When the Well Runs Dry: Priming the Creative Pump

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Let’s face it: Even the most seasoned speakers and performers among us experience the feeling of being “tapped out,” of having their creative or emotional well run dry. It’s not always easy having to “come up with it” time after time, speech after speech, audience after audience. Sometimes, too many consecutive days on the road, or a couple of tough audiences in a row can leave us feeling tired, raw and cranky. And yet, there we are, facing yet another performance, another presentation, another audience. And our audience is expecting us to be at our best, even if we’re not …

The Fallen Actor

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My coaching clients often ask me “What should I do if something horrible happens while I’m giving my speech? What if I completely lose my place/trip as I walk to the podium and scatter my notes/go utterly blank?” My answer is this: Take a lesson from the Fallen Actor. By the third mind-blowing day of the International Performing Arts for Youth conference, I had seen so much amazing, brilliantly produced theatre and storytelling for children, that I was convinced I couldn’t be further impressed. I was dead wrong. The magic happened in a small dark theatre, as I watched two …

SPEEK’s Process Work: Beginning, Middle and (No) End.

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Someone recently asked me to define what I call “Process Work.” I thought about it for a couple of minutes and said, “Process work is the work we do on a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis—on ourselves as people, and on the skills and talents that we use in our chosen career path. Process work has a beginning, a middle and no end—It is work that spans and defines our lifetimes.” Anyone who has ever opted for Psychotherapy understands the concept—and value—of process work—as do professional actors. Actors understand that the process of learning to be the best actor they can be …

The Imps of Fear

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When it comes to public speaking, we all face fear, to a certain degree. I like to imagine that we have little Imps of Fear, dancing gleefully on our shoulders, whispering in our ears: “You stink! You’re gonna fail! Everyone will see you’re (pick one) a fraud/ stupid/ a jerk!!!!” Sometimes they are easy to shoo away– but sometimes they are loud enough to pull us off task– if we let them. Debra Messing, who plays Grace on television’s WILL AND GRACE, is apparently terrified of public speaking– and this is a seasoned actress who has no trouble facing a …