The Transformation – Part 4

Today we look at your relationship with the audience.

Welcome to our podcast where we explore how to connect with your audience as a performer. Whether you're a musician, actor, public speaker, or any other type of performer, your ability to engage your audience is critical to your success.

We'll dive into the art of audience connection. We'll explore techniques and strategies to help you create an emotional connection with your audience, understand their needs and desires, and deliver a memorable performance that leaves them wanting more.

If you missed the first episodes of this series you can find them here: The Courageous Performer Podcast

Podcast 13 Title

The Courageous Performer Podcast

The Transformation - Part  4

Here are the other Transformation episodes:

Read the episode transcript here:


Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice and welcome to part 4 of The Transformation. This mini series within the podcast, The Courageous Performer. And today we look at your relationship with your audience. Now, whether you're a singer, actor, public speaker, or any other type of performer, your ability to engage your audience is critical to your success.



And how you feel about your audience massively impacts your ability to do this, and how you feel about your audience is all to do with what goes on in your head. Because if you're fine one to one but struggle one to a crowd, or maybe you're the other way around, you'll find one to a crowd, but terrible one to one because you feel more pressurised. Or you're fine when you're up on a stage, but struggle when you're in the classroom with your peers. It's really no difference in what's going on outside or what's coming out of your mouth. It's how you think and feel about how it's going to be received that impacts how you perform. It's how you think and feel about the judgement you might get back that influences how you perform, how much you remember how tense you are, how much you overthink, what the inner voice is saying and how loud it is.



In this part in this in part three, we are going to look at three ways you can really impact your ability one to feel positively about your audience and how they might judge you and to to get your audience to engage with your performance with you.



Now, the first of these ways, is to think about the audience slightly differently. Because one of the things we do with our audiences, we can see them either as a judgmental mass, if it's several people, or just a judgmental thing. And we forget that our audience is human, every single member of our audience is human. And that's where people often talk about imagining your audience naked, or naked with just a pair of socks on, or remember that they get dressed in the morning. It's to humanise your audience, because we forget that. And the truth is, every single member of your audience will have had a good or a bad or a mediocre day, or a challenging day or an exciting day.



They will have had some experience that day will that will influence how they are feeling. They also have their insecurities. I have not yet met the person without insecurities, how they express those insecurities can be very different, and that's what a lot of the work I do is about, our relationship with our vulnerabilities and our insecurities  and how it impacts the way we perform and how you can change your relationship with your vulnerabilities and your insecurities.



But your audience has these too. So how do you help your audience feel good? What would make their day? And I'm talking even about the challenging ones? Because sometimes they're the ones who need it the most? The ones who find it hardest to smile, or perhaps are the most judgmental are usually the ones who are the most judgmental of themselves and most self critical. And how do you if you flip it and think, "How do I make their day better?"



And this actually feeds into the second method I'm going to talk about today, because if you think about the your audience as human, and go through that process, once you have done that, it becomes easier to do this second process. Because this second process is about looking at your audience; and I realise that in some performances, this may not be appropriate, but what I'm really talking about is having the ability to do it because the problem arises when you are avoiding eye contact when you are you when you struggle to make eye contact because that limits your artistic and expressive options. And it means you are not free to do whatever you feel is most appropriate in the circumstances.



So this is something to practice in areas where it's appropriate to practice, in areas where it's possible to practice. So if your Aria is in a dream and you're meant to be looking up to the sky and making eye contact is not appropriate there, then practice it in other areas to know that if you were asked to make eye contact at that point, you would be perfectly free to do it. It's not something within you that stopping you.



If we're talking about doing a presentation to a roomful of people or a meeting, or recital, where you do want to make eye contact, then this is really important. Because not only does it help your audience connect with you, it can actually help to make you feel safer.



I had a client who who struggles with eye contact on a number of different levels and for a variety of different reasons. But she said that when she tried eye contact, it actually made her feel safer, and more empowered, and able to make choices in the moment stronger and safer. Because when you make real eye contact, and I'm not talking about looking at your audience to see what they're thinking of you to make sure they're not looking at you in a weird way, or you're not doing anything wrong, I'm talking about looking at them for their sake, to communicate with them to as I said before, when I'm talking about them being human, to see what they want from you what would make their day good.



When you do that, it reinforces the first method because you get to see or reconfirm their humanity. And we often don't make eye contact because we fear it'll make the audience be more daunting to us will, we're leaning into our fear, and that can be terrifying. But if you look at them, to really see them and their humanity, they actually become less daunting. It's then more, it's much easier then to respond to them to react in the moment to feed off them in this symbiotic relationship because the audience wants to be communicated with, it's why they're there.



So that is such an important element. Now, the last element I want to talk about now links back to yesterday's podcast. So if you haven't listened to it, go back and listen to yesterday's because yesterday's is a really important element. The last factor in communicating and connecting with your audience is your enjoyment. Because there are a bunch of neurons that we all have called mirror neurons, and they are the basis of empathy. They are the neurological basis of empathy. And their existence mean that the more you are interested and enthusiastic about your material, the more your audience will feel and share that feeling with you.



The more you enjoy what you're doing, and the more you love what you're doing, the more your audience will enjoy it, not because of any weird algorithm, but because quite literally, when we feel joy, and it's authentic joy, other people feel joy through their mirror neurons firing. It's, that's just the neurology of it. It's like when you smile at somebody, it's almost impossible for the person not to smile back at you, they have to kind of work hard not to smile back at you. Or if you see somebody who's really happy you instantly feel that lift.



Equally, if you feel someone really nervous or anxious, you feel nervous and anxious, or angry, you pick up that anger. So the more you can lean into enjoying your performance, the more your audience will enjoy it. Not only does it help you relax, it helps them enjoy it. And if it helps you relax them, they will relax too, because the mirror neurons will fire there too. We have the power to neurobiologically influence our audience, by the way we are being by what we are feeling. So if you go out earnest and serious and worried you will influence your audience to feel earnest and serious and worried. If you go out interested and joyful and enthusiastic, then your audience will naturally pick up on that feeling. And your audience want to feel that way. Because your audience would rather that you connect with them than you get everything correct. If you watch really good public speakers, they don't get everything right. Yeah, Ted Talks that's slightly different because those are really polished. But if you watch a proper public speaker in action, they will stumble over some words they will pause and look through their notes they but they do it with such grace and confidence. That we feel okay about it. Our mirror neurons feel okay because they feel okay.



So this is all about are you connecting with your audience. So the three things I would like you to take away from this episode is:



1. It's really, I'm going to do these in reverse order, it's really important to enjoy your performance because enjoying it and connecting with your audience is the most important thing. It's more important than getting everything right.



2. Eye contact. It's really important to make eye contact, or to be at least able to do so whilst you're trying to avoid eye contact. You will not only be showing that you're trying to avoid through your mirror neurons. But it limits your artistic and your expressive choices. When you do make eye contact. It reminds you that your audience is made up of normal people. And that's...



3. Which was number one, which is remember your audience's human. They've had good days, bad days, different days. They have their own agenda. They're there to listen to you. They might be there reluctantly to listen to you, but what can you do to make their lives better? Remember their human make eye contact and enjoy what you do. Now, tomorrow is the last in this podcast series. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what it's about.



I'm Hattie Voelcker. Thank you for listening for listening. I'm from Find Your True Voice.