“A Star Is Born” and Speaking Bravely

I recently saw “A Star Is Born” with my wife on a rare night out (we have two young children).  It was a fantastic movie and a must-see for anyone who loves performing and presenting.

The film is about a washed-up rocker (Jackson) who falls for a young, poor, talented singer (Ally), and gives her the courage to find her voice,   I think the film offers a lot of wisdom in regard to speaking in public.  Ally is searching for stardom but doesn’t truly find it until she follows Jackson’s advice, and sings from the deepest parts of her soul.  Only when she makes her singing deeply personal does she truly “have something to say” (in Jackson’s parlance).

Do you personalize your speeches?  Do you plum the depths to find material that is secret, provocative, honest?  Do you tell stories?  Do you work to relate to your audience, to share your humanity, with all of its messiness?  Or do you neaten things up to make yourself look “good”?

Brave public speaking, like brave singing, happens rarely.  But when it does, it unites, it inspires, it transforms.  Think today about your speeches, and ask yourself “Am I being brave?”.

Power Posing and Presenting

As a public speaking coach I talk a lot about how non-verbal communication impacts a speaker’s audience.  But can powerful non-verbal communication make you feel more confident while speaking?  The short answer is yes.

Amy Cuddy’s TED talk above demonstrates how certain poses influence the way we feel.  Wide or open gestures tend to boost our testosterone and our endorphins, while closed gestures tend to increase cortisol levels (stress hormones) in our body.  This is good news for those of you that feel uncomfortable presenting.  By taking a “fake it until you make it” approach, you can learn to develop more confidence.  Check out the video above, and try some of the 2 minute “posing” exercises before you speak.  Research suggests that over a period of time you will gain more confidence, and lower your public speaking anxiety.