What to do when your nervous about public speaking...

 

'I've not done this in nearly two years....I'm super nervous about speaking'  was the phrase shared with me at a charity event I attended, whereby several employees were giving an update to donors. 

I get it - Despite having spoken infront of audiences multiple times, it has been difficult for some to rebuild confidence after two years where events like this just didn't happen. 

I've always felt that nervousness is a strange emotion / reaction. We're nervous about things going wrong, stumbling our words, making a fool of ourselves, forgetting lines or being super boring to the audience. Yet, the cause of many of those concerns, is the nervousness itself.  

When we are nervous;

- We stop thinking properly ahead of the presentation and so perhaps causes something to go wrong. 

- We stumble over our words because our mind is focusing on the fear of an audience. 

- We might make a fool of ourselves by not watching our...

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What it takes to achieve a significant goal...

I'm on quite an ambitious adventure myself, at the moment. 

In my work as a Comedy Magician, I've embarked on a project called The Big Local Night Out. A community based, but nationally replicated, series of arts events, that bring together professional artists alongside local talent.  

I'm looking to establish multiple locations - in fact, the long term goal is to have hundreds of them across the UK and beyond. That's a big enough goal in and of itself, but each location comes with it's own goal to create multiple partnerships, to build a significant audience and to become a recognised brand in that area. 

It's by far the biggest and most challenging adventure I've ever set myself to achieve - but day by day, I'm making traction and beginning to see how this could pan out. 

Executing big goals;  

 

In running the People On A Pursuit Community, I get to see, first hand, every week what it takes to achieve meaningful...

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The Structure Of A Comedy Set & The Applications For Public Speaking

Have you ever analysed a comedy set? 

Probably not. Unless you've pursued the art of comedy, there's no real reason to do so. 

It's far more satisfying to simply enjoy, what feels like an ad-libbed ramble of observations or a rolling set of one liners.

That said, you've probably sub consciously been impressed by the ability to refer back to earlier comments,

...you've probably laughed at the running gag that the comedian revisits throughout the show,

...and you've unknowingly appreciated the story being told as the comedian performs. 

Today, I want to explore three of these intentional structures and consider how you might use them in your next presentation.
 

 

The Call Back

You'll have observed Comedians refer back to a joke or comment they made earlier on in the show. If a joke gets a particularly big laugh, it's not uncommon for the Comedian to have other opportunities built into their set, referring back to that initial joke. Just as...

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Calling all Creative Professionals....

If you are like the creative professionals I know, you are probably, quite simply, unstoppable.  You're so driven by the love of your craft, that you will do anything to finish the race. 

Am I right? 

Perhaps, the last couple of years have seen you navigate your way through consistent rejection, a portfolio of failed ideas and most recently, a pandemic that forced you to reinvent yourself or your career. 

And yet, the greatest challenge isn't so much the external circumstances and how to overcome them....It's the internal battles that cause you to stumble. 

Staying on track

Amidst the chaos, perhaps you've got an idea but you feel unorganised and without a solid plan. 

Maybe, like many, you've put off some activities that you know would be a game changer to your career. Perhaps you've lost confidence in networking, auditioning, marketing yourself - and you need some accountability to kick you into...

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Make Your Presentations Memorable?

A few months back, I was on a line up, with a few other comedians, all of which had significant TV credits to their name. One had been on The Royal Variety and another had been on 'Live at the Apollo'.  All of them, brilliant comedians - In fact, people I would look up to and learn from. 

It just so happened that at this gig, due to travel arrangements of each comedian, that I ended up headlining. I sat through the other comics performance, stressing ever so slightly at how I was going to 'top' it. The laughs had been big and fast coming the whole night.

Thankfully I had a very good set. In fact, it was perhaps one of my strongest gigs to date, but the real joy of this gig, actually came via a facebook post I was tagged in on the way home. (My mate, Oli, was driving!) 

Throughout my show, at various points, I have the audience up on their feet, hands on their cheeks, shouting 'Oh My Days' at the top of their voices. Some audiences take to it, others not so much - but...

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How do you keep the work flowing in as a creative professional / freelancer

This is a question that all freelance, creative professionals are asking. Our business relies on it. 

How do you maintain a healthy number of opportunities, bookings, commissions or creative output. 

The answer is much easier to say than it is to act upon. 

Habits & Consistency. 

It's as simple as that....The more you audition, the more likely you will land a role. The more you write, the more likely you are to find a publisher. The more you reach out to prospective customers, the more bookings you will likely receive. 

What you do consistently is what drives you toward success. That's why our framework within the People On A Pursuit Community works so well. 

That's why Karen & Iain are consistently landing new clients.
That's why Poppy is consistently filling her 6-book quota per 12 weeks. 
That's why Darren is seeing way more progress on his project than he was before joining. 

Yet despite knowing this. It's too easy to slip out...

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Three Simple Steps For Engaging An Audience

The success or failure of a presentation, is often decided in the speakers mind, by how engaged the audience appeared to be. 

If the speaker feels that the audience is disengaged, distracted or lacking in interest, it can be a real blow to the speakers confidence. 

However, the problem is, unless you are intentional about creating opportunities for engagement, it's hard to know where your audience are at. After all, people's relaxed, natural facial expressions are not the smiling, engaged faces we might hope to see. If anything, it's quite the opposite. 

So here are three ways in which you can provoke engagement from your audience; 


Plan An Unusual Kick Off

When people take their seats, ready to listen to a presentation, they make themselves comfortable and prepare for what is a typical presentation. If you want to provoke engagement from the beginning, why not start with an unusual request; 

'Can everyone please stand up for a moment please ...' 
'Turn...

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The Best Way To Establish Accountability

Accountability is often perceived as a threatening, uncomfortable and unfriendly word. The thought of it might cause feelings of stress, fear and discomfort. 

These negative feelings stem from the accountability narrative that says 'if the task isn't done, you are in trouble'. 

However, I want to change the context and narrative of how we understand accountability.  
I believe accountability can actually be both encouraging and empowering. 

Particularly for creatives, entrepreneurs and freelancers, accountability should be seen as an encouragement. Within the People On A Pursuit community, accountability is outworked as an encouragement. 

The narrative is less, 'get on with it or there's trouble'

But instead; 

'I believe you've got this....and this could be transformative for you and your project - Go and get what you so deserve!' 

One of our members, Darren Quinnell, holds down a full time job whilst pursuing an ambitious creative writing...

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Three Bad Habits When Public Speaking

People do strange things when standing infront of an audience. 

It's quite common and largely comes from how they are feeling in that moment. Perhaps they are nervous, feeling intimidated by the audience, or not completely sure of what they are doing. 

In this post, I'm going to outline three bad habits that creep into people's delivery when presenting. You'll likely resonate with at least one of them, either from your experience on stage, or as an audience member. 
 

The moving leg

I remember when I was in school, our production director was brilliant, creative and slightly intimidating as you'd expect from such a role. In my time at the school, I was fortunate to land a few lead roles, but this bad habit of a moving leg, was a big one for me. I'd constantly and unknowingly swing one leg or move around on the spot. It must have been so irritating to watch. 

In several rehearsals, I remember the director holding my feet to the stage...

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A Productivity Power Hour For Creative Professionals

What task are you putting off, right now?  Which of your priority tasks have been neglected recently? For whatever reason, there are probably some important tasks that you've let slip to the bottom of your todo list. 

One of the most simple, yet most effective offerings of the People On A Pursuit Community is our weekly Power Hour. In short, it's 60 minutes of focused activity, with some friendly accountability to keep you on task.

We simply log on to zoom, share what task we are going to execute within the next hour, and then we switch off the camera and mic, until it's time to check back in at the end of the hour. 

How Mark Uses The Power Hour... 

Actor, writer and member of People On A Pursuit, Mark Wisdom, regularly attends the power hour and finds them super effective.  Mark a has used the power hour for a number of his projects over the last year. From learning lines for an acting role to planning schedules for a film production. 

...

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