Sunday, August 23, 2015

“Understanding the Energy of Attraction, Part 2: The 3 Essentials of Attraction”

“Energy Manager” is one of the many roles a presenter plays when speaking in front of a group.  We know, as do the folks who ask us to present, that the attendees at a program experience one of two energy flow states. At just about any moment, they're either being energized or they are being drained of their liveliness.

Essential 1: Vulnerability
Audiences want to know how we’ve dealt with the problems in our lives and what we have to teach them. No Stand-up comedian comes out and says “Good evening! My life is great, things are smooth, and the trust fund check always arrives on time. Can you relate?” Comedians come out and speak rather to the fears and frustrations they (and we) encounter: politics, relationships, self-esteem, etc. The audience nods and says to itself, “Yeah, me too. What did you do about it?”
Our  audiences relate to us through the challenges we’ve encountered. We relate to them through storytelling. I believe the magic of storytelling lies in the fact that when we tell our own story we are sharing an individual experience. Yet, as we tell it and it travels from our lips to the ears, hearts and minds of our audiences, the story trans forms from being one person’s experience to one that contains a universal truth. Many in the audience can relate to that universal truth. We start out sharing our vulnerability and end up discovering a source of our strength. They are both the same.
Essential 2: Presence
Our presence is what attracts the audience to us. It is the magnet that pulls their attention towards us, that quality of poise and effectiveness that enables a presenter to achieve a close relationship with an audience. The energy in the room is fueled by our presence. If we are to be considered an “attraction,” it is our presence that makes us so.
A means to developing presence is learning to be in the moment, to “be in the here and now.” Wonderful opportunities to develop this quality offer themselves to me whenever I am at a professional gathering or a social event. As I’m talking to a friend or new acquaintance at a gathering, I see out of the corner of my eye someone else I am dying to speak to. Each time I resist the urge to let my attention drift from the person I’m speaking to, I enhance my presence. Each time I refocus my awareness to the one I am with, I bring myself to the present. The greatest gift I can give myself or my audience is my presence. If you need basic “presence” training, I encourage you to enroll in an improv theater class.

Essential 3: Spontaneity

We demonstrate the elements of poise and effectiveness to our audiences in what we do and how we react to unexpected situations. When we are on the platform, standing in front of our audiences, we are in a leadership position, both actually and metaphorically. They look to us very intently during situations that are unexpected in either their timing or impact. What are they looking for? They want to see how we respond spontaneously. Spontaneity is a skill that enhances presence and, as paradoxical as it seems, spontaneity can be practiced. In fact, in order to become spontaneous, you must practice spontaneity.
Blocks to spontaneity occur when thinking takes the place of acting from natural feeling. Spontaneous responses never seem contrived or manipulated. They seem natural because they are unaffected. You can’t worry about what people are going to think. You know very well that people are going to think what they want to, based on their own perceptions of the truth. You may as well act from your own heart, soul and experience. If you are going to go down, you may as well go down with your own truth.
We can nurture the three elements that help make us real, the three fundamental aspects of authenticity that make us attractive to the audience: vulnerability, presence and spontaneity. When the audience is charged by our presence and the attention is directed toward us, we are where we want to be and they are where we want them! This is what is meant by “holding the audience’s attention.”
Izzy Gesell (Izzy's website) is an organizational alchemist who helps individuals and organizations transform their thinking from commonplace to extraordinary. Through his keynotes, trainings, coaching and facilitated sessions, Izzy offers imaginative, intuitive and immediately useful insights and programs. He is skilled at delivering meaningful material in a way that makes participants enjoy their time with him.   
Izzy was one of the first to use Improv Theater concepts as tools for personal and organizational learning. He is the author of Playing Along: Group Learning Activities Borrowed From Improvisation Theater, a co-author of Cancer & the Healing Power of Play, a co-author of Humor Me: America’s Funniest Humorists on the Power of Laughter, and a contributor of a chapter on Improvisation as a facilitation tool in the IAF Group Facilitators Handbook. "His video course  on Applied Improv for Leadership" for Lynda.com was their first  course shot before a live audience. A second Lynda.com course, "Humor in the Workplace" was recently releeased

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