Minimizing Your Considerations Means Maximizing Your Effectiveness In Most Things. ESPECIALLY, Public Speaking!
In any relationship dynamic, the person with the fewest considerations about the outcome, is always the strongest force. In direct proportion to the number of things potentially at stake for any person in the dynamic, lies the number of potential weaknesses on which the other can leverage an influence. Rather than focus on the strategies of negotiation across a table in which there is the strong potential for a win/lose dynamic, I’d instead like to focus on the individual streamlining of considerations that typically hamstring public speakers and trial advocates in the course of their public communication. Those which don’t rely on or have any specific relation to any other potentially opposing person or group and that just create an internal conflict within the speaker themselves.
When a person has considerations on an issue, the fear of those considerations coming true exerts quite an influence. For many of the actors I auditioned and coached over three decades, many of them feared not getting the job for which they were auditioning. And this is probably the most common consideration for the vast majority of them. But let’s take a look at this fear as a potentially viable…or invalid force for consideration. Many people (including lots of actors!) think that actors “act” for a living. But from my standpoint, actors actually AUDITION for a living! The standard rejection rate for most rank and file actors is around 95%. That means in order to maximize the 5% of the jobs they’ll attain for their effort in a given year, they have to maximize the number of efforts and attempts, which is a simple numbers game.
Now before an actor got called by their agent about any of the auditions for which I called them in, they didn’t even know about the project let alone have a potential audition for it! So the same effect of ultimately not getting the job, already existed for them as a current reality. And they didn’t walk around in fear of not getting a job they didn’t even know about! But as soon as it became a possibility? Many begin to operate as if there is some magical thing they could either do or NOT do to insure their getting the job….if they only knew what it was! So they begin trying to figure out what that magical component actually is to protect the possessing of something they don’t actually even have. From that moment on, they begin to operate from fear of losing it!
In direct proportion to the number of fears and considerations they have, their comfort level reduces which reduces their access to the tools and options they need to actually do what they’re there to do-ACT! And those fears are based upon their considerations of things they’re NOT willing to have happen. So just when they need the maximum amount of artistic freedom and focus on such essentials as character creation and what they want to do with the words in the script, they begin focusing a significant amount of time and energy on the things they DON’T want to happen. Which weakens them pretty much across the board. And this is borne out in a study at Harvard Medical school called “White Bears” which illuminates the phenomenon known as Ironic Process wherein you become much more likely to have your fears realized when you try to NOT do something as opposed to have something to actually move TOWARD.
I remember back in the 80’s when I used to audition and occasionally cast Bryan Cranston, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to loosen him up in the casting room when he was auditioning. I worked trying to change his perspective of just what it was he was there trying to do because like many I’ve mentioned, he thought he was there to get a job. After I moved away from Los Angeles and up to the Pacific Northwest where I cast for some 26 years, I noticed he was getting more and more work and ultimately cast in leading roles and even nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. I wondered what had happened for him until I heard his answer to this interviewer’s question in which he pretty much channeled what I had been telling him all along back in those early days.
Whether it was something I said that finally took root or someone else, the process he ultimately pursued, reduced his considerations down to the fewest possible ones. And in direct proportion, his comfort zone to audition freely and with the maximum creativity increased wildly. George Clooney called auditioning, “playing with house money” alluding to the fact that there was literally no risk in doing it equating acting with a “casino game” in which there was absolutely no potentially for losing anything because an actor in the process of pursuing their craft, was already doing something they loved!
What does all this mean to my presentational clients? The same processes I used to help so many actors reframe their focus while auditioning, is largely the same one I use for my clients. But each one has a different, unique set though some may overlap. So I work with each one to customize the perspective shift which will allow them to streamline their considerations to a minimum. And in direct proportion, their comfort zone expands and the energy they express in their chosen dynamic, becomes inclusive and filled with more focus, creativity and passion since fear has receded far into the background. And as the “White Bears” experiment shows, the neurological locus of fear is the amygdala which is a poor choice for rational thinking compared to the pre-frontal cortex. Fear will always take you to the amygdala for neurological operation and it’s designed for “flight or fight” responses and for involuntary responses like regulating heartbeat and autonomic nervous system responses.
So streamlining considerations will allow you to shift your thinking to the place actually reserved for rational thought. Your presentations will always be the better for the journey there! ESPECIALLY when you can include your heart in them! And that’s a combination that can make real magic happen! Good Luck!