faq for business skills
(for actors please click here)
What do you specialise in?
My areas of interest are presenting with confidence skills, which include both physical and mental aspects of being a powerful speaker. Another area of my research and work is on negotiation skills, power attained through diffusion and careful attention to detail. This is based largely on Sun Tsu's theories, although influenced by other great thinkers throughout history including recent findings from cognitive psychology and evolutionary psychology including Michael Shermer's work on the mind of markets.
I get nervous when I have to present or speak in front of others.
Welcome to the rest of us! Failure to communicate well is one of the old ingrained evolutionary taboos- for the better part of 96,000 years the consequences of it were almost always fatal, either personally or to others. We come with a built-in fear response to speaking in front of others.
How do I overcome it?
You can't. That fear response seems to sit directly in the amygdala, a part of the brain that is one of the oldest in many species, including reptiles. It is active from birth, meaning the chances of you being able to employ other cognitive tools to 'cure it' are highly unlikely. What this goes to show is that 'getting over it' is the wrong question. You can't get over it, nor should you, it's a rather valuable part of your bran. What can be targeted, however, is your appraisal of the response. This is entirely cognitive in nature, and magnifies the fear response. The result is a type of Pavlovian stimulus-response to perceived risk and hazard, and bringing your interpretation of the feelings you experience when speaking in front of others in line with a healthier, more rational appraisal will do more for you than thousands of hours of 'master your fears' exercises.
Will acting exercises make me better at what I do?
No. This may spark some controversy among my peers, but acting exercises are designed for the needs of a specific medium and market. They only can help in a general way, and without modification would largely waste time. Within them, however, are principles highly relevant to speaking and power, such as attention to detail, investment in behaviour, reading body language, and much more. This is what is of value in business- the shell they come in simply begins the work.
What are your rates?
My rates are dependent on the nature of the project. On principle I never make the first quote, and will ask you to initiate that part of the conversation when it is relevant.
Do you offer individual sessions as well?
Yes. Individual sessions tend to be more focused on the dynamics of individual personality and its development rather than working in front of a group.
How do I contact you?
Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with your aims and needs and I will respond and let you know if I might be a good match for you.