I’ve always enjoyed watching the singing competitions on TV – it reminds me of the days when I auditioned for shows, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. It was all an adventure in trying to master your skills and sell yourself.
The judges in these competitions are clearly looking not only for great singers, but those with the “It” factor. Even if they are really talented singers, they aren’t going to make it if they don’t have charisma. “You have to have the likeability factor if you’re going to be a star!” they warn them.
I can see the confusion on the kids’ faces. I know they must be thinking “How do I do likeable?”
But you can tell who has “It”, too, can’t you? It’s written on their faces, in their body language, and in their energy. You can feel it.
I’d like to get all those kids in a room for 2 hours and coach them how to do it. The judges just know it when they see it – they don’t know how to teach them to do it. “Go for it!” and “Don’t be nervous” are useless instructions to people who are afraid of the moment instead of enjoying the moment.
Now, you may not be a singer or ever want to be on “American Idol”. But wouldn’t you like to be a star in your field? How would your life change if your personal presence was so magnetic that people were clamoring to work with you?
It’s a technique that can be learned.
Marilyn Monroe knew it. She and her friend, Susan Strasberg, were walking down a New York Street one afternoon and no one was paying them any attention at all. Susan remarked how strange it was that no one noticed the famous movie star Marilyn Monroe was right in their midst. Marilyn turned to her and said, “Oh, you want to see me be her?”
Marilyn straightened up, threw her head back, smiled, and lit up the street with charisma. Suddenly, heads started turning, people pointed and the crowd rushed to surround the star! It’s like she flipped an inner switch from private to public persona.
Now, I’m not saying you should try to be Marilyn Monroe. Trying to copy someone else is the biggest mistake you can make. But you can turn heads with your own brand of charisma, and attract the people who need, want, and can benefit from what you have to offer. And get paid—really well paid!—for doing what you love!
I smile at myself writing about this, considering how terrible I was at presenting myself when I started out. I was one of the fearful ones who’s acting teacher yelled “Don’t be nervous!” at me. (Not a very helpful instruction). My knees and hands shook when I got up in front of people.
And then, one day on an Oregon summer stock stage, I got it. I had practiced a song “I Can’t Say No” from “Oklahoma that suited me perfectly – it was pert and funny. I felt comfortable with it, and I thought I did it well. But what would other people think??
Then I had a new thought: I had to enjoy performing for myself, or no one else was going to enjoy it. And to really love it full tilt, I had to stop caring what other people thought of me. Seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it works: