Performance Tips: Preparing for Success

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”

– Henry Ford

 

In March 2016, Louise Ashcroft, a performance expert who works with Ludic Creatives to coach leadership teams and high-level executives in FTSE 100 organizations, shared tips for captivating an audience while on stage.

Knowing what to do when you’re on stage is half the equation. Preparation is the other half.

Louise once again sat down with us to share tips that will help you invite success by getting in the zone to give a speech, pitch or presentation.

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, voice and preparing your mindset so that when you are on stage, you are in a place to focus your attention on the audience and genuinely connect with them.

Know Your Intent

The 'why' is where you and the audience meet

Supercharge your performance by getting clear on the intention. 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 build a rapport with the audience, rapidly. 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.

Shoes

Build success from the ground up

Shoes hold the weight of our body and it's tension and therefore influences our posture. If you've rehearsed in a particular pair of shoes (for example casual shoes) and then wear a different pair of shoes 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.

Get Out of Your Head

Be in the moment

Self-auditing a performance mid-speech or presentation means that we've stepped out of the moment by putting all our attention on ourself, rather than the audience. Stepping out of the moment reduces our ability to influence and inspire because the connection to the audience has been frayed. Often it is our inner critic that drives us there. Here's five simple things to handle your inner critic, shift mindset and get back in the moment:

  1. On the day and during rehearsal, give your inner critic the day off, and tell yourself a better story, one where you are the hero.
  2. Focus on the “why” in your speech and connect back up.
  3. Find a song that helps centre you. Mentally play it as you wait to go on and as your enter the stage or room. Have fun with this and find your soundtrack to success.
  4. During performance, immediately put your attention back on the audience.
  5. Develop a 'Yes Let's' attitude to stay in the moment. An actor rehearses so 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, accept it with a 'Yes Let's' and move on. 

Ultimately, the secret, I think, 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 invite success.

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