Coaching for performance

Having taught since she was eight years old, from Sunday school kids through to actors, stand up comics, improvisors, opera singers, corporates and at one point the whole of Dreamworld, it’s safe to say Lyn Pierse understands how to get the best performance from any student.

Also a stellar actor in her own right, Lyn is acutely aware of the vocal and physical elements that need to work together to communicate a message with clarity. For Lyn, whether it’s coaching someone to perform on stage, or preparing someone to present to a boardroom of executives or even their own team, the same principles apply “It’s about being your best authentic self, but in different modes,” she says. So for a corporate, this means knowing how to adapt your presentation and delivery for different environments a boardroom, a sales environment, or with clients. “Find a neutral stance in body and space and learn how to change and adapt yourself to get results,” says Pierse. “Sometimes it comes naturally, but for most, it’s something that needs to be learnt.”

Actor or corporate: everybody needs a coach

For those sales professionals who think they don’t need to constantly practice and learn, Pierse raises a fairly pointed question. If the likes of Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench are still working with voice coaches to hone their performance, why wouldn’t you? “Everybody needs a coach,” she says definitively.

What’s most important for sales professionals and actors alike is body language and the message this sends without you even being aware of it, explains Pierse. “By understanding and controlling how your body behaves – how you sit, stand and the space around you, you can learn to present yourself in a more meaningful way,” she says. “It’s knowing what your own body is doing, reading someone else’s body language and responding in kind.”

The voice is no different. In moments of fear, your mouth, just like your body, does things you aren’t even aware of. “You switch to auto rather than having colour, tone and pitch in your voice,” says Pierse. And while many think they can rely on the quality of what they’re delivering, the reality is it’s not what you say, but how you say it that ensures the listener hears. While so many sales professionals lament that they hate their voice, Pierse says “accepting your voice is like accepting your own face in the mirror”. “And while you can’t get plastic surgery on your voice, dye your voice or go to Jenny Craig for your voice, you can train it in the same way you would go to a gym. It’s about accepting it and then doing your best to improve it,” she says.

Where the stage and the boardroom differ

When rehearsing for a performance and learning to embody a character, actors have the benefit of a director and a constant voice coaching them from the side of stage. It’s through this repeated practice and critical feedback that actors are able to turn new mannerisms and characteristics into a habit and a natural behaviour. But this is where the stage and the boardroom differ. Without the benefit of a coach right of stage, what can sales professionals do to hone the delivery of their pitch in the same way?

That’s where the 60 Seconds app can help. “The genius of 60 Seconds is you have a coach there and a voice telling you it’s great or telling you to adjust your speed, voice, body language or breathe,” says Pierse. 60 Seconds is an app that allows sales professionals to rehearse and record their delivery, sharing it with their manager or peers to receive real-time feedback. It’s a way for corporates to reap the benefits of a constant coaching voice, anywhere, anytime. “Through exercises and feedback 60 Seconds can help you feel confident enough to speak with gravitas and bring your message home.”

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