Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Perfomance Coaching

I've begun a business doing several things, all of which fall under the category of business strategy:

--Advising on big-picture thinking on business plans and the steps that lead to where you want to go.

--Writing and editing website copy for best results, both for visitors and SEO.

--Coaching people on business presentations.

If you can't do any one of these things well, your business is probably in trouble. Out of the three, I find the last to be the most satisfying and the most misunderstood.

Business Coaching

I coached acting for 20 years and still work with people preparing for auditions. Along the way, I've picked up some executives who have felt their presentations could be better. Business coaching is both very similar and very different from what I did for the theatre.

What Are Actors Good For?

Actors (the good ones) are primed to be aware of their bodies, their pace, and so on. They build a relationship with the other actors on stage primarily by listening well. But they can't deviate from the script.

It can feel as though one's foot is nailed to the floor -- there is only so far you can roam from what was intended by the writer. And sometimes the playwright wasn't so smart.

What About People in Business?

Business people (the good ones) are less tuned in to the way they present themselves and more focused on a rehearsed, fixed set of content.

The problem? It's never strictly the content that sells a product. It's the presenter.

Given that business people can always change the script if the relationship with their listeners changes, a focus on fixed content (usually on power point slides) would not really be to anyone's advantage. Yet those slides seem to hold an almost mystical power over the presenters. They can't seem to let go.

Wouldn't it be better to focus on the relationship between yourself and your audience? Adjust your manner and even the content to the level and kind of receptiveness you meet?

Don't panic. It's just a matter of focus. And practice.

Emma Gilding wrote a nice piece about this. Take a look.

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