Clark Kent .v. Superman

“I think many of us have different personas for different situations. I am sure that if any of you saw me on a Sunday afternoon slobbing in front of the telly and then saw me in a business meeting, you would be amazed at the difference. So, what is it that makes us so different in these situations? Are we being authentic in both sets of circumstances? Are we being true to ourselves? – if the answer is yes, then what makes us act so differently? And why don’t we use this to our advantage?

 Essentially what I am trying to drive home is the point that we are all acting, all of the time. We all have the innate ability to do this. We are not unfamiliar with putting on different hats for different occasions and we can use this to our advantage. I like to call this the Superman phenomenon.

 I remember watching Superman as a kid and thinking how stupid Lois Lane was for not realising Clark Kent was Superman. I mean he just takes off his glasses and changes his suit – it’s not like he has plastic surgery… But actually there is more to it. Superman only becomes Superman when he changes his persona. I.e. it’s not just the suit.

We have the ability to transform ourselves into something extraordinary if we wear the right costume, use the right body language, use the right tone of voice, the right eye contact and right pose. When you think about it, it is an extremely powerful resource that many of us are unaware of. If we can train our brain to take on a persona that is genuine but useful for the given circumstances, we can transform our reality. How others perceive us is key but our own self-perception is equally as important.

In fact, research has proven that adopting power poses, such as placing your hands on your hips for several minutes, before a tough meeting can lead to a better outcome. Literally taking on the pose of Superman can allow you to flourish. Amy Cuddy’s paper for Harvard University in 2012 backs this up and goes into some detail to show that expansive body posing can give you the sense of power but also leave you feeling better prepared.

Being aware of how our body, mind and voice is linked gives us the ability to tap into Superman and leave Clark Kent slobbing on the sofa.

I had a client who came to me wanting help with preparing for a job interview. It was a job she felt qualified for but at the same time, she was nervous that she just wasn’t good enough. I asked her to walk into the room as if she was walking into the interview room and sit down. It was a very simple task and no words were uttered. And yet it was obvious that she was uncomfortable and her shoulders were tense and tight. Everything from her shoulders upwards was tense. Her whole face and jaw was locked. And she had absolutely no idea she was doing it!

After she came into the room for the first time and sat down, we analysed what she was doing. I asked her to do it again but this time, I asked her to open her mouth more. That was her sole task. I didn’t want her to say anything, just to come into the room and open her mouth more. As primal creatures, when we are in a situation that makes us feel tense and up tight, we can go into fight or flight mode. We can create tension in our body that isn’t needed. This was what was happening to my client. By opening her mouth, she relaxed her whole face. This relaxation led to her being able to breath more easily which in turn allowed her shoulders to relax and her whole persona changed.

Now this isn’t exactly putting on a Superman suit but using your body in a more mindful way can have massive, transformative effects. I asked my client how she felt the second time and she said that it was extraordinary. She was suddenly feeling like she did when she was talking to friends and not like she was about to go into a job interview…

So, the next time you have a tough assignment or you have to get up to speak in front of a room full of people, think about the Superman phenomenon. Think about a time in your life when you were completely relaxed or supremely confident and allow yourself to take on that persona. Stand in the loo doing an expansive pose for five minutes. Give yourself the license to tap into that innate ability to act but at the same time be genuinely you.”

Amy Botes is a professional RADA trained Actress and Communication Coach and Founder of PEPPED Productions. She has recently launched an online course in presentation skills. For a limited number and time, she has created a coupon which will allow you to take this course for only £10. Please follow this link to benefit from this outstanding offer: CLICK FOR ACCESS TO THIS COUPON

Amy also works with business professionals, both 1:1 and through group workshops. Check out her website at: www.peppedproductions.co.uk  Should your company need help with presentation skills, pitching skills, networking skills, personal impact, creative brainstorming or improving customer service, do not hesitate to contact Amy via amy@peppedproductions.co.uk for a free consultation to discuss your needs.

Link to ‘how to be present whilst presenting’, an online course in presentation skills.

on the stage

With a little imagination – you are capable of being the star at centre stage.

Doing a presentation may fill many of us with dread but in a society which profits from your self doubts, why not like yourself as a rebellious act. Nurture your innate ability to communicate and invest a little in YOU.

In a corporate environment we are often pushed into a “this is how I should act” mental attitude and very rarely step out into the limelight and show the world what we could be, if we applied a little imagination. But as Steve Jobs said: “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do”.
So now is the time for you to step into the spot, change the world but do it with flair! How many brilliant minds have been dismissed or overlooked due to lack of communication skills? I read about a brilliant study done by the Carnegie Institute of Technology which proved that 85% of your financial success is due to your ability to communicate, to negotiate and to lead. So if you are someone who is dreading a presentation, that could change the world…don’t be ignored, learn how to take centre stage and OWN IT. 
My course, ‘How to be present whilst presenting’ teaches you the techniques to do just that. It shows you how to stand, how to speak, how to breath and how to prepare. All you have to do is listen, apply these principles and you will be wowing your audience in no time.
I am passionate about helping people reach their potential. I have had many clients who have started out as mice and ended up men. I had a client recently who felt she was unable to be ‘big’ and was so surprised when she managed it. It was within her – she wasn’t acting – it was just hiding under all of her inhibition. We did a great exercise where she had to give a 60 second pitch on why she is the best person for her job. Funnily enough the time limit gave her energy but engaging her imagination also brought her to life. I started to hear her relating stories of her childhood and as she painted a vivid picture, she brought her message to the fore. I could suddenly see her sitting in her mentor’s workshop at the age of 8, working alongside him and when she said that she had been an apprentice ever since, it was completely convincing. She proved it was in her blood but when we started the session, she had been sticking to the tried old tested methods of getting a job – listing all the technical requirements – and forgetting the human connection. So by getting it into her body, using her imagination and acting ‘big’ she had transformed into a speaker I could engage with. A speaker that was confident and ready to change the world.
Amy Botes is a professional RADA trained Actress, Founder of PEPPED Productions and Communication Coach. She has just launched an online course: ‘How to be present whilst presenting’ now available via Thinkific.
By clicking on this link: **Start rehearsals today!** you will be taken to your first step in the journey!

 

How to be present whilst presenting!

I am so super excited to finally announce my online course on presentation skills: ‘How to be present whilst presenting’, is now live on Udemy!! Follow this link:

How to be present whilst presenting

For a limited few (until the 31st May 2017), this course is ABSOLUTELY FREE!! But get in fast or others will be centre stage before you.

Simply add the coupon: YESAND and begin your journey to presentation superstar!

So… why take this course?? We all have to communicate right? Whether you are a baby crying for milk or you are a businessman pitching his next big idea! What amazes me is that many of us forget how to use our natural skills and develop unhelpful habits that can inhibit us, leave us a nervous wreck and make us unable to communicate effectively.

Well – PEPPED Productions is here to help:

  • We can teach you how to be present whilst presenting, using the skills I have learnt as a Professional RADA trained Actress.
  • By the end of this course you will have a ‘carpet bag’ of tools to help you get your message across including vocal techniques, a greater awareness of physicality and how to train your brain to help you overcome inhibition and unhelpful self-analysis.
  • You will learn about how to warm up your voice before a presentation, how to use effective body language to keep your audience engaged and how to keep your mind clear and focussed.
  • You will have a clear understanding on how to structure a presentation both from the point of view of writing it and performing it.
  • You will learn how to help your brain memorise your presentation whilst being free and easy in your delivery.
  • You will be introduced to elements of the Alexander Technique which can help you free your mind and body of tension and stress.
  • Although I am going to let you in on the secrets of professional acting, I will not expect you to be any good at acting, all I am asking is that you tap into those natural skills we all have had since birth which have been covered up by years of bad habits, learned behaviours and past experience which has made you feel you are unable to present effectively.

Being able to speak publically can open up many doors in the business world. From being able to pitch effectively to selling your products through sales presentations, this course will give you the skills to speak confidently and professionally and this in turn will allow your business to flourish. The more confident and engaging we are, the more likely people are to listen to you. You will be free of the shackles of inhibitions and able to take the world on by storm.

Sign up for my course today and you will be let into the secrets of RADA’s world renowned training – something that has only been afforded to 3000 people in the last 100 years. Too good an opportunity to pass up? See you at rehearsals soon!

Courage

Amy Botes is feeling PEPPED about courage this week and shares her secrets of how to fling your fears away when speaking publically:

‘We all have that fear of getting up in front of people and speaking whether that be at a meeting, doing a presentation or performing on stage. But one piece of wisdom I will give you is this: Don’t be afraid – don’t take yourself so seriously. What is the worst that could happen by you opening your mouth? No small baby is going to die. Speaking up in a meeting is like speaking up at the pub and sometimes it’s the one that is the most drunk who is heard. Now, I am not saying: go and drink before a meeting! What I am saying is, if you leave some of your unhelpful inhibition at the door, this can be very helpful. Say you are going to a meeting and there are a lot of ‘powerful’ and ‘influential’ people there – approach it like you are just as powerful and influential. I dare you to take on the status of someone ‘higher’ than you – even it just gives you the courage to speak up. In fact I double dare you to prepare something and then get up and do it.

At RADA we had a termly appraisal called: ‘Verse and Song’ and you had to get up in front of all your peers and teachers (people you greatly admire and want to impress) and perform a poem and song. A teacher of mine had said at the beginning of the course that this appraisal was probably the hardest thing you will ever do and bearing in mind, many of these people were to go on to be major Hollywood movie stars and sparkling stars of the West End and Broadway, this was saying something. The truth is, she was right – performing in front of your peers is extremely difficult. Seeing the whites of their eyes whilst you stumble through your presentation or speech can be a terrifying white knuckle ride! However, I remember that the one time I really nailed it was when I let go of my inhibitions – I like to call this ‘forgetting the brain’ – so forgetting the self analysis and just letting my body and my instincts take over. I trusted in myself and I just let the work speak for itself. I was nervous but that actually fuelled the performance rather than hindered it.

Interestingly enough I think the less you care (about what the audience thinks) and the more you prepare the better. So next time you are in that meeting and you want to speak up – DO IT and FORGET THE BRAIN! You will be amazed at the results. Being bold and brave is all part of being confident. I am sure people we regard as the epitome of confidence – such as Churchill and Obama – all have their moments of self doubt. Nobody is completely confident all of the time. However, managing to prove to yourself that you are capable is half the battle.

I remember hearing a story a teacher told me which was terrifying but very inspiring. She said that a 2nd year RADA student had been very bound by nerves and fear of what people may think and so she told him to go on the tube one day and perform his verse in front of a packed carriage – just out of the blue with very little warning. So she instructed him just to say: ‘This is a poem by so-and-so’ and then launch into it. Now you can imagine the fear of that situation – a carriage full of strangers and nobody looking at each other. The tube in London is notorious for being a place where people are very wary of each other. Well, this student DID IT. He got up, performed his poem and the whole carriage erupted into warm, spontaneous applause. Now, I find this story very moving – not because of the performance, although I am sure it was very beautifully performed but because of the courage this must have taken. But above all, one thing I take from this story is: just do it, have the courage because you never know, you might even find that your audience appreciates what you have to say! We all assume that an audience is going to judge negatively but generally a body of people will not have that reaction – especially if they don’t expect anything at all. So BE BRAVE, get up and speak out because it might just prove to you and everyone else that what you have to say is worth listening to. Now there’s a thought….’

Amy Botes is RADA trained Actress who offers training to business professionals both through 1:1 coaching and workshops in the South of England. She is hoping to launch an online course in presentation skills via Udemy in 2017.

Corporate role Play

This week Amy Botes is feeling PEPPED about corporate role play: “At a workshop I was involved in this week, we concentrated on the use of forum theatre to recreate a difficult situation at work in order to look at the different ways this could have been approached and dealt with. The premise of forum theatre is to use the power of the group to find the best solution through role-play. Using role play can have several benefits: it allows you to enter into the same mind-set you were in, when facing that difficult situation, but gives you the safety of a make believe situation in order to play with various options available and create different outcomes. A form of life rehearsal

We are all guilty of creating habits that are negative and we can sometimes not realise that a slightly different turn of phrase or the art of listening with one eye open can change a situation drastically. In this scenario, an appraisal that went bad in real life was changed into a positive experience, mainly due to simple suggestions made by the audience but also by addressing the mind-set the delegate had entered the appraisal with. It emerged through hot-seating  (a form of quick fire questioning) that on the day of the appraisal the delegate holding the appraisal had had a very difficult journey into work, they had not had much sleep and they were entering into the situation in an irritated state. This then started the appraisal off badly and led to the employee leaving in tears.  We can sometimes not realise that emotions from other corners of our life can feed into our professional life and colour it.  By tweaking this mind-set, the employee left with constructive criticism and a clear pathway towards improving without feeling personally attacked.”   

Do you think your company would benefit from a Corporate role-play workshop, using professional Actors to re-enact difficult situations that could be improved upon?  Then do not hesitate to give us a call and PEPPED Productions can fundamentally improve your approach to communication.

Body language

This week Amy Botes is feeling PEPPED about body language: “A new client of mine has been working for the same company for many years. Now she has decided to take the leap and has opted for voluntary redundancy. As she has been out of the job market for some time, she wanted to boost her personal impact through a series of 1:1 coaching sessions with PEPPED. In this first session we concentrated on working on her voice, physicality and confidence but one thing that really seemed to be apparent was her lack of awareness with regards to her body language. Your body says as much as your mouth and if you are sending out the wrong signals, you could scupper your chances at interview. Using elements of the Alexander Technique and rehearsing what you are going to say can release the inevitable tension in an interview scenario. What was very revealing was when we videoed some of the session and showed this back to her, she immediately noticed the habits that had been entrenched over the years and it was remarkable how quickly she transformed. Eye contact, a more upright posture, an awareness of the spine and her centre allowed her to break free of her inhibitions and she went away from the session feeling energised, positive and PEPPED. We are looking forward to the next session when we will be concentrating on rehearsing this through role play and improvization.”   

Are you in a similar situation? Would you benefit from 1:1 coaching and would like to improve your personal impact? Then do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss a bespoke PEPPED 1:1 coaching package.

Confidence

 

Amy Botes feels PEPPED about confidence this week: “So…confidence was an issue with one of my clients. They are good at what they do. They like their job. In fact they are GREAT at their job but they just lacked the confidence to speak on the telephone with clients in an assured manner. As a Professional Actor I have learnt how to press the reset button on this point. If you aren’t confident – just act as if you are until that is your realityI have been slowly working with this client to give her several tools that are easy to master and easy to maintain. Anyone can use them and it has given her a suit of armour to wear when tackling a situation where she lacks confidence. Using basics from body language, to tone of voice, use of breath, tempo, even tackling her negative thought process, has allowed her to tackle her inner demons and flourish.”

Are you in a similar place? Do you think you or your company could benefit from 1:1 coaching to develop and increase your confidence? Then give PEPPED Productions a call!

A note from our Founder Amy Botes: “I am a RADA trained Actress, offering the skills of an Actress to businesses who feel they need help with communicating in any form. For example: to be present whilst presenting, to build up rapport and real connection with customers and other businesses, to appear confident and to use creativity to expand the vision of a business. I offer business workshops to companies who feel they need direction when it comes to presentations, to help them hone their communication skills when communication is at the core of their business, to pep up their pitching skills and to give them a structure whereby they can boost their confidence and say yes to new ideas. Having had over 15 years worth of experience in the acting field, both on stage and screen, I offer world class training both via 1:1 coaching sessions, business workshops and short courses. This can be provided in house within the heart of a business or at various conference centre locations within the Milton Keynes and Northampton area.  I am about the ‘yes, and..’ mentality.”