The fear of important discussions and public appearances manifests itself in our childhood, says Angela Elis. In an interview, the moderator and communication trainer explains how you use the IPR method to combat excitement and appear charismatic.
Ms. Elis, when was the last time you had stage fright before a performance or an interview?
Angela Elis: Just yesterday. I presented my new book live in an online meeting. At an event like this, I never know who’s on the other end of the screen. I’m always excited and I never feel sure that I’ll succeed. But my experience has taught me to see excitement and stage fright as a good thing. In such a situation, many are afraid that they will make a fool of themselves or fail. But that hardly ever happens. That’s why I now use stage fright as driving force. For me, that’s a sign that I’m focused and that things should start now.
Your new book contains 45 practical tips for such situations. Which is the first you would name?
Elis: With so many tips that I reveal in the book, it really depends on what problem I’m having at the moment. Is it about finding crisp core messages or do I have a problem with my voice or charisma? But what always goes down well is my charisma check. I assume that everyone has charisma and just has to cherish and nurture it. My test readers always liked to leaf through it first.
How does the check work?
Elis: Everyone has charisma within them. Just look at how people react to babies. Everyone has a pull effect and we all had that too, at least at the beginning of our life and the question is how and through what we lost it and what we can do to unfold it again. Most of the time we are told by parents, teachers or other adults that we should be different in some way and that we are not good enough as we are. This causes us to lose our natural charisma and charisma. If we want to revive that, it starts with liking yourself and being at peace with yourself. The next step is to have a vision of what you want to achieve in the world. If you radiate both, then you don’t have to be loud and dominant. Think of the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa. These are rather reserved characters, but very charismatic.
The book is divided according to your IPR formula. What’s behind the letters?
Elis: From my experience as a moderator and coach, I have worked out three building blocks for successful communication and a convincing performance. These are I for content, P for personality and R for resonance structure. The problem is that most people completely overestimate the content. We are all familiar with overloaded power point presentations full of facts and figures with 50 slides in 10 minutes. This is often a form of self-protection or an expression of a deeper insecurity: people hide behind mountains of knowledge because they don’t dare to show their personality. The effect of my personality – verbally and non-verbally – as well as the resonance structure – i.e. the question of how do I establish a connection to my listeners – are underestimated. The IPR is my method of building the content short and sweet, while expressing your personality and building a relationship with the audience.
How do I best structure my content?
Elis: First of all, answer two questions. First, what is the purpose of what you want to say? Second, what appeals to you the most? The answer to the first question keeps you focused and doesn’t say anything unimportant. With the second, I found that the things that interest me most about content are also the things that engage audiences the most. Sometimes it takes a bit of courage to stand up for yourself and your common sense and not just ask yourself what you might like.
How do I shine with my personality?
Elis: It’s a broad field, but the most important thing for me is that you use venture capital. By that I mean that you dare to show yourself with your feelings and your individuality. I always say: identification takes precedence over argument. How people feel about me has a much bigger impact than what I say. This is the point that is mostly ignored.
What is resonance structure?
Elis: The idea behind this is to understand communication not as a one-way street, but as one-way traffic. It’s always about dialogue and about building connections and a relationship with the other person. The easiest way to do this is to ask questions. Instead of texting people, ask a question. Of course, a successful resonance build-up also includes quick-wittedness and the icing on the cake, charisma.
Important conversations with customers or the boss, presentations in front of others or even a speech bring beads of sweat to the forehead of most people. In our webinar, communication expert and moderator Angela Elis shows how you can make your quality visible in such situations and how you can draw people in. To this end, on Thursday, September 22, from 7 p.m., she will be presenting the IPR formula she has developed. GET YOUR TICKET HERE!
When I have the salary negotiation or the speech, the emergency is already there. How do I train all these aspects beforehand?
Elis: First you have to get to your pain points. For example, do you always have a falsetto or squeaky voice when you talk? Do you always get super excited before an interview or a performance? Then you should be wondering where that came from. In the coaching process I often experience that there are original experiences. Maybe there were situations at school where you were called to the blackboard, blushed and everyone laughed at you. Sometimes you need to go there and become aware of that pain again. Then you can integrate it into your behavior today, for example by reminding yourself that it used to be, but it’s over now and you’re stronger and more mature now.
Secondly, it is about gaining desire for something. The starting point is to ask yourself what you actually want, where you want to develop and what your goal is. When I started my career, I was always completely stiff when performing. When I saw that later, I thought to myself: “Hey, that’s not me at all. How do I get the Angela that I am in front of this camera and to the viewers?” That doesn’t change with a snap of the fingers, of course, it’s a process. But if you want to develop into it, then you can learn it. The easiest way is like in sports with a good coach.
What role do physical conditions such as age, gender, physique and so on play?
Elis: For me, everyone has potential, no matter how old or what gender, everyone can develop further. But it is important that everyone sticks to their type. Anyone who is otherwise reserved should not try to suddenly play the stage pig. That seems unbelievable. Everyone can make something out of their individual type and have an effect, he or she just has to really want it and be ready to set out. By the way, my motto in coaching is: There are no difficult cases, something always works.
Let’s say I do everything you’ve said so far. Now I’m on the verge of an emergency and I can already feel the sweat breaking out on my forehead. What do I do now?
Elis: My first statement on this is: advertised insecurity is better than feigned security. Let’s assume you are a scientist who usually does research in the laboratory and is not in front of an audience, but is now supposed to present his research results. I would advise him to stand in front of the lectern and say: “Ladies and gentlemen, speaking in front of an audience is not natural for me. I usually stand in the lab. But today I would like to present my research results to you. Please forgive me for being so excited.” Then it doesn’t matter if you take out your handkerchief and wipe off the beads of sweat. I guarantee you the audience will be on your side and show sympathy because everyone knows situations of excitement. Then feel with me.
Otherwise, rituals are also helpful. Sometimes it helps to just take a deep breath or relax. Others have a scented oil on their wrist and sniff it briefly, or have a talisman in their pocket. Everyone has to find out for themselves what helps them. It is important to be able to deal with fear or other emotional states and to be able to manage them instead of just being at their mercy.
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