Amanda Meyer from Rewards Drama shares her tips anyone can use when communicating your idea.
Remember an idea isn’t innovation unless you get buy-in. And that takes presentation skills.
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Listen to the full episode below …
Well, actually one of the things you just said is one of the major keys and that is about being passionate, right? One of the, the biggest um mistakes, I suppose you could call it is when people get on stage or they've got a camera on them, they all of a sudden turn into somebody else.
They turn to presentation mode and I need to deliver this information. Or they turn into kind of a, a scared zombie who is saying the words, but for all intents and purposes, they're not even present. So the trouble with that of course, is that it's very boring for the listener or the viewer. And it's very hard to engage and get interested in what it is that they're sharing.
And the brain just naturally really starts to switch off after a certain amount of this, you know, it just can't stay on the what's being delivered. So passion is one of the absolutely essential things. But it's not just about whether you are passionate about it. It's about making your audience understand why they should be passionate about it.
And the way you do that is not only by being your authentic self, which is obviously a very important starting place. But then you need to show them with your words, your voice, your expression, your inflection, your emotion, your body language. If you're on a stage, then that also includes all of your stage craft, the stage, positioning the levels, the body language, all of those things all come into play and all work together and they need to all be there and all be telling the same message at the same time so that your audience isn't confused so that they can actually stay focused and engaged.
Everyone talks in that world about learning your craft. And the idea is that you learn all of the psychology and all of the basics, all of the underlying elements, how they all work individually and how they work together and how to put them together. And then once you have that background knowledge, you can go into any role, any, um, in this case, in the business world, any talk, presentation pitch on camera training, webinar, whatever it might be.
And you can go in with that background knowledge. So that almost on autopilot, you are putting all of these things together and you need to understand all of these things and know how to utilize all of these things in order to be effective and in order to do it in a natural way and let your passion and your authentic personality actually shine and come through.
So. You know, it makes me think of, you know, an introvert, an extrovert, for example. So yeah, that is actually, a lot of actors are naturally incredibly shy people. And for some of them, they actually got into acting for that reason alone. It wasn't that they had a love of it. It wasn't, they weren't, you know, really interested in the idea of being an actor or whatever it was that they know or they've heard, someone's told them whatever it is that acting brings you this set of skills and it can bring you confidence. It can help you with your voice, obviously your expression and just your general presence.
And so for a shy person who maybe Isn't great at talking. Isn't great talking to people, you know, would rather just stay at home by themselves. These are invaluable skills and there are some people who have some very big names actually, who are exactly like that.
And some of them have even gotten into it because they struggled with things like stutters. And then they've discovered, you know, what. I love this. There is a real freedom in this, and I love this feeling of being confident and being able to express this. And they've actually turned out to be some of our biggest stars in Hollywood today.
Um, but the first one that came to mind is Tom cruise. He has not been shy about the fact that he was very shy and I think it might've even been him that had the, um, the terrible stutter as well. I could be wrong though. So don't quote me on that one. And, um, and then there's people like, you know, Steven Spielberg, who obviously is a director, but it's the same sort of thing and reasoning. But there's a lot of, a lot of actors who are introverts, whether or not they you know, went into it because they were in introvert or shy people like Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Glenn Close.
They’re all people who, you know, if you actually looked at it at face value, you could say, Oh yeah. Okay. They look like an introverted kind of shy person, but then you put them on stage or on camera and we are wowed by their skills and their craft and their motion in their characters. And all that really comes down to is knowing the skillset so well that you are free to let go and to be confident and to be seen and heard. Now, obviously for actors, they're trying to put on a different personality or not a different personality, a different persona. They are playing somebody else. But the same reason that they are free to do so and do it so well and do it so confidently is the same reason why it works for those in the business world.
Because if you do need to go on camera pitch to the board, or, you know, stand on a stage, whether it's, you know, in front of 10 people or 10,000, the same things apply, you are suddenly very very aware of yourself. And you're looking at yourself and your feelings and, and everything that you are suddenly noticing is enlarged in your mind's eye.
You know, it's my, my heart is racing, my, my breath is shallow, all of these things. And it's because we are so consumed in our own heads and so aware of ourself, but what makes the difference is if you have the skillset and the confidence to know that you're doing it well, and you don't need to worry about that side of things, then you are free to do be yourself.
And it, when you're out of your own head you can be the most confident and the most free ad ironically the most natural and authentic, and that is what your audience is going to see, and that's what they're going to relate to. And that's why they're going to connect to you and to your message.
There is definitely an element of practice. However, this is one of these things that frustrates me no end, because everywhere, if you, if you look online or you read an article or you get advice from someone about public speaking, somebody is going to say, just practice, just do it scared and just keep on practicing until you're more comfortable with it.
But, but for me, I find that incredibly frustrating and misguiding, because practicing something over and over and over sure, sooner or later, you're going to get to the point where you've done it 10 million times so you're naturally going to be feeling a bit less nervous and a little bit more comfortable, but yeah if you haven't learned to do it well, then all you're doing is doing it without maybe feeling quite as nervous about it. And that's actually not the solution. It doesn't help your audience in the slightest.
Well for Steve jobs, for example, for him, the biggest thing that made the difference was that he not only passionately believed in the ideas and, and his own vision and, um, the technology and all that, but it was that he believed that it was valuable to the audience. And he was presenting that, and that is what made him good to listen to. It's what made him authentic.And then if you're outside of your own head enough that you are free to express properly and clearly, and your passion can come out and your personality can come out then all of those things work together and actually make it an effective message that your audience is able to connect with.
Well, there are actually quite a few things that you just mentioned there. Um, voice speed and the power of the pause, and also the idea about you being passionate about something and how well you know your content.
All of those things are covered it in the rewards drama training as well. All of them are in the basic skillset that an actor and director are taught. Because if you know the basic skillset, if you go and you study all the things like your voice speed and you know how to utilize your voice properly, not only your speed, but your enunciation and your inflection, your volume and varying it and why and when and how and all that sort of thing. As well as things like the power of the pause, why you use it when to use it, how it is actually so valuable. And there are a couple of things in the pause.
Firstly, it makes people, perhaps if they've, you know, tuned out just a teeny bit. It makes people subconsciously instantly snap back to attention because it breaks it up and the brain automatically goes, oh, okay, something something's happening or something's about to happen and I need to pay attention. It also adds weight to something that you've just said. So if you're delivering, you know, a key line in the address that you want to make sure people hear and understand, you want to let people have a couple of seconds for it to sink in and feel the weight of what you've just said and really take it in.
The other thing it does is it helps the brain just catch up a little bit. Your audience's brain I'm talking about here, yeah. But, um, but if you give them a few seconds, then they can catch up with your last point, digest it, process it, and be ready for the next one. And in a global world, this is even more important because everybody has a different accent to you. And sometimes your brain needs just that little bit extra time to actually decipher things properly.
I had a client a while ago, use this analogy and I've totally stolen it from, um, they said it when we were going through the training and I was explaining all the different aspects and kind of giving it overview and they were like, wow, there's just so much in there and they were feeling a little bit overwhelmed. And so we talked about the fact that you, if you learn all of these skills, that all feel like individual things and then you bring them together and once you've done that, and then you'll utilizing them together and you’re practicing it together and actually making it all work after a bit of time, it comes together and feels completely natural.
And their analogy they came up with then was. Oh, I get it. It's like when you start learning to drive a manual car, when you first start learning to drive, it's like pay attention to the gear and that involves the clutch. Okay. And all, and the brain and the accelerator and wait. What about things like indicating what about things? Head check. What about position? Where am I on the road? Where is everyone else.
And it just feels like so many things. You fast forward to five years later, and I can guarantee that you're going to be changing gears and prattling on to whoever's in the car, listening to the radio, whatever you're doing and not even thinking about it. And the reason is you've learned all of those individual skills. You understand how they work together and now you are doing it so well and so competently that you can do it without thinking, and you can actually focus on the other things and be present in that moment. And being present in that moment is one of the most important things, obviously to being authentic and reaching your audience.
These skills translate into every area. If you were in a meeting in a room of five people, you can still utilize all of these things. And once you have it, you've got it for life. You can use it in everything. And as you say, it really is a valuable essential skill.
I was reading an article the other day, actually, again, everyone at the moment is talking about interpersonal skills and soft skills being so much more important even to the point that people are starting to hire people who have good soft skills over the people that have the degrees simply because they know this person is going to be a valuable member of the team and the company, whatever it is and I'm actually going to be able to work with them. They're going to actually be able to get the job done.
It's just mind blowing. That such an essential skill is being left out of our training and our schools and our university system, because the reality is especially these days and especially with the digital aspect of it, we need to be able to communicate well.
We need to be able to present our ideas effectively. We need to be able to reach our clients, our audience, our board, the public, whoever it is, we need to be able to do that. And every single person these days, you know, you, can't kind of get away with being, you know, the tech genius in the background anymore. You need to be able to present. You need to be able to express your ideas and make other people understand it.
And so many people who come to my training to begin with, they have the idea that, um, they need to put on a persona, that they need to be somebody else. And particularly because I talk about, you know, it's the actor’s skillset sometimes, you know, your brain automatically goes to that. But I explained to him, no, actually it's the exact opposite. What it is, what this training does is give you the skills to be you well, to present who you are, your ideas, be authentic and get it across in a way that people are going to be able to hear and understand it.
So, so when I'm taking, taking people through this training, giving people the gift of you and your personality, your worth, your voice, your weakness, who you are as a person is more than enough, and you don't need to change who you are. That's not what we're doing here. What we're doing is giving you the skillset so that you can confidently be who you are and be proud to be who you are. No one else can be you. No one else has your voice. No one else has your passion and your ideas. And the world needs everybody.
He who makes the most noise wins. As sad as that may be to some of us that are quieter and like to just quietly, you know, chunk away and do the job.
It's not that you need to be making a lot of noise and be showy or, you know, as we just covered be someone or a personality that is not your own. What matters is that people know about you. If people don't know about you and they don't understand what it is that you do or you are offering, or you can contribute, then how are they going to do anything about it? They are going to go with whoever is out there making the noise, because that's all that they see. That's the only choice that they have.
And that's another reason why it's so important. If you want to be heard, you need to actually be heard, you know, it makes all the difference in the world if you feel like you have the skills and the knowledge to do this and to do it well, and to be confident in your ability to share your message and make sure that you are there to serve your audience. That just makes all the difference in every single area.
Stage, camera, in the room, in the meeting, pitching to a board, retaining your employees, sharing your passion, talking to the media, the press, just whatever it may be in any area. You've got to have that skill and you've got to be confident in yourself and know you're doing it well.