In Steve Martin’s book Born Standing Up, he shares a profound decision he made as a comic and how it affected his act. “It was essential that I never showed doubt about what I was doing. … Make the audience believe that I thought I was fantastic.” We can see an example of this in this old video here.
This is important information for all of us who want to communicate a message because often the biggest obstacle to being heard is our fear that people won’t like it (or us).
Let’s assume that you have done the work and that you know the value of what you are offering. (It’s important to note that many people fall down at this part, thinking that they can just “wing it” without doing the preparation. Not a good idea.) How often do you walk into the room thinking some variation of “I have to win them over” or “I hope they like me”?
This thought is about two things: Fear and Control. Both interfere with our ability to connect with an audience and thereby sucessfully communicate the value of our idea or our message. These two thoughts are inherently defensive and our bodies and our voices go into a type of “fear crouch” which translates to an appearance of uncertainty and weakness.
What if we told ourselves a different story? What if we walked into the room with the attitude that Steve Martin describes, where everything that happens is okay and that no matter what you think that you are “fantastic”? What would happen if we believed it fully and trusted that the audience wants us to be successful, even if they might not agree with the message?
The answer is a more confident and resonant presentation. Our body and our voice would no longer feel the need to protect what we are saying, and therefore our chances of our message being received as it is intended would be increased. This is what eventually happened for Steve Martin, and it can happen for all of us.
Do the preparation and be clear about the value of your idea or message, then tell yourself that the audience thinks you are fantastic
even if they don’t know it yet.