Some of us have to “wear more than one hat” for our livelihoods and on the occasion that one accomplishment or effort can fuel another, we get to truly witness and subsequently share the fruits of our labors.
Some of you may not know this about me, but in addition to being a professional speaker, communication coach and trainer, I am also a professional actress. In fact, I chose to start my communication coaching business because of my acting background. I’ll clarify. Briefly. (My advice, always.) As an actor, it is your job to entertain an audience and to be confident and specific in your choices so that your performance is more dynamic, engaging and effective. The audience gets to relax because they trust your ability to do your job well; they enjoy your performance and hopefully come away with some real value. Inspiration comes, as we know, in a variety of packages.
Oh wait; did I just describe the relationship of ANY speaker with an audience? Aye, there’s the rub. All of the tools and techniques I have learned as an actor are the same for any speaker with any audience. No matter the medium.
So, for these past 9 weeks with 3 to go, I have had the privilege of portraying Amanda in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie”. We had a sold out run at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and I am currently touring the East Coast. It is most certainly an iconic role in an American Classic and therefore challenging, daunting and at the onset, downright terrifying. As actors, we are always asked, “How did you learn all those lines?” The answer is usually met with something like, “It’s part of the job”. But this time, I must admit, I struggled. I was petrified not only of being able to hold all of those magnificent words in my brain, but also of being able to place my own stamp on a mammoth role played by a legion of legendary actresses before me. And during this whole process, which, incidentally, has been one joyful, happy dream-come-true, I kept hearing myself speaking to my clients about all of the ways you can conquer your fear by making a speech your own, creating something of value and forming a relationship with your audience. When that happens, it is magic. And that, my friends, is heaven. A win-win.
I am beyond grateful for this opportunity, as it has made me braver and more confident in my ability. I consider it a huge battery recharge and an affirmation of what I believe is a key to success. You must certainly be prepared, but, more importantly; you must love what you do. And don’t let fear keep you from sharing it with the world.
Wendy Scharfman is a professional speaker, communication coach and trainer. She is the founder of Coaching for Effective Communication, a business she created to help her clients become dynamic, confident speakers who can inspire action by delivering a message that matters. Wendy specializes in Leadership Training and Team Building, Public Speaking Competencies, Message Refinement and Media Training.