Only 424 days ’til the U.S. presidential election. Are you ready?
Let’s say you have an audition for the role of President of the United States, a part that could cause your acting career to skyrocket, and the audition is today! How do you prepare? What would you do in your audition to secure the gig?
And let’s say you’ve done your prep—you’re identifying Donald or Hillary or your fave free world leader of the past. You’re set!
You get to the audition. There’s a casting director and a camera to record your brilliance. And let’s throw in the producer/client as well just to supercharge your adrenaline.
You deliver your best ever President and then get direction:
“Great. Can you please be more presidential?”
You adjust and deliver again.
“Ok, but we could really use more of a presidential quality.”
You pause, give the director a slight smile cuz you thought you were being that and wonder what they really want, then churn a bit inside and deliver yet again.
“More….more…..you know, pres-i-den-tial.”
What the hell?! First, you thought you were doing your best version of presidential and three times in a row they’re asking for more of…..that.
In keynotes or workshops, I don’t ask the large Audience to be more presidential, but I do ask them, when I clap my hands, to do their best version physically of “executive presence”. Same thing, right? You know, leadership presence, whatever you want to call “it”.
It’s amazing to watch what people do, physically, to address the challenge. Some straighten up in their chairs, others put down their electronic device (ah, so that’s a distraction from “it”?) and one guy stopped drinking from his water bottle and set it aside since we all know that leaders don’t drink water!
Fascinating, and true. What you think is manifested in your body, so hey, do whatever you can to show leadership quality.
And there’s the rub—it’s darn difficult to authentically play a quality or a “state of being” which is what our audition exercise asked of you—“be presidential”. C’MON! DO IT! RIGHT NOW the director demands.
What’s different about this from what you’re asked to do it business? To play a certain role. To “be” more “this or that” as revealed in your performance review?
When faced with a situation where you’re asked to act differently, steal the secret actors use to more effectively play their roles. Translate “presidential” into the Actions that people who are presidents/executives/leaders play as they interact with others.
Actions are what we do to people, how we treat them, so some may come to mind for you. Watching the candidate debates the other day to purposefully look for these Actions, I saw “To Convince”, “To Assure”, “To Challenge” and one of the most dangerous Actions, “To Impress”. Watching these same leaders recover from a faux pas in interviews? Well, there’s quite a bit of “To Deflect” going on!
Knowing that many of you are leaders or on the path, you’ve got a great instinctive or learned take on how to behave and what to do to look the part. It’s when you’re challenged to extend your role into uncomfortable territory that translating qualities into Actions proves especially valuable.
With the election maneuverings going on, watch leaders and those that wanna be. What are they doing to others? What Actions do they play?
There lies the core of getting the part.
Your stage. Your performance. You’re on!