Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Shown below are often asked questions from our clients.
Please feel free to contact Eli Simon for any additional questions you may have.
Q: How did you develop Power Speech?
A: I developed Power Speech by modifying theatre training techniques for non-actors and then testing them to prove their effectiveness in the business world. Power Speech gives nervous speakers confidence, weak speakers strength, and boring speakers the means to captivate a restless audience. The techniques are designed to deepen your sense of conviction and broaden your range of influence over others.
Q: Does this mean I need to become an actor?
A: The moment your presentation begins, you are acting the role of presenter. This does not mean that you’re pretending to be a presenter. Nor does it mean that you must become someone else in order to fulfill your task. Radically altering your true persona – also called “character acting” – will only confuse your audience and muddy your performance. Your best bet is to magnify your true persona by “playing through yourself.” We admire famous film actors precisely because they look/sound exactly the way we are accustomed to seeing/hearing them on the big screen. We seem to just know who they are; their appeal changes very little from one movie to the next. Famous actors who played through themselves – Cary Grant, John Wayne, Jimmy Dean, and Marilyn Monroe – used talent and technique to ensure consistent performances. Their ability to deliver the goods time and again gave them enough star power to fuel box office hits. This is a smart way to do business; it has nothing to do with phoniness, misrepresentation, or exaggeration. But it has everything to do with maximizing personal truths, with being utterly believable so that people experience the truth of what they see and hear.
Q: Who uses Power Speech?
A: Power Speech is used by a wide range of speakers – including physicians, CEO’s, salespeople, garage mechanics, teachers at all levels of education, motivational speakers, scientists, artists, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.
Q: What about using Power Speech techniques at work?
A: Within a given day at work, you might very well find yourself playing the roles of leader, analyst, devil’s advocate, problem solver, and public speaker. Needless to say, these are vastly differing roles that necessitate highly developed performance techniques. The roles you must play are constantly shifting in order to accommodate:
1. Your need to accomplish specific objectives.
2. The pressures and obstacles you face in accomplishing these objectives.
3. The other “actors” (colleagues, office staff, clients) in the scene with you.
4. What happens on a moment-to-moment basis.
Q: Doesn’t this all make me sound too rehearsed?
A: When you give a presentation, the words you use are your script. For some speeches, you must follow a rigid script that was written (like a play) prior to your performance. For other speeches, you must be able to improvise freely. Either way, like an actor, your presentation effectiveness is determined by how well you deliver your lines. You must strive to make your presentation sound both conversational and convincing. Your delivery affects whether you are perceived as trustworthy and this, ultimately, determines whether you have the power be persuasive.
Q: What If I have a lousy speech to deliver?
A: Nobody is excited by ideas alone. People react to oratory excellence. Great speakers can read the phone book and, by making brilliant choices, enthrall their audience. In other words, you can make people listen by holding the stage with physical and vocal expressiveness. Thus, if you are stuck with a weak script, you can use Power Speech techniques to make those lousy lines take flight. This is when having technique saves the day and is downright fun.
Q: What else can you tell me about being an actor?
A: It’s interesting to note that your presentation goals are identical to film actors with star power. In order to look and sound your best, you must hone your stage presence. You maximize your presentation skills so that the audience finds you riveting. You deepen the truths of your message so that people really “get” what you are saying and come to trust your wisdom. You leave them wanting more so that they’re eager to return for another command performance. And to top it off, you gauge the audience like an old pro based on the laughter, groans and/or applause you receive. Wouldn’t it be great to receive a standing ovation every time you took the stage? You can do it! Just remember: If you aren’t presenting to the best of your capabilities it isn’t because you aren’t acting. You are always acting. It’s just that you aren’t acting well.
Q: What can I accomplish if I’m not naturally expressive?
A: Don’t worry. Few presenters begin with an innate ability to act. Even if you’ve suffered from stage fright your entire life, you probably have a keen awareness of what it takes to act, and act well. For example, when you were a teenager, you had to convince your parents to give you the car keys so that you could go out on a date. The promises you made were part of a carefully calculated plan to get what you wanted (the keys _ the car _ the date). You were acting, using the extent of your persuasive skills to convince mom and dad that you deserved their trust. You may have willingly played on their sense of compassion, guilt, duty, or love in order to influence this “key” decision. Later in life, the roles may be reversed: You withhold the car keys until your teenager agrees to drive carefully and return the car with a full tank of gas by ten. At one time or another, the actor in you may have played both of the featured roles in this particular scene. In order to achieve your goal – regardless of whether you were the key taker or giver – you were forced to give a persuasive performance. Even if you’ve never thought you were much of an actor, you’ve been busy acting all your life, trying to get what you want through an increased level of persuasive clarity. There’s a little bit of ham in everyone – life makes sure of it.
Q: Can you tell me more about yourself?
A: Some background: I’m a Professor of Acting at the University of California, Irvine. For the past seventeen years, I have trained actors and directed plays for a living. How did I become a corporate trainer? The different hats I wear – acting coach, theatre director, and seminar leader – are woven of the same fabric. Whether I’m working in an acting studio, rehearsal hall, or hotel ballroom, my techniques are based on theatre training principles. I’ve lived and breathed these techniques for the entirety of my professional career. They have proven effective for high performers in education, theatre, and the business world. Thus, theatre training is the driving force behind every fact of Power Speech seminars.
Q: Am I alone in my fear of public speaking?
A: Not at all! Most of the people I train suffered from an acute fear of speaking yet nearly everyone was intent on overcoming those fears. As you probably know, fear of speaking doesn’t feel good, especially when it undermines your ability to perform well under pressure. I discovered that Power Speech worked for everyone who had a true desire to improve, an open mind, and, most importantly, time to practice.
Q: What’s the real key to improving my speaking skills?
A: Practice makes perfect. You can’t swallow a magic Power Speech training pill and transform into a dazzling speaker overnight. I wish that you could – it would certainly save time. But Power Speech doesn’t work that way. You’ve heard it before, and it is just as true here: Practice makes perfect. High performers the world over achieve success through two principles:
1. Acquire solid techniques.
2. Practice those techniques until the cows come home.
These two fundamental rules hold true for race car drivers, tennis players, jazz musicians, opera singers, and ballerinas. For example, a tennis professional must learn how to hit effective ground strokes, serves, and volleys. Each of these shots requires proper balance, racquet position, and body motions. Once the athlete learns these techniques, she must perfect her shots by hitting six thousand balls a day. Lackluster practice leads to unforced errors, missed points, and lost matches. Masterful technique leads to sizzling winners and championship trophies. A concert pianist confronts similar issues. Practicing scales lays the groundwork for interpreting and executing intricate passages. And only a fool would enter the Indianapolis 500 without having driven in circles countless times. How does a driver keep his cool and control a racing machine that is traveling around impossible curves at high speeds while other maniacs are trying to edge him off the track? You guessed it: practice, practice, practice.
Q: Any final words of encouragement?
A: You might still be thinking that you would never give a live performance of your own free will. Remember that even if you have no innate desire to act, you can still improve your stage presence through diligent practice. It isn’t as complex as brain surgery nor as terrifying as a tooth extraction. Quite the contrary, improving your presentation skills is exciting, revelatory, and fun. Think of yourself as an explorer standing at the launch pad, ready to commence your Power Speech journey. You believe that you have the “right stuff” to acquire new presentation skills; you have the determination to improve and the willingness to practice. Power Speech techniques are your rocket fuel. And the sky’s the limit.