“What makes the difference between a pitch that lands and one that bounces off the audience?” my friend Stephen asked.
“Energy,” I replied.
“Are you talking about coming across as enthusiastic?” he asked.
Personal energy is not just about putting on the big smile and speaking with vigor and passion. Some people try faking a smile, and it comes across as phony.
I dislike that old cliché “fake it until you make it.”
A lot of people feel, subconsciously, that something is off when someone puts on a “fake enthusiasm” mask for their pitch or speech.
Instead, I focus on Act It Until You Become It. That arises from my training as both actor and feature film director. To act it requires a good form of energy. You feel confident of your material, your efforts in rehearsals and the coaching you’ve received.
Still, there is an additional level to having effective personal energy: You need to guard your energy.
From what? From manipulation striking you in your regular life.
In my 40’s, I was in a particular auditorium watching as my friends were being manipulated by certain tactics, a speaker was using. I got angry. Soon after, in a university professors’ lounge, I sat down with my laptop and wrote 2,000 words—in a sprint. (My rapid writing flowed out just before I gave a scheduled graduate level class in San Francisco.)
Those 2,000 words were the first of what became a book, Darkest Secrets of Persuasion and Seduction Master: How to Protect Yourself and Turn the Power to Good. [Click Here to ‘Look Inside’ this book.]
I’ll put this in a few words:
If you don’t protect yourself from manipulation in your regular life, you won’t have the reserves to be at your best when you’re on stage pitching.
Why? Because on some level, you’ll be drained and distracted.
Your pitch or speech is too important for you to leave to chance or the storms of life—including manipulation that arises from various sides.
Here I’ll provide some useful tips as the W.I.N. process:
1. Work on your weak points
Where are you weak? Do you get easy to manipulated if someone says, ‘Don’t miss out! The price goes up at 12 midnight’? Be sure to have people you trust who you can turn to—to protect you from making a bad decision.
2. Identify your countermeasures
Have a plan. Rehearse how you will counter extreme demands on your time or attention. Work with a coach or therapist—or both. (They provide different forms of support. I have clients who also have a therapist. I’m the Spoken Word Strategist and Executive Coach. Therapy is not my domain.)
3. Nurture your strength
Do you exercise every day? Imagine if you did. You’d feel stronger. We need strength in both body and mind. Study methods that will have you prepared.
A friend recently asked me, “Tom, why did you read 82 books last year?”
“My clients and my team rely on me to have a nimble mind filled with valuable, strategic methods,” I replied. “I keep up with research about how people actually operate. That’s how I can be a valued thinking partner and Executive Coach to my clients.”
In summary, get clear that you need to guard your personal energy against assailants trying to use manipulation in your regular life. Why? You need reserves of personal energy to act at your best in rehearsals and on stage for your pitch or speech.
W – work on your weak points
I – identify your countermeasures
N – nurture your strength
Spoken Word Strategist – Executive Coach
Speaker-Author, 44 books so far 🙂
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