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How to engage an audience at Halloween and beyond – become a big cat

There are black cats everywhere, along with ghosts and spiders and zombies – no real surprise, it being the 31st October.  The preponderance of Halloween felines has prompted me to devote this month’s offering to the issue of ‘performance’.

We often talk, in the training room, about the need for authenticity (when communicating with any audience, in any context – formal/informal, large/small).  Interestingly, in my research into what people value in a ‘speaker’, authenticity came out as the single most important factor.  Audiences recognise it and they like it.  https://www.jayneconstantinis.com/survey-results/

So when we use the word ‘performance’, it’s not about acting or dissembling.  It’s not about pretending to be someone else.  It’s about being real and genuine but slightly ‘bigger’ than your usual self.  When we stand up to speak, look into the camera to present, approach the microphone to broadcast, lean across the table to pitch, it’s vital that we harness enough energy and intensity to engage our audience.  The image I find helpful is of a cat which has puffed up its fur – same cat, but bigger.

How our ‘big cat’ looks, sounds and feels will be unique to each of us.  But it’s likely to involve posture/body language, eye contact, volume and pace.  It’s useful to practise making the transition from small to big cat so that you can be aware of the difference.  Then you can be sure to bring out the big cat at the moment you need to shine.  Just remember not to scratch the clients!