Step Up! This Is No Time for Shrinking Violets

321060_3510There is an established institution in town that does good business going out to companies and using stage techniques to help them with their issues — management, leadership, creativity, etc.

So I was surprised to see an FAQ on their website in which they assure potential clients that, no, don’t worry, we won’t make your people get up in front of everyone and do something goofy.

What the hell?

I start my presentation by having two people come up and act out a scene from The Fugitive. It’s nothing crazy. Just a fun way to kick things off and it sends a signal right away that this is not going to be a boring, passive experience. It’s going to be engaging and interactive.

The first time I tried it, there was no shortage of volunteers. Of course, I was speaking to a group of professional actors, so it was a total hamfest.

Other groups have shown more reluctance, so I’ve decided to move the exercise back a bit and first establish some familiarity and, hopefully, trust. But I’m not going to let them off the hook. It’s a great activity and I’m keeping it in the repertoire.

As far as I’m concerned, if people are scared of something as simple as getting up in front of a group, how can they be trusted to carry out more important responsibilities like negotiating a big contract, meeting a deadline or keeping the organization’s finances in order?

It’s a tough world out there. Especially these days. It’s a time to step up, not blend into the woodwork.

Photo courtesy of Linden Laserna.