce the fear factor, as you will already be confident you know your stuff.
2. You could safe guard yourself by using prepared reminders or what I call triggers to high-light each section of your presentation. These could be slide images, or short dot points. These simple triggers set off your well rehearsed auto pilot program and the words will roll off your tongue.
3. You can rehearse the entire successful presentation prior to the event mentally as well as physically. You train for this outcome by visualising it in your head each night when you go to bed. This technique is a well documented and implemented success tool used by many elite athletes, speakers and singers. The subconscious mind cannot necessarily differentiate between reality and imagination. If you repeatedly run through the presentation and see the smiling audience giving you a standing ovation, your mind believes it has done it time and time again. For me I do this for every event I present at, as well as every event I orchestrate.
4. Develop your own relaxation rituals. This can be as simple as slow long deep breaths, shoulder rolls and jaw stretches. Some people listen to music on their ipods to either pump themselves up or calm and focus themselves.
5. Focus on the process entirely and don’t allow yourself to be distracted before or during your presentation. Silence any negative mind chatter in your head.
6. Remember that you are at a certain level of heightened awareness and energy is a good thing. Utilise it to your advantage.
7. The audience is on your side and your job is to help them. It is not about you, it is about helping them understand your point, idea and story. So give it 100% of your focus and effort and you will be much more confident. It does get easier with each occasion. It should not get diminished to the extent that you get blasé or complacent about your work that would be disrespectful to your audience.
If you want to master this on your own and deal with any stage fright issues then, it will take a lot of time and patience. On the other hand, if you use the services of a mentor who can guide you, and help you to properly prepare yourself for these type of tasks then, you will be fast tracking your route in controlling stage fright by using the proven techniques of a field professional. Getting someone who has been there and fully understands the obstacles and fears you may have and how to use the correct tools in order to rectify these type of issues, will enable you to save on countless hours of trying to master this task yourself.
Dealing with stage fright and overcoming your fears doesn't have to be complicated, if you know the right direction to take. Like most things in life, it takes practise and with the right tools and information, you'll have a new inner confidence that will excel the outer world and will allow you to put on the kind of performance that you always wanted.
Great Players don’t always make Great Coaches.
Just because you do something extremely well, doesn’t mean you’ll be a great Coach.
Often when we are extremely skilled at something we have devoted many hours to perfecting this skill, detail by detail or we have a natural gift or intuition about how to do something. Along the way these minute details become entrenched and automatic. This means that we can take this attribute for granted and assume it is easy.
The secret to then converting this skill and becoming the trainer of this skill or the coach is that you must cover every little detail, one at a time and in the correct order for the trainees, students or clients to absorb and learn themselves.
The coach who can go back to the beginning and guide the client through the basics while building knowledge into the logical program will become the greatest coach but not before learning how to implement and apply human psychology. The one’s that have forgotten what it is like to be a complete beginner, will be doing everyone an injustice and therefore be ineffective.
On occasion I have seen people really flounder when, just because they could do something extremely well thought this gave them automatic qualifications to be a coach. In most cases they got frustrated angry and usually ended up doing the job themselves and never ended up training their trainee.
Great coaching is more than someone who can give great demonstrations. Humans have different personalities and with such require understanding in order to bring out the best in their clients. A great coach needs to have a great amount of knowledge of the area and if possible experience in at least related areas to be successful. A great coach establishes a strong commitment, the starting level, works out what drives and gets the best responses from their clients and uses all their skills to transform their clients into hungry enthusiastic empowered success stories. Perfect examples of this are successful football coaches.
Along the way, they are balancing enthusiasm and corrections. They will often have rules or goals to be met by set deadlines to keep their clients accountable. They clarify what is expected and reward success. It also helps the client have a realistic idea of what they should expect from themselves. They are aware of the pace of learning so that the client is challenged but not overwhelmed by moving too fast. The client must be the one to do the work, to gain confidence and their own experience.
A great coach is not a lecturer although they need to speak and inspire, nor are they always great at every part of business or sport, however they are skilled at breaking down often complex tasks to bite sized sections for selected individuals to learn, absorb and perfect for success, along the way instilling confidence, courage and control.
The winner of The Voice” series needed to not only have a great voice, they needed to be saleable, convincing.
We heard all the coaches, use this word “believable, I believed you more,” time and time again in both the training sessions and the selection competitions. Do people believe what you say?
I believe that like a singer needs to sell a song, business today needs to be believable. It has left the hard sell behind and is being replaced by intimate relationships. Businesses need to build great relationships, and work at attracting and keeping customers. Integrity, and showing who you are as a person and a company, and how that is portrayed is integral to your success.
People select a product or service and the winner of the Voice because the contestant has developed instant rapport with them, usually visually and emotionally. We are given information about their background story, and see their struggles from which the audience will like and can associate with. Reality TV following their journey (which is highlighted regularly), gives the sense that we are quite intimate with them. This elicits for the most times a sense of vulnerability and honesty, and a with this knowledge we are moved by them and decide their true value and most importantly their trustworthiness hoping they will succeed.
The audience in voting for them is actually based on voting for the values and experiences which they hold as priority. It is therefore so important that all businesses are clear about what their purpose is, even if it is to be the cheapest item, and be open and congruent with their actions toward their target audience.
Businesses who promote and market clearly to their audience and who are true to their word in all their interactions ie are congruently branded, are going to do well. They will give their clients what they want because they have taken the time to establish rapport and are true to their word. The new markets are determined by social media, facebook and twitter, where all customers see instantly the thoughts of other customers.
Tip 1 . Try Not to Look Nervous !!!!!
YouTube videos are used more now than Google searches. There are many business people who lack the skills to convey who they really are in basic interactions and presentations even though their product or service is amazing.
If they appear nervous simply due to the fear of speaking in public the audience senses they are holding something back. The fear of speaking in front of people or camera for YouTube makes people hesitant or worse indicates that you are hiding something and are not being truthful and therefore trustworthy. Take a deep breath and think of something funny before you start. (Don't do the "Imagine they are naked" thing)
Tip 2. Look the Part.
Oh and I will point out that with all the competition out there you only have one chance to get it right. Effective communication incorporates the clothes or uniform you wear, your speaking and body language skills as well as your confidence, then when you have clarified your credibility they might invest or vote for your product or service.
Tip 3. Step Up and Break Through your Imagined Barriers.
Contestants on the voice step up when they really get that they will only get one chance at this so they need to make it count they need to own the stage and not hesitate. Hesitation means that they may not believe in their product. All business will fail in the first round of competition if they cannot communicate how good their service or idea really is clearly and quickly.
Tip 4. Prepare, Practise and Practise.
If you do all your homework and rehearse and rehearse, take the video. Pause and rewind, repeat and improve. It won't take long before you are giving Awesome Performances Naturally.
Often people will tell you face to face how passionate they are about a subject or their business or their goals, yet when they need to convey that passion to a group of people the energy just dies.
What is happening is they are going into mental overdrive. They look like they are stunned in the headlights of oncoming traffic and are paralysed.
Mentally they are wondering how is the best way to put my ideas so they will be received the best. By doing this their words and actions get slowed down in the process because of everything going on in the background.
If I was to ask them a few simple questions such as What is it about your business that you love? or Why is your product better than anything else on the market? or What makes this song so important to you? I would get the exact words, body language and expressions that would not only convince one person but would convince hundreds of people that they are really passionate about their thing.
The secret is keep it simple.
Think of the critical elements that make this special and amazing.
People have so many pro's in their heads they get caught up thinking about which ones to use first.
Yes there will be those facts and figures people who need their scientific ego tickled to win them over, and even facts and figures can be made to look sexy and alluring too if you are clever enough (now thats a challenge to throw forth). In the words of my marketing gurus, people buy from emotions and validate it with facts.
I recently watched a promotional video for a university, and several lecturers, said they were passionate about teaching our future leaders. Just reading the words doesn't do it justice. It was like, Oh my goodness, call the coroner these guys are dead and don't know it yet. They said it with total mono-tonal voices and glum looks on their faces and tempo that was slower than a death knoll. I certainly wouldn't have signed up for that university.
Even old people have passion, sometimes they have much more, because they are less hung up about looking good than the rest of us. So if you are going to tell someone about your idea and you want them to be engaged, show that you believe what you are saying, that you are passionate about it. Put that belief into your voice, face and body and don't sound like a zombie mouthing the words for words sake. Remember to keep it simple with the critical elements that make it special and amazing.
Of Course your mum or your friend is going to say you sound great. They want to encourage you to keep going. And encouragement is an essential part of motivation. But sometimes when the only feedback you are given is from those around you who may not have any expertise in what you are trying to do it becomes unrealistic and can lead to disaster if not balanced with correct feedback from an expert. Just look at the Idol auditions or celebrity apprentice to see that demonstrated. As Pat Mesiti's says why would you seek marriage advice from someone who has been married 5 times. You want advice from someone who has been married for 30 plus years and still in love. The same is for your presentations and performances.
You wouldn't ask a blind man do you look OK, so why ask someone who is not experienced in presenting how your presentation went? This goes for your colleagues as well, who might be too scared to tell you the truth. However sometimes it is simply because they don't know how to phrase it correctly or know what the correct suggestion would be to correct the error of your ways.
This is where a coach or mentor come in handy. It is their job to support you in the right direction, encourage you to really go far and beyond what you think you can do. They have to motivate you and give you tough love in order to get you to your peak performance level quickly. You never see a football coach asking nicely for members of the team to please try a little harder.
So how do you find the right coach/mentor. Firstly they should be someone in the industry who has done the rounds and walked the walk so to speak reasonable well, and whom you look up to. Secondly you need to be able to get along with this person. That is to say your personalities need to suit. For every coach, leader, trainer, teacher will have their own style and you need to find the style that suits your learning. Thirdly they need to want to help you, as you can get a mentor who has not mentored before. Find out as much as you can about them. Use the internet, speak to others who have been helped by them, read their testimonials and look at their guarantee. Even if they are remote from you perhaps you can video phone or send data or video and have this appraised. If they are worth their weight they will want some sort of accountability from you to make the collaboration work after all they are putting their reputation on the line.
Finally you must be prepared to follow their guidance and put into action what they ask, often without questioning to get the result you both want. I asked what it took to be mentored by one of my all time great Australian minds of our century Mr Peter J Daniels and his student replied, " I bought all his programs, did all his courses and then and only then would he even entertain the idea of mentoring me." After all a good coach, mentor or teacher wants to see you succeed well but they also want to confirm you have the ability to be able to do it.