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Steal the Show

From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Yo...

By Michael Port
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  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Steal the Show by Michael Port

Steal the Show (2015) is a practical guide designed to help performers scared of the limelight to settle their nerves and up their game. Drawing on author Michael Port’s experience as a professional actor, these blinks are packed with tips and hacks to help you persuade, inform and motivate. Whether you’re presenting your company’s latest figures in a meeting, pitching a new business idea or interviewing for a dream job, these strategies are guaranteed to help you make an impression. 

Key idea 1 of 6

Performing in public can be terrifying, but learning to harness your natural ability to act can help you overcome your fears.

Picture these three scenarios: a manager attends a make-or-break performance review with his superiors; an up-and-coming corporate hotshot gives a speech at a conference attended by her industry’s movers and shakers; a young entrepreneur pitches an ambitious business idea to a group of grizzled venture capitalists. 

If your hands are clamming up just thinking about putting yourself in any one of those situations, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Lots of folks find stepping into the limelight a pretty terrifying experience. To put that into perspective, Googling “public speaking” gets you 90 million hits. At the top of the list: advice on how to keep nerves and anxiety in check.

So what makes public speaking so scary? Well, it’s a type of performance. Whether you’re interviewing for a job or giving a talk, you’re essentially acting – presenting, staging and playing a part to impress, delight or move your audience.

Chances are this is something you’ve never been taught how to do. And that explains the familiar sense of dread. Public performances take us out of our comfort zone. No wonder we worry about fluffing our lines and ending up with egg on our faces! 

But here’s the thing. As odd as it might sound, you are an actor – all of us are. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re constantly assuming different roles in different settings. When you use social media or describe yourself on a dating site, for example, you’re presenting yourself in a particular light. In other words, you’re performing. The same goes for the ways in which you might change your behavior when Skyping a colleague or talking to your boss at a holiday party. 

This is good news – it means you already know how to play a part. The trick is to leverage that intuitive understanding of performance and take it to the next level. Think of it as a crash course in acting. But this isn’t about landing a part in your local drama group – it’s about learning a methodology you can apply in your professional life.

Take it from the author, a professional actor who transitioned into the corporate world. Today, he’s a best-selling writer and a highly sought-after public speaker and consultant. That was a pretty big leap, but his acting background gave him an advantage: it allowed him to authentically play different roles and inspire confidence in others. 

In the following blinks, we’ll learn how to follow his lead. 

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