Thursday, March 04, 2010

9 Ways to Steal the Show without Stinking Up the Room

Contrary to the actions of Will Ferrell, you don’t need to strip down buck nekkid and run around the room like a drunken maniac to steal the show.

Although that technique does work pretty well.

True show-stealers are the ones whose energy, attitude, actions and words compose a vortex into which surrounding people can’t help but be sucked.

Whether you’re giving a speech, facilitating a brainstorming session, conducting a meeting or hosting a teleconference, here are nine ways to steal the show without stinking up the room:

1. Ask the question. The key question that governs my daily decision-making is: “What could I do – in this moment – that would be the exact opposite of everyone else?” This mindset is rooted in your willingness to (not) acquiesce to the status quo. Zigging where they zag. Being the opposite.

Throwing a wrench of uniqueness into the gear of normality. If you want a move that’s guaranteed to attract the attention of the people around you, this is it. What questions do you ask yourself before making decisions?

2. Be a disturbance. When asked about how he experienced Leonardo Davinci’s art, mentor and contemporary Sandro Botticelli explained, “My heart seems to stop beating for a moment – then starts beating stronger and fuller.”

If you want people to say that about you, here’s the secret: Enter with boldness. Grate people’s nerves. Make them squirm in their seats. Send them on mental journeys. In short: Evoke emotion – don’t create sensation. How do you disturb people?

3. Prepare less. As my mentor once told me, “Eventually you get to a point where you don’t need to stay up all night rehearsing. Your life is your preparation.” The secret is learning to tap your reservoir of insight at a moment’s notice. Of course, this isn’t easy.

Not only does it require a constant inflow of inspiration and ideas into your life, but also the confidence and vulnerability to trust your inner resources. To believe with all your heart that you can respond intelligently and immediately to whatever is said.

This takes practice and practice and practice. Just remember: If you focus on living a beautiful, admirable and character-rich life – that you’ve consistently reflected upon – you won’t to have to steal the show because it will already be in your possession. What’s your preparation process?

4. Emit quiet strength. A strong falcon hides its claws. True strength isn’t manifested through visible, overt features; rather, it rises to the surface without being ostentatious. As Lao Tzu explains in The Tao De Ching:

“When you show your strength, you appear weak … when you conceal your power, the more effectively it can be used … when you make your advantage less obvious, the more effective you power becomes.”

Lesson learned: If you want to steal the show – be a sleeper. Be underestimated. How are you sneaking up on people?

5. Occasionally prove your ruthlessness. In Steve Pressfield’s The War of Art, he suggests the following:

“A professional doesn’t let his signature grandstand for him. His style serves the material. He does not impose it as a means to drawing attention to himself. This doesn’t mean that the professional doesn’t throw down a 360-tomahawk jab from time to time, just to let the boys know he’s still in business.”

Lesson learned: Have your death stroke ready to be delivered. Tap into the courage required by the moment with firm foundation and immediate intent. Are you prepared to be devastating?

6. Give yourself a preemptive internal standing ovation. Comedian and speaker Judson Liapply once told me, “You have to believe that you are the most important person talking in the room. That what you are saying is something that audience has to hear. Because if you don't believe – neither will they.” Are you applauding internally before you take the stage?

7. Be a left fielder. When you make a comment or contribute an idea, begin your response with something seemingly unrelated and completely perpendicular to the topic at hand. Make people lean in and wonder, “Where the hell is he going with this?”

Then, at just the right moment, bring it back full circle. Drop a Michael Jordan style head fake. Sneak up on people with your unexpected response. This creates high impact and memorability through surprise. How often do you come out of left field?

8. Maintain a slightly skewed perspective on just about everything. A simple way to do so is to answer every question with, “Well, that depends on your definition of…” This type of thinking challenges people to reassess their baseline assumptions and return to the root of the word before assigning value to it.

It’s also a vocal hanger. A lean-in phrase. It leaves people on the edge of their seats, salivating for more, waiting to see what your definition of the word is. All you have to do is refuse to occupy the middle. How different of a dictionary are you using?

9. Command them eyeballs. Never underestimate the captivating power of props. Even if you’re not a visual person. This works. Try answering a question by excitedly taking something out of your wallet, bag, pocket or briefcase, and then showing it to your listener(s).

You’ll emit a sense of intrigue, mystique and delightful ambiguity. This is guaranteed to suck people into your vortex of fascination. Lean to be delightfully ambiguous. What do you do that makes people watch with breathless interest?

In conclusion, I’d like to share another passage from The Tao De Ching:

When you speak less, you say more.
When you don’t boast, you advance.
When you do less, you become more.
When you don’t make claims, you get credited.
When you show your strength, you appear weak.
When you argue the loudest, you appear the wrongest.
When you don’t display yourself, you become illuminated.
When you don’t define yourself, you become distinguished.
When you conceal your power, the more effectively it can be used.
When you make your advantage less obvious, the more effective you power becomes.

REMEMBER: You can still steal the show without stinking up the room.

No matter what Will Ferrell says.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a show-stealer?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "27 Reasons People Aren't Listening to You," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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