It was mid-summer, and I was getting ready for a live event. The crowd was supposed to be a grand one with dignitaries coming from various fields. I was a bit iffy.
Our entire team had worked hard on the client’s briefs. We prepared an interesting script with dialogues, which I was to present along with my co-host.
All set, I waited backstage for my co-host 30 minutes before the show was to begin. Soon one of our team members informed my co-host had met with a small accident. He’d fractured his ankle. I instantly reacted, “Oh! Now, what”? The obvious answer was I was to host the show all by myself! Is it the end of my world, hell no!
The script and all the practice was now rendered useless. It was a huge open-air stage with the seats completely filled. And I was feeling the weight on my shoulders, will I make it or break it.
I took a deep breath and reminded myself of my motto – My audience is my King, and here I am to serve a larger purpose. I said to myself, “Pracchi time to go full throttle and Shine your Light”.
An anchor can take the show to heavens or bury it in the ashes of dust. It was all in my hands to elevate this experience to a memorable one.
During my initial days as an anchor, I was taught that anchoring centered around the three E’s – Engage, Entertain and Educate. That’s what I do best!
The stage was like my playground. My childhood memories flashed – when I would hold the ice-cream cone and talk like I was addressing the world. My brother thought I was a loony. My parents found me cute yet silly.
All I needed now was some presence of mind and to go impromptu. There I was on the stage brimming with high energy and a wide smile to instantly captivate the audience! I knew that’s the best way to get the audience’s energy high! With a cheerful ‘Hi’ I greeted the audience and welcomed them to the grand event. I played the host like it was my first day, I played to fill their hearts with joy and gave my best.
It was a collaboration between me, the client, and the audience, where I was the connecting force. I completely took ownership and accountability of what I was doing. Now it was me and the audience, the rest didn’t matter. Besides, I never missed eye-contact with the audience! My heart thumped with their heartbeats.
To make the show even livelier I decided to go amidst the crowd. It gets you closer to them and it’s easier to bond. I involved the audience by throwing a few questions at them and cracking a few one-liners. I gave them comfort and that reminded me of my purpose to connect and ignite the minds of my audience. And here I am the inferno, the icebreaker, the voyage.
I was conscious that there needs to be a binding factor that holds the show together to make it interesting and spontaneous. The cue was to start where one segment ended and draw a connection to the next. It was all a conversation with the audience rather than talking at them.
Voice modulation and dialogue delivery had always been my USP. So I was simply being the authentic me modulating my voice to a high or low pitch as the situation demanded.
Of course, before setting foot on the stage I couldn’t help feeling anxious! I believe stage fear and anxiety is always there like a devil to attack you but you need to control it and center yourself with deep breathing, chanting and being mindful, and calm
The key is to never take yourself too seriously! The best bet is to be focused yet have fun with your work! I am always that little girl with an ice cream cone entertaining the world with my non-stop chatter.
When I went for my first live presentation I was filled with so many “what ifs”. But over time I got used to the stage and being around people and developed my own techniques to handle nervousness and anxiety. Now the stage talks for me, the stage fills up for my silence.
With a little practice, preparation, and patience you too can develop a knack for delivering spontaneous and effective live presentations. All you need to do is get rid of your inhibitions and whenever an inner demon creeps in, simply take action and Shine your Light!