“All the world’s a stage” said William Shakespeare. Turns out we’re all actors playing multiple roles in our business and the better job we do “acting” in each of these roles, the more deeply we’ll connect with other people, says Steal the Show author Michael Port.
On the surface, thinking of yourself as an actor playing a role sounds like I’m asking you to fake it, to be someone you’re not. Actually, it’s just the opposite.
Today's guest, Michael Port, is a New York Times best-selling author, professional speaker, and former TV and movie actor. Michael wrote a book titled, Steal the Show, where he talks about how to apply the methods of top actors to, “connect with, inspire, and persuade any audience.”
In today's show, you'll learn how to use actor tools such as honesty, rehearsal, blocking, and silence to own the stage and deeply connect with your audience.
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Here are five methods Michael shared with me that can help you perform better, connect more deeply with your clients and prospects, and Steal the Show.
1. Be more honest.
Michael said the greatest performers are able to connect emotionally with their audience because they are the most authentic, the most honest. Rather than having the “mechanics” of performing down pat, top performers have tremendous self-awareness and can stay in the moment while communicating. This self-awareness enables the performer to “connect with the audience based on what's actually happening in the room in that moment,” said Michael. “Good performance is authentic behavior in a manufactured environment." It’s about bringing more of who you are to the stage, not a fake persona.
2. Spend more time rehearsing.
Bad performers rehearse and then when it comes time to perform, “They try to reach back a week or a few days to remember what they did in rehearsal and then repeat it,” said Michael. By contrast, top performers, “Know their material well enough to be able to throw it away as soon as they walk on stage, so that what they rehearsed comes to them organically and happens for the first time. They're not trying to repeat an experience that happened before.” When you know your material this well, it flows naturally and doesn’t appear “rehearsed.”
3. “Block” your moves.
Blocking describes your movement when performing—“where you go, when you go there, and why you go there.” Lacking awareness of your blocking is, “One of the quickest ways to have an audience disconnect from you or see you as weak on the stage,” said Michael. By intentionally planning your blocking, “Not only does it paint the picture for the audience that helps them consume the content, but it also helps you command the stage. You own the room, you own the stage, you are in control of your body, so you have a physical presence that's powerful.”
4. Embrace the power of silence.
Think back to the last time you heard a powerful speaker. Chances are they strategically used the power of silence to make a point, to let that point sink in with the audience. To dramatize the power of silence, Michael went silent on my podcast for “3 beats,” and let me tell you, it felt like eternity! He said for speakers who are not comfortable physically on the stage, a 3 beat pause “feels like minutes.” Rehearsal and blocking can turn you into a master of the silent pause.
5. Connect to your audience’s “why.”
Advisors often give informational or educational presentations. But if you want to really connect with your audience, you have to tap into their “real why.” When you know this, then you have to “strive for, drive to, fight for, do everything you can to achieve that objective for your audience.” As Michael said, “Information is only interesting to us if it brings us closer to something that's really important.” But you have to know what that really important “why” is in order to shape your performance and connect to it.
Michael Port on how to Steal the Show...
You need to connect with the audience and move them to think differently, to feel differently, or to act differently. If you can do that then you'll Steal the Show.
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