During my classical music days, I did some research for a paper on stage fright. It can actually be a debilitating thing for some performers who otherwise are brilliant musicians. In more extreme cases medication can be used, but there is a considerable debate about how that might influence the performance. Even Adele sometimes gets physically ill before a performance.
The lesson I took from my research is that not everyone is a natural performer, but that doesn’t mean they are not a great thinker, musician, or writer.
This article from Business Insider by James Altucher provides some great tips that will improve the performance of almost any public speaker. I read a lot of these kinds of “improve your public speaking” articles, but most of them don’t really offer any thing new. In 11 Unusual Methods For Being A Great Public Speaker Altucher provides some very unique suggestions like ‘very slightly’ slurring your words to fool your brain into being in that one-glass-of-wine relaxed state that makes your presentation more natural. I have no idea if that would work, but I can’t wait to try!
Some of the other tips fit into the ‘standard, but I can’t believe how many people still don’t do this’ category. Like #4 “I try to use JUST one word plus one image per page”. After years of PowerPoint best practices books and articles, it kills me when speakers still throw up (and I use that phrase advisedly) a slide with enough text to fill a textbook page! Dude! No one wants to read the same words you are saying! And your picture is boring!
I am not a big fan of the format of this article, which is a sequence of ‘slides’ you have to click through to read, but this one was worth it. And given that it was about presentations and Altucher talks about slides several times, it works.
Worth a read.
Want to read more about performance? Read my articles on improv and business!
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