We don’t learn how to perform after attending a single workshop. We don’t learn how to do that even after ten workshops. People who perform well, learn for a longer period of time. However, the good news is that you can learn this skill every day, for free. I will show you how to do so in this article.
Just like no one expects to master ballet or martial arts after a weekend, there also are no shortcuts when it comes to performing in front of a crowd. It requires experience, either in form of a raised hand in a packed hall, sensing your heart beating faster when merely asking a question. In time, we tend to get used to all of this and the effect of stage fright diminishes. How often do you decide to expose yourself by giving a speech at a family dinner? The simple act of standing up and sharing an experience can be a great start. It is however true that some people find this easier than others. They seem to have better predispositions or a superior genetic background. Nevertheless, according to my experience, it is the practice that makes all the difference. The more I practice, the better I get. The best part of this is that I can start at any time.
In the beginning, I don’t even need an audience. I can begin observing my speech while having coffee with a friend. I can check whether I use too many fillers, pauses or accents. I can pay attention to how well my sentences are structured? Are they short and clear, or do I drift away and constantly jump from one topic to another? Am I able to get my partner excited about a film that I watched last week? How do introduce a new topic? I’m also interested in body language. Do I stand with crossed legs? What should I do when I’m not interested in the topic? How do people close to me “act” around me? Who am I happy to listen to and who not and what does that person use?
Observing others and yourself is the first step. Taking notes of conclusions is the second one. Once I gather good information, (e.g., I immediately gain interest in a topic if someone tells me what they gained from it) I can attempt to prepare my speech. If I liked the trailer for a film my partner showed me, I can insert a video in relation to my subject. This is how I put things together and do research. I can perform in front of my neighbour, aunt, housemate, cousin or a friend. I gather feedbacke from their impressions and make progress in delivery of my performance.
Learning public performance can therefore be free of charge. Observation and taking notes are two main keys to successful learning.
Join us on the journey to a superior communication!