Joey’s comment, ‘Why are you staring at the paper?’ causes Ross to stare like a madman at his audience – to stalk with his eyes. It’s extreme and extremely funny, so here’s my in-between tip: if you are speaking on screen, look straight into the eye of the camera for 10 seconds at a time. You are looking into the audience’s eyes – so do it with a (gentle) smile. Smile with your eyes. Allow yourself to look away from the camera to your notes, your face or the faces of others, but keep pivoting back to the camera.
Albert Mehrabian says 55% of what we present is body language, 38% tonality and 7% content. Here, Sully’s 55% is phenomenal! How do you get it? Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk Your body language may shape who you are and discover how to do super cool power poses. In short: stand somewhere private before you speak in a meeting or before you switch on your camera, and lift your arms up high, or out to your side for two minutes. It releases a hormone in your body that makes you feel great and will give you Sully-type confidence!
When we were children we were natural-born presenters – we knew how to present, we told stories unashamedly, we were told ‘inside voice only.’ Then we became teenagers. We felt exposed, we became very aware of our bodies and we hid. Then the smartphone came in and we stopped using our actual voices and started tapping and slouching even more...a bit like Kevin in this clip. But what would it look like to learn to stand tall again, to breathe in and to actually use our voices? All we need is training, technique and practise. The BEST way to do this is to practise the first 30 seconds of your next presentation as an over-excited children’s presenter. Use your arms to describe your words, use your voice to show your excitement. Let it be over the top. Then, re-present those 30 seconds as ‘normal’. You will have imbibed the energy of the kid’s presenter into your whole being and you will present with much more joy and clarity. You will have conquered the Kevin effect!
This scene makes me cry with laughter every time I watch it. From the moment Bridget shouts ‘Oi!’ she is doomed. We have all had ‘Oi’ moments – or sought desperately to avoid them – and sometimes when we start, horrible things happen to us and overtake us. But if we start with a headline, and keep speaking in headlines – short, sharp, insightful sentences – then everything changes. According to Daniel Kahneman (who won a Nobel Prize for his work on the brain and how it works) short sentences make us trustworthy.
When I coach in-person I do an exercise asking people to walk around the room and fill the space like they are spreading butter. To begin with, everyone clumps together, and eventually they start to come out of themselves and own the space. In this clip, Robin Williams uses this exercise to encourage his students not to conform. In telling your story, in being creative, in having a strong beginning, middle and end you will find your own walk, your own flow. Speak in short sentences and you will stand out and not conform to boring presentations. Yes, it will be awkward initially – just like in the movie – but you will get incredible results. People will actually listen to you!
Aladdin (disguised as Prince Ali) is trying to win Jasmine, the Genie has made him into a prince, he has shown up with great fanfare and he is TOTALLY unprepared. Watch this very, very funny and painful scene as time and time again he can’t finish his sentences, he interrupts...he over-talks. The solution? Practise, practise, practise your opener – practise your first 30 seconds, but practise delivering it, with a smile and with energy. Then when you actually do it, your body will remember. It will be on your side rather than against you.
My first website used to say: ‘You know The King’s Speech? We do that.’ I LOVE LOVE LOVE this scene. Apart from the rolling on the floor, I have done and recommend every single one of these exercises. And just like Queen Elizabeth joins in with him, finding a trusted friend/partner to help you overcome your speaking fears will hugely accelerate your growth. If you want to get really good, watch my One-Minute Warm Up and do that exercise every day for a month. See what happens.
Like any great project, The Greatest Showman was at one point just an idea. Hugh Jackman’s Hollywood star power got it so far, but, to be greenlit, the investors – who would pour $84,000,000 into it – had to be convinced it would be a box office hit. To get the greenlight, the cast had to show the investors the magic. Literally everything was at stake. This moment would make or break the project. Have you ever had one of those moments? Keala Settle hadn’t sung the song ‘This Is Me’ without a music stand before, she hadn’t choreographed it or considered what might need to happewn to bring it to life. Sometimes, the moment brings the magic. There is no glamour, no makeup, but real, raw commitment. Like Keala, everyone in business is pitching for their life all the time. Don’t give up and don’t stay behind the music stand. Keep pitching! This moment moved the investors to say ‘Yes’ and it paid off: The Greatest Showman grossed $435 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-grossing live-action musical film of all time. Who do you need to convince this year?