Monday, December 21, 2015

Speaking Is Performing - Treat Your Speaking That Way

The other day I was on a webinar with one of the top speakers in the industry, Patricia Fripp.

She was answering a question about how to overcome the fear of public speaking, which I’ll share strategies on that next month, hers, mine, and others, so be sure to check back.

I took her answer in a totally different context.

Her answer quoted the British actor Michael Caine, who has said, “Rehearsal is the work and the performance is the relaxation.”

That statement means that the more you rehearse the more comfortable you are delivering what you need to deliver, which allows you to relax.

And, thus the fear subsides because of the confidence you have developed.

“Brilliant,” I thought.

Tony Robbins at Life Mastery1999_Skip WeismanProfessional SpeakerIt speaks directly to what I coach my clients, which is to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse until it becomes part of who you are.

It also speaks to, and reinforces, the fact that speaking from the stage or in front of the room (on the same level without a stage) is a performance.

My two speaking inspirations are Tony Robbins and Bruce Springsteen.

In 1998 attending a Robbins weekend seminar his engaging presentation style had me hooked on wanting to impact lives in a similar way.

Springsteen is a little different. He’s rock and roll performer whom I’ve been following Springsteen since 1977, having experienced 80 live performances over the years. 

Bruce Springsteen LIVE at NJ Meadowlands Arena, 2013_Skip Weisman Professional SpeakerBut Bruce and Tony have one thing very much in common when they're on the stage.

Robbins’ presentations offer the perfect balance of high-content with an energetic, engaging, and entertaining delivery. Tony structures his programs as edutainment and he is able to deliver a message as a performance, or is it a performance with a message?

Springsteen shows up with more stage presence and energy than I’ve ever experienced in a performer.

Notice the two common traits between Springsteen and Robbins?

It’s energy.

You’ve got to bring energy to the presentation otherwise the audience will lose its energy to listen.

I’d even argue that it is the energy that transforms a presentation into a performance.
When I first started speaking, though, I never saw speaking in front of an audience as a performance that needed energy. 

I had “content” to deliver and that’s what was most important.

Today, for me, one of the best compliments I receive from audience members after one of those morning presentations is when they ask “where do you get your energy so early in the morning, how much coffee to you drink?

My reply is always, “none, I don’t drink coffee,” they are amazed. 

I tell them the truth, “I get my energy from focusing on serving you.”

To truly have an impact as a speaker we must believe that each presentation is a performance and our audience deserves it to delivered with energy.

See your presentations as a performance and you’ll start to bring the energy necessary to “WOW” your audiences and be asked back!

Best wishes in making 2016 the year your presentations become performances!

 Skip Weisman is The Workplace Communication Expert and a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches.

Skip works with aspiring speakers to improve their presentation skills and programs around content, organization and delivery, while also working with the owners and CEOs of small businesses with between 6-60 employees to improve communication in the workplace.

The work Skip does with his small business clients can transform work environments in as little as 90-days to create a championhip company cultures that are more positive, more productive and even more profitable.

For more tips on making your speeches even more dynamic go to


  1. Good message--high energy level with valuable content will make us successful speakers.

  2. Great post. Speaking is a performance, and it takes energy to keep the people in the room engaged. As participants, we know that we learn more when the speaker keeps us engaged, so why wouldn't we try to emulate the way great speakers capture our interest? Great advice.