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When coaching speakers, one of the biggest factors to be reckoned with is stress.
Most of the professionals I coach know what they’re talking about.

They are experts in their domain and no one in their right mind would question their knowledge.

But when it comes to getting the message accross there’s always

this little voice inside the speaker’s head: 

Is what I’m talking about interesting enough?

Am I not boring my audience?
Why is that guy yawning? Why are my palms sweaty?

And then a latecomer stumbles in and interrupts the presentation…

A perfectly rehearsed presentation can be sabotaged

by your own thoughts and external disturbing factors.

 

What can you do?

I found the solution when talking to one of my close friends Wim who is a theatre actor.
He was preparing for a theatre monologue and he showed me the script that was more than 60 pages long. 

When asked how on earth he could remember such a vast amount of information and reproduce it in such a stressful environment like a theatre stage, he answered: “Oh that’s ok, it’s time for the bouncing ball!”

Apparently while studying his lines and trying to remember every little detail in the script,
he plays with

a bouncing ball. According to him he can study faster and he is less susceptible to stress on stage. 

Because of the unpredictable nature of the bouncing ball his brain has to focus on two separate actions:

trying to reproduce the text without mistakes and controlling the ball. 

He forces himself to continue citing his text even when the bouncing ball is launched

accross the living room and ends up under the sofa.

And it works like a charm… I saw the monologue and was blown away.

How does this work?
By playing with the bouncing ball Wim activates his working memory while also activating a lot

of his other senses: his eyes have to keep track of the ball, his hands have to move the ball around,

he has to walk towards the ball,…
This technique speeds up the automation process in his brain and so he can remember his lines much faster and reproduce them much easier. Even when something unexpected happens on stage he still keeps going because his brain has became accustomed to the external impulses.

So from now on, everyone in my presentation coaching sessions receives a little bouncing ball...

and in the beginning I get a lot of strange looks and smirking faces. But the results are astonishing…

people feel more secure on stage.  They have a sense of overall control and a boost of confidence.

For the participants the coachings have now become ‘those sessions with the bouncing ball’...

Want to know more? Get in touch!

And now... bounce!!!

 

Olivier