When I was studying voiceover, I took a number of improv classes. They were a lot of fun even with my horrible stage fright.
All was fine, until one day we got a sign-up for a 2-day musical improv class. Hmm, how bad could it be? It was just one weekend.
There were around 25 people in the class, one more talented then the next. My small group was terrified. We kept asking ourselves “what have we done???!!!”
Sure, the warm-up exercises were a lot of fun but then it was time to perform…
on-stage… alone… in front of everyone!
The format was as follows; pull a prompt, the piano player starts playing an intro, the “singer” makes up a song (that rhymes) and MOVES while singing!!!
Somehow I put on my blinders and did it.
I don’t remember much about the weekend BUT
After our instructor gave us the formula for coming up with a song on the fly (yes, there’s a formula), her final instruction was, no matter what, “Go Big!”
Her guidance centered around the fact that the audience is rooting for you. They will be amazed that you’re doing musical improv in the first place, so just go for it. And if the whole thing is one huge bomb then do an even bigger finale with a huge TA DA at the end. The crowd will go nuts.
She was right! Just the shear chutzpah of seeing someone just go all out even if they were terrible made all the difference.
Shrinking makes the audience feel bad. Looking like you’re having fun makes the audience have fun.
This advice holds true for presentations, videos, meetings.
Our first tendency is to shrink when we get scared which makes sense because it’s a way of protecting ourselves. However, you want to consciously think about EXPANDING.
So the next time you feel like shying away, trying Going Big instead. It can be as simple as, being the first to ask a question in an all staff meeting or standing up straight and facilitating!
Remember, if you’re comfortable, you’ll help your audience get comfortable.
Go for it! You’re a Star! xoxo Eva
Eva Lewandowski MBA, is a certified Life Coach, certified EFT Practitioner, seminar leader, speaker and co-host of a weekly internet radio show “Corporate Talk with Charlie and Eva”. She is also a 30 year veteran of Corporate America as an IT consultant. Using the skills she learned in acting classes, life coaching and EFT certification training as well as her struggle with debilitating stage fright, she created, Stand Up and Be Heard!, a program that teaches professionals how to overcome their fear of the spotlight. She is also the author of “Put on Your Phone Face: Tips and Techniques for teleconferences and conference calls”.
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