Step Four – The Leading Edge of Your Confidence is Your Public Persona.
By Eric Stone
Context and Premise: Audiences are people too! If fear of public speaking is for the most part experienced as “real” on one side of the footlights, it is also real on the other. We rarely think of audiences being afraid when it is our turn to give that speech, answer a question or sing a song. An audience is always actively passive, and bravely experiences whatever is taking place. An audience literally absorbs and goes through all that the speaker or actor experiences, though not necessarily aware of it.
An audience loves to be passive. When I watch a good movie in the dark, I feel safe and comfortable being passive, and, at the same time, I have access to the full range of my emotions and power of analysis. Speakers, actors and communicators ought to be more aware of the good news that it represents. An audience is like a sponge, and you, are the “stuff” being absorbed physically, emotionally and intellectually.
As mentioned before, speakers deal with performance issues. At the stage of collective awareness we currently operate from, there are four main realms of experience through which we are perceived, interpreted and categorized by others: what we do, what we say, what we feel and what we think or believe is our reality. How we consciously and subconsciously stage those four things literally determines who we are to others. They represent the master design keys to build our credibility and personal power.
Greek tragedy and comedy performers all wore masks or personalities so the folks could not only identify with them, but create their own personal mythology through it. When giving a speech or presentation, you are being viewed through an interpretive mechanism that cannot be helped. You are viewed through the eye or optical viewpoint of the theatrical experience. You personal, social or private self cannot be identified readily when you are in the limelight. Who we are personally disappears in the public atmosphere, and needs to be replaced by a solid “persona.”
You cannot afford to work without a metaphorical mask. Create a persona so audiences can identify with you, trust you and relax in your presence. The persona you create does not have to be different from who you are, but perhaps accent the best of your qualities. Most people can experience embarrassment when they are in public. To explore yourself in public is a wonderful opportunity to grow past limiting self-beliefs and also expand as a human being.
Being in public is heightened living. The more important the outcome of our communications, the more heightened our presence must be! You could also argue very convincingly that who we are is a complex collection of repeated behavior learned over time. If your sense of yourself is heightened, it shall be noticed as such. Your content shines through the “public persona” channel that the speaker allows.
A good speaker is a good actor, and a good actor understands the importance of character, which is a mask for the occasion. Arm yourself with a good mask. Pretend you are bigger than you are, stand taller, display that confidence you’ve always seen yourself display, go the extra mile. It’s a game you cannot afford not to play. Frankly, it is the only access to making your speeches and presentations stand out.
A persona has an identity made up of qualities such as warm, open, clear, knowledgeable, personable, confident, genuine, sophisticated, etc…This relates to the human being interacting with the audience. You serve and honor an audience by creating a 3D persona. Public speaking is a borrowed convention. We did not invent a new game! The content is different than theatre and, granted, rarely dramatic but nevertheless to my audience, I AM THE ACTOR.
Persona in action. There are Physical, Emotional and Psychological dimensions active at all times in communication. A speaker becomes visible once the qualities of their PERSONA have been identified and activated though attitude, actions, gestures and handling of the room, material and the audience. A quality is either a noun or an adjective that defines you to yourself. Strong, present and professional. Astute, knowledgeable and relaxed. Clear, entertaining and solid. Authoritative, presidential and caring.
Begin to see and experience the audience through the persona you established for yourself. It begins to act as a filtering mechanism and its technical term is Point of View or POV. They are established in action, through what we do moment to moment. POV is the angle from which you qualify the occurring world that comes at you. It is your “take” on everything that is happening. When activated, people only see the Point of View of your persona in relationship to the various dynamics at play. For instance, a speaker has a POV about who they are, the audience, the relationship they have with them, how the presentation is going, the details and the content of the material presented, the outcome, etc…
POV is the leading edge of your performance, speech or presentation. It is determined by your choice of mask or qualities, which make up your public persona. It applies to all communication situations. It literally determines who you are in the minds and hearts of your audiences.
If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or if you wish to comment, feel free to contact me on my cell at (818) 486-3395 or go to my contact page by clicking Here!
Wishing you continued success,
“On-demand, World-Class Training for High Impact
Speeches, Presentations & Media Appearances.”
(310) 205-9219(Office) ~ email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 Speakers & Artists International, Inc.