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Getting an Audience to Love You

Class Notes: Getting an Audience to Love You with Rives

Storyteller and poet, Rives, is the star of  Bravo’s special, “Ironic Iconic America.” A regular on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, he’s the co-host of the TEDActive simulcast event in Palm Springs. Offstage, Rives designs and writes pop-up books.

Rives TED Talk : 4am

Rives Profile on TED

We were lucky enough to have Rives join us in class for an improvised performance workshop with our students. Out of it, emerged a list of wildly useful tricks and tips. Displayed as transcribed by us (we heard at least 34 gems).

1. Meet as many people in the audience as you can.
2. When you are a speaker, be the best audience member.
3. Let people know when you start and when you are about to end.
4. Put on a persona. Sometimes easier to play a role than to be yourself.
5. Stop and pop! Land before you speak.
6. Time limit should be a ceiling. Not a goal. Think of it as a max.
7. No “um,” “like,” etc. (but you might do it sometimes)
8. More eye contact. (imagine everyone  in the audience has laser vision, your job is to extinguish each and every laser by looking each audience member in the eye)
9. US presidents can die of Cholera. James K Polk did.
10. Always go personal.
11. Use present tense when you tell a story.
12. Go to the last seat in the theater you are performing in and see how you look. The stage subtracts at least 15% of you. Make your motions & your persona 15% bigger.
13. Take a risk. If it doesn’t land, screw it.
14. Pay attention.
15. Hands out of your pockets? If having them in doesn’t make you seem meek.
16. Public speaking is like sex. In your life, it will happen to you. And if it does, you want to be good about it.
17. When you come into the venue. Take the stage before you go up (so you can get a feel for it).
18. You can always go shorter.
19. Get your speech till how you want it. Get it perfect. Then make yourself cut something out of it.
20. You are the boss. It’s you.
21. Flirt with the camera. Include the camera people in your vamp.
22. Make friends with the camera man. You’ll get good shots.
23. An audience doesn’t respond to awkwardness.
24. Go up with a partner. Let your personalities be different. Collaborations give you variation.
25. Vary your speech pattern so it feels like a roller coaster.
26. Number one fear = you might screw up your talk. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. (Try it with Larry King loud on the TV. While holding one leg behind your back. If you can do it with those restrictions, you can do it.)
27. Keep to your time. Write and rehearse a shorter talk.
28. Use what you have.
29. Quote others.
30. When you mention another person (especially a loved one), use their name.
31. One message (per slide).
32. Get right to the point.
33. Planning gets you an A. An A+ comes from using the room and happenstance in the moment.
34. Nerves. Deep breaths help.

 

That’s a long list. Here are 5 to remember. 

5. Stop and pop! Land before you speak.
6. Time limit should be a ceiling. Not a goal. Think of it as a max.
11. Use present tense when you tell a story.
25. Vary your speech pattern so it feels like a roller coaster.
31. One message (per slide).

 



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