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How to Receive a Standing Ovation – Get Naked!

A standing ovation is a spontaneous emotional response from an audience that is moved deeply by a speaker or performer.

The only way to earn a standing ovation is to get naked! I don’t mean take off all your clothes, I mean take off all protection and pretense, and be emotional.

When a presenter is so open that she risks being vulnerable to judgment and shares her thoughts with pure emotion, she touches the hearts of listeners.

For speakers, the way to earn a standing ovation is to tell your deeper story.  Tell the story that you don’t want to tell.  And, while you are telling it, allow yourself to feel it all again so that your audience also feels what you feel.

I once coached a skilled professional speaker on her keynote talk. She wanted to earn standing ovations. She knew something was needed in her talk. As I watched her talk, I realized she was good, she had a good message and a good story; but, something was missing for me.  It was just OK for me.  All I could do was coach her on her style. We worked on that for a while.

Then, we took a break and started to talk over a snack.  She took off her professional speaker mask and shared the two stories where her message really came from. Her son had died in an auto accident and she went into a long depression.  Eventually she came out of it and decided to speak, but she never let herself tell those stories.  She said she thought they were inappropriate and would depress people.

It took some persuasion on my part, but I finally convinced her to tell those stories.  We practiced and crafted them so that she could let some feeling flow as she shared them. The next time she spoke, she received a standing ovation.  And she continued to receive them thereafter. She was finally telling the real stories and giving her feelings as a gift.

I often coach business presenters who are nervous and whose voices quiver and who judge themselves harshly for having so much feeling. They want to remove all the feeling so they can be appropriate.  I tell them to let it come out rough. Let the emotion cause a quiver in the voice.  Give that feeling to the audience like a gift.  Make it right, not wrong. After all, business is about making connection with people. People want to do business with people they trust.  If you take all your emotion out of business, it is boring and people can’t trust you.

If you want to earn standing ovations, bring your emotion and offer it to your listeners. The vibration of your emotion will strike the ears of their hearts and they will stand up to show their appreciation.

Maybe because I was trained as an actress, I know how to help uncover your real stories. Actors learn how to allow their real feelings to shine through on stage in front of audiences, so actors are great coaches for professional speakers. Let me know if I can help you open to receiving standing ovations.

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