Always on Stage: Performance
People observe and form impressions about one another as part of their daily interactions. We can assume that we are on stage every day and that our performance may affect not only us but other people as well.
We can influence the impressions that we leave with people when we:
- Take responsibility for our performance
- Give a credible performance
- Prepare for the performance
- Give our best performance
There are two hats that we might wear when giving our best performance. The first is when we know that we are on the stage, we know our audience and we have a message to deliver. This is a more obvious performance. We showed up in order to perform.
The second hat is when we don’t know that we are on the stage, we may or may not know our audience, and we’re not aware of the message that we are delivering. This is the most common stage performance. It is our everyday activity and how we relate to people in our environment.
The interesting thing about the performance is that it will happen regardless of whether we are responsible, credible, and prepared. People will form an opinion of us based on how we engage their senses and emotions. We must appeal to their senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching) and their emotions (excitement, empathy, credibility, compassion, concern, motivation, inspiration, sympathy, relation).
Let’s look first at a few pure performances. I saw a young man with large rings hanging from his lower lip, one ring from his nose, one from the bridge of his nose, two each from his eyebrows, and multiple piercings in his ears. Needless to say, I was impressed. He was on the life stage making a statement.
The next performance was by a young salesman in a sporting good store. He was focused on helping his customers. He engaged with them to find and fulfill their needs. He was dressed, however, more to his taste than the taste of his customers. People appreciated his assistance, but they talked about his attire.
The final performance was observed at a church service. The deacon was giving the sermon and the priest was falling asleep. Both ministers were on stage but one message was inspirational and the other was entertaining.
The common denominator of the three performances was how they made me feel. Each performance appealed to my senses. My opinion of the performance was based on my senses and my previous knowledge or understanding of the presentation.
The audience brings their senses and their opinions to our performances. The successful performance, getting your message across, must appeal to those senses in a positive way. The senses are the sentry to learning. The senses will decide whether to develop or defer a relationship…the learning experience.
In the first performance, the young man with the lip and nose rings was comfortable in his social environment. Outside of that environment, people had to decide, based on their level of tolerance to facial jewelry, whether to engage or defer. There was a visual assault. Their Sense Sentry had to make a decision that might prevent any further relationship.
In the second performance, the young man appealed to most of the senses. He looked good and had an engaging personality. The Sense Sentry approved the relationship. The relationship moved forward to the opinion/knowledge level of the customer (audience). When all the performance was analyzed, the final opinion was based on the dress style.
In the third performance, the performance was appealing to the senses and interpretation. The environment, the priest falling asleep, was a distraction from the performance. It was a good performance but the information that reached the audience was filtered through the distraction.
We are always on stage. Even when we are responsible, credible, well prepared and give a stellar performance, things can happen that are out of our control. A microphone malfunctions, we break a heel, a baby cries, a cell phone rings…and they take the call. A wise man told me one time, control the things that you can control and don’t worry about the things that you can’t control.
In “It’s Not What I Know…It’s How I Learned It”, the message is to focus on the things that you can control and not to worry about the things that you can’t. One thing that I learned was that the more I learned, the more I read, the more I studied, the more things I could control.
You are always on stage. Make every performance one of your best.
Make it a great day