Teach Clients NOT to Act
I fly into Houston to a hospital to work with a surgeon there. I walk into the room in the hospital and there is a giant man. Before he was a surgeon, he was a professional football player. Actually he was a part of a super bowl winning team. Now he is a bone surgeon. He works on athletes all over the world. He is about to try to become an ESPN commentator and host of his own show on fox sports.
So he comes to me to be trained on how to communicate more effectively to the media. I say, “hi mark nice to meet you” he says, “TJ great to meet you”. He sits down. I put the camera on him. I asked him questions. Right away he does this, he tightens his whole body up answers the questions in a smart rational logical linear way. Factually it is all. This was a very bright guy.
He had gone to Harvard medical school. His information was a hundred percent on target. He clearly knew his staff and he experienced it. He hit a lot of surgeries himself being in that line of work. So he could connect with people intellectually and emotionally.
We did an interview. I turned the light off. Then I dropped the mic on the floor leaned back and I said “Hey mark so tell me how did that feel?” Instant he came alive. He said “Wow TJ I felt uncomfortable. That was not very good. I want to do it again.” I am glad you’re he was incredibly animated. His hands were moving, his face was moving, everything was moving. His voice had more volume more energy. I said “Okay now it is time to review.” So I played the tape. Stopped at the end of the formal interview. I said “What did you think?” He said “TJ I don’t know the facts were there but I just seemed stiff. I’m comfortable. A little frozen nervous. I said “Well mark you may have a point you did a number of things. Well you had good answers but tell me mark how did you like to see somebody like better than you. More comfortable. More confident. More engaging. More charismatic. Then I asked “Would you like a role model like that?” He said “Hh TJ definitely! He thought I was going to show him Jerry Bradshaw or some other famous broadcaster. Instead I just hit play again. Now we’re watching the part of the video, where he didn’t realize I was interviewing him just. Because I turned the light off. Dropped the mic. Did not mean I could not record. Now he could see his natural movement. His hands were moving. His face was moving. His body was moving. His voice had warmth to it, that variation. He laughed but when it was over. He said “that is the guy I want to be TJ! You’re a genius!”
Here is the reality for this doctor and in fact almost all the people I worked with. There is no genius in me that teaches them new skills how to act for the camera. What I teach people is to stop acting. What mark learned at that moment was his problem was not that he needed to learn some new way of acting on camera. He needed to stop acting. He needed to stop acting scared. That is the problem most people have.
Do they get in front of a camera to practice a presentation or a media interview, and they start acting? They start acting scared. So when I get together to help people get better at their presentations. Whether they’re presenting to the media or giving speeches or PowerPoints. So much of it is about teaching them to stop acting. I don’t teach them to act. I teach them to stop acting to stop acting scared. Simply talk the way they do when they’re comfortable, relaxed sitting down talking to one person.
Okay so why do I tell that story. The message of this story was that I am not your guru. I am here to teach you a whole new way of talking when you’re giving presentation. You don’t need a whole new way of learning what to do with your hands. You already know what to do. That makes it much easier. You just have to stop freezing yourself. You have to stop acting scared. Now I do this and pretty much every live media training and presentation skills training workshop. I do all over the world I do it first thing in the morning. When I am working with someone and it is a huge eye opening experience for people. Because it really makes them see the task at hand. As attainable because it is no longer scary when you’ve already seen yourself do it well. That is why I tell the story if I am giving a speech on this subject. Because I want people to realize this is not some impossible new task it is also not is wildly complicated and time-consuming is learning how to play the violin from scratch or learning how to be a scratch golfer.
It is relatively easy if you just copy yourself. I want people to have a new role model for themselves. When they are learning how to give presentations for live audiences and speeches. The role model cannot be me. It needs to be themselves. That is the beauty of this story. It is also why this technique works in real trainings when it is face to face