Let me tell you a story.
I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and for about 15 years I was a Tap and Jazz Dancer. Actually, my last dancing on stage happened two weeks after I got married and two days before I moved to the United States for the rest of my life.
Being on stage as a dancer was my life at the time. I loved it. Today, when I’m on stage speaking (though from time to time, I’ll tap) I recall the many lessons I learned from my dancing years.
One insight I share with my speakers time and time again--as we are working on their talks-- is the fact that the audience DOES NOT KNOW THEIR SCRIPT!
They don’t know the choreography-- so if you lose your place-- improvise. Keep moving forward!
I was only 12 when I took the stage with my team for our last dance of the night. We were dancing in a very old theatre in downtown Buenos Aires and our coach was very adamant about having us wear our sneakers backstage for safety reasons and then having us take them off right before our jazz number.
Well, I forgot.
I went on stage with my bright white Topper sneakers (Argentineans will know what a topper is).
Nobody could miss them.
It was the middle of the dance when I realized I had forgotten to take off my sneakers. We were doing a move on the floor when I decided it was the perfect moment to remove my sneakers and hurl them to the back of the stage, hitting another dancer in the process. (No, I can’t make this up, it was THAT bad!)
Needless to say, keeping my sneakers on would have saved me a lot more embarrassment than taking them off, but I needed to learn that lesson.
So if you are in front of a group of people, keep moving forward, don’t hesitate, lean back and keep your cool-- even if your slide deck glitches-- keep moving forward.
Hello!, engaging with the audience is your ultimate goal--even if it does not happen as planned! Are you ready to improvise???
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Have a great rest of your week,