Best Employees

Best Employees – Who?

While listening to Fresh Air on NPR recently, I was captivated by a top Fortune 500 manager’s statement that some of his best employees are former athletes and performers.


Because they know how to show up!

You’ve likely heard the of the US Postal service motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion….”

Well, what our top Fortune 500 manager knows is athletes and performers live by a similar creed with the addition of “injury nor illness  prevents us from showing up for our performances or games.”

For days after Sept. 11, 2001, public transportation was at a halt.  Did that stop the show on Broadway?  Almost, but the dedicated performers and support staff walked and rode bicycles great distances to show up in NYC theaters. Their urgency is borne of both passion and dedication to the art; to the show, and to their fellow team members.

Corporate management is now recognizing true dedication and commitment are what change the game and lead the way to better performance.

As a performer, dance educator, choreographer and now facilitator with Stand and Deliver Asheville,  I recognize the countless  intrinsic correlations between the art of performance (an artistic endeavor) and the art of presentation  (a business endeavor).Unknown

Famous actors, influential presenters and communicators tap into the rich resources of theater, voice training and body awareness in order to inspire and deeply affect others.

In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air, Jonn Hamm from Mad Men referred to how his father took up space by the way he sat. His father embodied a strong presence informing  Jonn in his role as Don Draper.

Here’s some examples of our alignments:

  • We seek some sort of response.
    For the presenter, a sale or new account.
    For the performer, applause is warmly welcomed!
  • We embody postures and aligned gestures with what is needed to be expressed and projected.
    Presenters exude presence and confidence.
    Performers engender the traits of their specific character.
  • We express feelings and emotions.
    Presenters set a compelling  vision or goal for the company.
    Performers grasp the emotions of their character.
  • We are aware simultaneously of ourselves, others and the big picture.
    Presenters: Of themselves, other colleagues, clients, staff  & the entire company.
    Performers: Of themselves, other performers,  the stage/theater space and the audience.

As Daniel Pink writes in To Sell is Human, “Sales and theater have much in common. Both take guts.”

My role as a facilitator and educator is to:

  • de-mystify the process of presentation for my clients
  • break it down into easily applied steps
  • ensure a sense of success with each session

A couple of weeks ago, a client expressed trepidation about the session. I checked in with her half-way through the session. “Oh, I’m fine now.” Those are musical words to my facilitator ears.