Context and premise. Tomorrow is a word on my mind and a concept I think about every day without paying much attention to it. We all live under the strange notion that tomorrow actually exists and that it will indeed come, when? Tomorrow! The inescapable realization that everything that has ever happened to me always happened in a now present has affected me profoundly. Nothing ever happens tomorrow.

Life and countless events keep occurring but they always happen in a now time-space field. I may remember the past but when it happened, it happened in this constant now energy field. We can go as far as saying that the only constant is this now-moment. I have been calling it the now-moment to distinguish it as the true context of all things on this plane. The past is mostly selective memory and the future is imagination or speculation, as it hasn’t happened yet. We would be willing to bet that the sun will rise in the morning but we would only know that from memory, and for having seen or remembering so many past sun risings.

Most psychology is centered on the idea of ego, which Sigmund Freud invented. The self or ego, especially as distinct from the world and other selves, is considered a personal and separate self. In psychoanalysis, this separation of the psyche that is conscious most immediately controls thought and behavior. Duality is born out of this false sense of self that we believe to be real. The I that I think that I am is neither real nor tangible except in my thoughts. My senses, body sensations, feelings, thoughts, experiences, etc., all seem to be localized and happening to me. However, the “me” is always discreetly added.

If you continue on this path of inquiry scientifically, you come to realize that this “I” that I call me, is incapable of experiencing anything; it can only think about feelings whether pleasurable or painful. Furthermore, if it thinks about something, the feelings are now in the past. Yesterday, tomorrow and I, are the biggest myths of existence. Why such committed pursuit of tomorrow and how does this apply to communication and public speaking? According to psychologist Burt Harding, this “I” (me) is the greatest illusion man has ever known. It wreaks havoc in our lives and robs us of much needed direction and joyous experiencing.

When we feel something it is feeling that is happening NOT “me feeling”. The me is a witness not the actor. As a matter of fact, when we are completely absorbed in a task such as listening to music, writing or watching a movie, etc., we become completely transparent. All that remains is the experiencing without an “I” to remember. All experiencing is total. The minute I bring “me” into it there comes a split between the experience and the experiencer (me), and the now-moment is gone. Self-consciousness is always rooted in that split between experience and thinking about the experience. It is the most important aspect of relieving tension in public speaking.

There is now-moment experiencing and remembered living. When I remember living there is no experiencing, just brain activity at the cellular level that activates what has already happened in the form of imagery. In the context of the now-moment, all that is happening is in perfect synch and harmony. I like to call it surrendered living. The process has switched from memory to total experiencing. What is surrendered is the idea of a me as well as the surrender of the fear of not knowing what is going to happen next. Worrying about the future is a mind phenomena; it is a learnt process. In surrendered living there is no concern for tomorrow or the mystery of life. The best moments of our human existence are experienced; they are never remembered.

The connection to public performance of any kind is obvious. All public speaking is experiential in nature. It means it is not a mind process like math. Memory is only useful to facilitate fuller experiencing like remembering where you put your plane ticket before you go on a trip. When it tries to replace experiencing or take it hostage, all falls short. It’s like trying to fall in love with someone you just met from memory. Your mind may think it can because it remembers love experiences from the past but it is incapable of creating an experience.

Nirvana for speakers and performers is the simplicity of living in the present moment, empty of the past or the future.

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me on my cell at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page by clicking here!

Posted in Reflections on Empowerment | Leave a comment

Context and premise. Is it accurate to assert that communication is the true medium of our human interactions? Is evolution conceivable without communication? After all, great prophets, religious figures, artistic or political movements grew in strength and recognition through the articulation and communication of ideas. All great ideas have to be communicated to give them wings.

On an evolutionary scale, the need to communicate gave us the capacity to speak by expressing sounds, without which it would be unfathomable to imagine recorded history and all the myriads of advancements that followed. Therefore, communication through its various modes and means acts as a medium, which facilitates the accomplishment of our everyday wishes, goals, visions and aspirations.

Communication permeates everything we do and it literally confirms who we are; it validates it, otherwise why would we attempt to communicate with what we see, hear, touch and feel? We contemplate things around us every moment of the day. We are constantly initiating actions in the direction of objects and people around us. When we do not receive communication back, we usually get concerned or worried, and according to countless studies we can trace lack of communication to forms of anxiety, schizophrenia, neurosis and other mental illnesses. Therefore, we can safely assert that a great deal of our well-being depends on good communication.

At birth, there is only pure being–a state of bliss, which is strangely enough a state of permanent communication with everything. Nothing is missing and we are at peace and one with everything. We come into the world with permanent affinity and relatedness: two cornerstones for understanding the world we live in.

As ego develops, so does a sense of separation and isolation. The world is now seen as out there and as having to prove one’s existence to others and the world. We begin to experience a break or drop from our natural and graceful state without understanding why. Fueled by all forms of pressure, the focus is now on thinking out strategies to achieve success. We seem to be spending our lives trying to reconnect with that original state of being and perfect communication model.  We live for the tomorrow that never quite arrives.

Accomplishment is both a function and a matter of effective communication. Growth and development are also functions of communication. Communication brings about the animation of our behavior patterns, which in turn bring about the animation of the pursuit of goals through all the clever means we employ. It is the attempt to communicate that brings about the world we live in, day in and day out. Communication sets things in motion as it literally organizes our behavior and ultimately generates the results we all seek to produce!

The Trinity of accomplishment: (1) Growth and Development, (2) Results and (3) Satisfaction. Well-being is intimately connected to having a well-deserved or earned sense of satisfaction with what we do and whom we are with. Paradoxically, we habitually and sometimes obsessively cultivate results ethics at the expense of satisfaction. It is all about results and the pressure of achievement with very little concern for personal growth, healthy development and hence, genuine satisfaction.

Our capacity for gratification and pleasure is highly dependent on our ultimate intentions and process in communication. If satisfaction is merely a hope, then it has no chance to manifest. Conversely, if satisfaction becomes a clear intention we will take more time to evaluate not only the opportunities that come our way but how we respond to these opportunities.

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing public speaking, performance or communication skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me directly at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page: click here

Posted on by Eric and Amy Stone | Leave a comment

The Role of the Mind in Performance

Context and Premise: Since early childhood, pressure is something we are all too familiar with. Pressure to achieve, succeed, win, control, restrain, behave, please, earn a living, attain status, look good, thrive, prove or feel that we are worthy one way or another, etc. Most people also experience various forms of pressure when being presented with an opportunity or assignment to speak. Pressure also affects performers within varied disciplines and art forms.

There are essentially two types of pressure that dominate the scene: mental and emotional. Mental or emotional pressure can be experienced as nervousness, anxiety, concern, worry, excessive thinking, irregular heart rate, dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, choking sensations, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, chest pain, blurred vision, numbness, muscle pains or spasms, sadness, shaking, nausea, fatigue, weakness, confusion, inability to concentrate, etc.

Even in situations that appear relatively safe, if the mind interprets it as unsafe or having to prove something, the body will responds to that mind decision and create a split. If we become mentally involved with thoughts of a past event, the body may respond as though those events were taking place now and rob us of our ability to stay present. Analogously, when you watch a good movie in the dark you feel safe and comfortable; you are being willingly vulnerable mentally and emotionally. Consequently, you have access to the full range of your emotions and you will experience various degrees of pressure symptoms there too.

We underestimate the power of the mind to create pressure and disrupt the natural flow of our expression. Many people shy away from speaking in public or from leadership opportunities because they were never taught the proper strategies to build trust and confidence. As much as the body with all its organs and complexities knows how to function beautifully without the intervention of the mind, the same goes when we perform the act of speaking in public. Can you imagine if the mind had to remind the heart to beat? That’s all you would have time for. The mind is a watching mechanism when it comes to public and professional arenas. It is the most profound and yet completely overlooked principles.

We usually try to quiet the mind or shut it off completely instead of telling it the role that it must play. Let your body do the talking and let the mind watch. The mind will gladly feed you the presentation content so that it can continue to watch. As a decision maker, the mind will always ruin your genuine public speaking efforts. The strategy is to wait while anchored in the magical comfort of your body, its sensations and all physical elements present. Wait until the body feels anchored, safe and ready to respond. Athletes know that. If the mind were doing the running we would not need bodies. The art of relaxation is letting the body take over so the mind can become the watcher and, in turn, relax. It is the only way for the mind to relax.

Public speaking is infinitely closer to a sport than it is to intellectual gymnastics. Eight out of ten people struggle to trust their bodies, mostly in the form of an honest mistake for not knowing where to anchor and what to trust. To trust yourself is to trust your body. It is your only competitive advantage against mental and emotional pressure. Do you feel like taking your body for a test drive next time you speak?

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me directly at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page: click here!

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Strategic Keys to Powerful Communication by Eric Stone

Context and premise. Speakers, communicators and business leaders all aspire to deliver key communications, speeches and presentations with a genuine sense of ease, power and freedom. As globalization continues to act as a powerful context and asserts its new atmosphere, the empowerment of business professionals is more than ever a fundamental strategic consideration.

The artificial nature of our communication and public speaking situations demands a constantly renewed understanding of what it means to get our messages across.

Leadership, accountability, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, personal power, superior communication skills, open-mindedness, inspiration, motivation and so on…become the new “must” required qualities to thrive in the new century.

The strength of communication power draws a great deal of its energy from role playing. The performing arts, specifically stage acting, staging and directing are culturally embedded in all of us. The only difference between a speaker and an actor is that an actor is expected and paid to go through an emotional and transformational experience in front of our eyes. A speaker, leader or communicator remains outside of those emotional demands but deals with identical performance issues just the same.

From this perspective alone, everyone is profoundly unique in his or her style and approach.

·      Strengthen Confidence and Trust. Strengthen your confidence and trust in yourself while speaking in front of groups. All communications must be anchored in the right ground and the right tools. There are physical, emotional and psychological anchors. While some forward your action, others spell disaster. Make sure you work from the right anchors. This is your competitive edge.

·      Remove Blocks to Speaking in Front of Groups. Learn to remove unwanted blocks and obstacles from interactions where communication and speaking is key. Remember that we are not afraid of fear itself but of what people will either think, say or do to us if we fail. We can spend a lifetime avoiding having people to say or think negative things to us. Conquering our fears can be a powerful and rewarding experience impossible to trade for any other.

·      Discover your Natural Ability to Engage Others Effectively. You discover your natural ability to engage your audience or listeners with ease, power and strong intentionality by making yourself receptive to others.

·      Stage fright will subside dramatically as you deal with it. Stage fright has several sources. Being in public subconsciously evokes exposure to ridicule, emptiness, the unknown, and meaninglessness. This confronts us as we are called upon to communicate, present, and perform. Accepting the challenge to confront what confronts us is the access. Acquiring good skills helps us claim our territory in front of a group and inspire respect.

·      Service and Empowerment. Audiences love to be served well and feel empowered by a presenter. A good speaker creates a safe space for an audience to participate in and experience a worthwhile event. There is a vast difference between convincing and empowering, coercing and serving or forcing and inspiring. Capitalize on your ability to empower and serve others. Say goodbye to manipulation techniques and instead build on the courage to stand for what you are communicating.

·      Charismatic and Commanding Presence. By focusing on service and contribution, you will come across not only confident and credible but commanding and charismatic. By getting in touch directly with your strong intentions, they will act as genuine sources of behavior and effectiveness. Remember that people read or feel your intentions over words and sentences.

·      Discover Innovative Listening Power. Listening is a skill and an art. It’s not how or why we listen but to what. We too often interpret and judge words or attitudes, rather than get what people are “intending” to communicate to us. There lies the power. Once I stop listening to myself interpret, I begin to hear them.

·      Stay Present and Connect to your Audience. You’ll discover the power of being present and genuinely connect with your audience. If you can be present with people, they will pay you back 1000-fold.

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me directly at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page: click here

Wishing you continued success,

Eric Stone

Eric Stone’s biography and methodology ~   See all articles by clicking here!

“On-demand, World-Class Training for High Impact
Speeches, Presentations & Media Appearances.”

(310) 205-9219(Office) ~

Copyright © 2010 Speakers & Artists International, Inc.

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How to Create Credible & Powerful First Impressions! By Eric Stone

Context and premise. The subject of credibility is at the heart of the matter of both successful presentations and effective communications. Something is credible to the degree that it is worthy of belief. Hence, credibility can generate the possibility of reliability on the speaker, the information presented and the style of delivery. Put simply, we cannot trust something we have not found credible.

Often, a speaker or an actor for that matter is not 100% clear on what is credible about him or her. Conversely, it is also important to consider what is less credible about ourselves. For instance, excellent skills are primary credibility builders.

Here are other examples: appropriate postures, gestures and voice tone, solid eye contact, choice of words, good diction, elegant speech pattern and rhythm, clear intentions, strong focus, absence of hesitation, clear presentation design, clever dress attire, impeccable preparation, responsiveness to the audience, strong acknowledgement of the audience, superior attention to detail, willingness to command attention, good sense of timing, seamless handling of power point or other supporting materials, a relaxed body, good breathing, strong desire to stay grounded, strong command of the stage, flawless movements and coordination, healthy appetite to be heard, seen and understood, ability to create a comfortable atmosphere, etc.

These “credibility builders” act as formidable allies and open channels for our intended purposes. Core message, branding, market advantage, reputation, vision, customer satisfaction, etc., all rely on “perceived credibility.” The overall integrity of a speech or presentation is imbedded in these filters.

Here is the punch line: all these wonderful and potent credibility builders happen 15 seconds or so before you begin and 15 seconds or so after your first sentence, posture and gesture. Everything is decided within that narrow time frame. Think of it as the first impression which typically is the one that sticks.

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me directly at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page: click here

Wishing you credible success,

Eric Stone

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The Art of Speaking is the Art of Pausing by Eric Stone

Context and Premise: Very often, good speaking is viewed as a verbal art form. Elocution, diction, and modulation, to only name a few elements, are believed to be the obvious and essential ingredients to a good speech, communication or presentation.

With verbal power comes the undeniable importance of skills in the arenas of intentions, staging, presence, experience and message. All these aspects have two dynamics in common: space and time. On a practical level, time is punctuated by silence or pauses. Firing content at an audience or in a one-on-one conversation spells disaster and can be very annoying.

The art of speaking is the art of pausing.

Every verbal communication has a rhythm and a tempo, very much like music does. A happy balance between sound and silence creates harmony in music. That is what creates the mood of a musical piece and that of all verbal communications. Spoken language is organized and governed by time (rhythm, phrasing, and pauses) and by melody (pitch, intonation, and inflection.)

The silence or pause is an interruption of the sound. Without it, there would either only be sound or nothing at all. Individuals and audiences alike feel, think, and listen during the pause. Ideas are grasped at the pause or during the silence of communication. People who communicate successfully verify at each pause if their message is getting across. They adjust based on what they find at the pause. It is impossible to listen to anything that contains no pause or silence. It is so obvious one could not even put it to the test.

Pauses are the oxygen of all verbal communications, from one-on-one chitchat to full-scale great speeches or performances. Pausing, therefore, is the art of creating silence so people can understand the meaning of what you are doing and saying. In my view, it is essential to understand pausing as the ultimate technique to get your messages and ideas across.

In addition, people cannot hear you when you speak but only when you stop speaking; it is the “interruption that creates the possibility of understanding.” I find that assertion very amusing because most people want to become better speakers. Well, if you become a better “pauser”, you’ll be a better speaker. The two are intimately connected.

All pauses are pregnant with content. You can intimidate with pauses, or you can impact tactfully with them. It is more than a craft. Watch people who pause a lot and, consequently, hold your attention. It is because they pause intentionally. The truth of any relationship is lodged in the silence between two people. What takes place in the silence is incredibly revealing. When you send e-mail to someone, and they do not write back after they receive it, it creates “communication in the silence.” More is said in the silence or subtext in communication situations than in the speaking. The speaking shines as a consequence of the pauses; therefore, the art of pause is the true engine behind all successful communications.

Silence is a controlling mechanism, but when used properly, it will command anyone’s attention within moments. We’ve all been in situations where we are being stared down or sized up. I’d like to bring to your attention that it feels doubly awkward when nothing is said during those friendly controlling “procedures.” That’s what makes them difficult to bear.

How do I practice the art of pause? By listening actively at every pause you intentionally make. One listens, sustains, and contemplates at pauses. One listens to: impact, mood, thoughts, feelings, adjustments to be made, etc. It takes courage to listen to silence, but once you do consistently, you’ll find that all your questions are answered there. If you want to know how any relationship is going, listen to what is taking place in the silence. If you have the courage to confront the content of silence, you will become present to a whole new communication paradigm.

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills, feel free to contact me on my cell at (818) 486-3395 or by going to my web site.

Wishing you continued success,

Eric Stone

“On-demand, world-class training for high impact

Speeches, Presentations & Media Appearances.”


Copyright © 2009 Speakers & Artists International, Inc.

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How to Make Speaking with Confidence into a Way of Life by Eric Stone

Context and premise. As a coach you are clearly in the business of empowerment. As I continue my journey working with people of all walks of life, professional and cultural backgrounds, it has become undeniably obvious that possessing good public speaking skills is now the  “new must.” As far as I can tell it started to really pick up speed around 2003.

It is my conviction, that the digital age through globalization has sponsored and generated a new breed of individuals. Individuals who are searching for new creative and innovative ways to do their job more effectively and competitively. Excellent public speaking skills is at the heart of this trend. Surely, we all have noticed how much easier and cheaper it is to produce digital audio and video media. Technology is growing exponentially and we are at a point where it will never take a break.

As much as anyone can use a digital camera, not everyone can deliver a speech impeccably simply as a function of the age they live in. I will go as far as saying that new medias look so good technically that it often upstages the performances within the media itself. Hence, the urgency with which most clients seek my services over the past seven years or so. We dwell in an age where looking good is everything and packaging is key. However, you cannot fake what is “inside” the package. We can be fooled once but not twice.

I was one of those fortunate people who caught the last short decade when all the great giant acting, dance and performance teachers were still alive. I spent years studying in master classes with Uta Hagen, Herbert Berghof, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, and a few other master teachers well versed in ground breaking techniques (Meisner, Checkhov, Method, etc.) It changed my life forever.

One of the key elements they all shared and expressed passionately was the relationship between craft and life style. Put simply you can never be good, let alone great at something, until it becomes a way of life. There should be no difference between your “off-the-stage” life and your “on-the-stage” life. It should feel natural in both cases. All that depends on your willingness to integrate, in this case public speaking, as part of your daily or weekly repertoire of behaviors.

To most people, being in front of others is a daunting experience simply because it isn’t something they “do” regularly. As a long time recording artist and stage actor, I am always a bit apprehensive to put on my headphones or take that first step on stage; but I have long considered it my way of life. This is what I do! For instance and for the purpose of this article, a public speaker speaks in public, right?

I strongly invite you to consider this idea more carefully. It can literally alter your relationship to public speaking and communication as well. You obviously would not behave with your intimate friends the same way you would present in front of a large audience made up of potential investors; but you can develop a more natural appetite to manage your willingness to be there. Being natural has a lot to do with not making such a big deal out what is demanded of us within certain situations.

What do you think people expect of a good speaker or communicator? Please make a short list in your mind right now. If you can begin to enter a room full of people with the same abandon as entering your home, you’ll soon realize there need not be a difference. The difference is in our minds. You deal with whatever comes up in both situations and those are the only items that are distinct and handled contrastingly.

If you need coaching or know someone who could benefit from honing these skills or you wish to comment, feel free to contact me directly at (310) 205-9219 or go to my contact page: click here

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5 of Twelve Steps to Great Speaking and Communicating by Eric Stone

Step Five – Learn To Play In The Open.

By Eric Stone

Context and Premise: The public realm within which we deliver speeches, presentations or any kind of performance is an “open and highly visible realm.” It is very often what throws us off or creates anxiety, for we sense this high visibility but have not fully integrated it. The theatrical aspect of any speech or presentation is important to understand. The “space” as such, in which we present or speak is 3-D, experiential, ready for meaning, and more important open.

Is it so difficult to accept? Did you ever walk in early before your presentation when nobody is there yet? What frightens us is the demand the empty stage is making on us to fill it with life and presence. These aspects of “presentation life” if you will, need to be filled three-dimensionally. This is where your technique and skill set play a major role.

When I step in front of that group, armed only with my impeccable knowledge of the subject presented, is it a surprise that it often sounds flat, monotonous and lifeless? Audiences are instinctively riveted to delivery not content. Actions are louder than words. Your body, sense of grounding, breathing, postures, gestures, movement and willingness to belong to yourself are the “languaging” elements that hit an audience first and consistently.

A good speaker, communicator or actor, has to will him- or herself into existence. This is the challenge of the speaker. The realm itself is too open to offer any resistance and therefore, will swallow anything whole that is not being sustained with intention and skill.

All public speaking or presenting is borrowed convention. When a company of actors puts on a show, they do so according to the above-mentioned nature of the stage, or realm. A speaker is very much like an artist in front of a blank canvas. All has to be created and sustained with craft to be valid and visible. It is an accountability, which once met, keeps paying us back.

Being in public is highly visible living, and we are not always prepared for it. Hence, the importance of developing solid skills, and a healthy appetite to be seen and heard. We resist being seen as we prefer being private. Privacy in public is the goal and it can only be attained after careful consideration of the open nature of the realm itself.

So play in the open! The idea here is that we realize that in an open realm, the mere contemplative thought of hiding is ludicrous. It is precisely what we try to hide which now comes to the foreground. So you have two choices: play everything including your mistakes in the open or learn the skills to render the mistakes passive or invisible. I personally like a healthy combination of the two as it makes for a more organic performance.

To render something invisible is having the capacity to focus on something else. We do have the power of focus. It is the free will of the performer. You can’t make an audience like you but you can focus on the elements that will increase the chances: humor, relaxed manner, spacious pauses, strong connection to your content, etc.

Playing in the open is a great deal more effective. Public speaking is not about being perfect! Whatever gaffe we were destined to make, we’ll be making anyway! To quote the great Joseph Campbell, “the perfect human being is uninteresting!” Self-expression is a function of being willing to play in the open.

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,

Eric Stone

“On-demand, World-Class Training for High Impact

Speeches, Presentations & Media Appearances.”

(310) 205-9219(Office) ~

Copyright © 2009 Speakers & Artists International, Inc.

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4 of Twelve Steps to Great Speaking and Communicating by Eric Stone

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,

Eric Stone

“On-demand, World-Class Training for High Impact

Speeches, Presentations & Media Appearances.”

(310) 205-9219(Office) ~

Copyright © 2009 Speakers & Artists International, Inc.

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3 of Twelve Steps to Great Speaking and Communicating.

Step Three – Decide to Plant, Anchor, Belong, and Relate.

By Eric Stone

Context and Premise: 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.

As mentioned before, speakers deal with performance issues. With the term performance comes the concept of staging, presence, experience and message. Performance skills are what make a speaker attractive to watch and riveting to listen to.

If fear of public speaking is so real to almost all people, it is consequently useful to inquire into why, and hopefully develop an ability to conquer this infamous fear. I’d like to suggest that fear has a lot to do with the fear of losing control or not retaining control. We are all, at the very core, afraid to be vulnerable and let our guard down. Therefore we usually project onto the immediate situation all the consequences that would follow our loss of control. If we lose control we might be made fun of, ridiculed, shamed, victimized…fill in the blank. Isn’t it exactly what loss of control represents? But are we really in control?

Plant and anchor in the physical world. It is not my objective to go deeper into the fascinating subject of fear from a performer’s perspective but instead, to use it as a backdrop to illustrate how to arm against it. I have never seen a better process than confronting what confronts us. When we face an audience, a microphone or a camera without flinching, it literally gives birth to a whole new conquered feeling. We begin to experience relaxation. Why? It is because our need to control the situation is being handled professionally. Fear makes us want to flee–Now! Therefore to willingly stay during a speech or presentation represents an enormous initial win over fear.

By planting and anchoring my body and all my sensations into the floor and by allowing the experience of gravity, balance and my breathing to occur, I slowly become present and comfortable. You can put it to the test anytime. Human beings flee in their minds. When I plant and anchor with resolve into the physical world, I become grounded in a reality that does not play tricks on me, like my fearful thoughts or emotions. We cannot anchor in our thoughts for two obvious reasons: there are way too many of them, and second, they change all the time. Ironically, the third reason is we cannot control our thoughts.

Planting and anchoring are the first power tools of a successful communicator. These two verbs are the main gateways to the “kingdom of BELONGING”. There’s nothing more relaxing, inspiring and attractive than a speaker who absolutely belongs in front of his or her audience. When we are self-conscious, we have technically stopped belonging. I call this process our appetite to belong, and it can be developed. Most of us are self conscious about aspects of ourselves such as our bodies, the way we look, etc. As a result, we suppress our desire to belong and feel good in front of a group, or anywhere for that matter.

As an audience, I can only believe what the speaker believes and focuses on. The appetite to belong, to be seen, to be heard, to balance, to experience, to stand, to ground, to physicalize, to focus, to make comfortable, to animate, and to relate, are the essential structural elements of successful speeches and presentations. If the speaker focuses on planting firmly, anchoring strongly and belonging gracefully, it makes an enormous difference.

Stand firmly planted in front of any person or group without flinching. It is the true test of the speaker or communicator. Show people that you belong to yourself, to the stage, to the event, to them, to your intentions and, of course, to your topic. It is a matter of ownership and accountability. If you can do that, a whole new world opens up! It represents your basic confidence and acts as a powerful credibility builder. You must be able to face what is within you and in front of you in order to contemplate increasing effectiveness.

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,

Eric Stone

“On-demand, World-Class Training for High Impact

Speeches, Presentations & Media Appearances.”

(310) 205-9219(Office) ~

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