HR & Management
Lessons from the stage to boost your boardroom performance
6 min read
26 April 2017
Playing the right role impacts the bottom line in business, so it’s important that you get into character before delivering your boardroom performance.
Whether it’s during a one-off pitch to a prospective client or how you manage relationships with existing partners, the boardroom performance, as in the way that individuals come across, can have a huge impact on the success of a meeting.
A shaky boardroom performance caused by performance anxiety or lack of preparation can make all the difference.
And this is never truer than when trying to clinch an important deal – it is very much a case of “all the world’s a stage”.
As such, an ever-growing number of businesses are applying lessons and techniques used by the UK’s brightest acting talent to maximise not only their own boardroom performance, but also their bottom lines.
Rehearsal, effective storytelling and knowing how to engage with your audience are elements that I believe can improve your effectiveness in a corporate environment.
When delivery is everything
Establishing and maintaining customer and client relationships plays a huge part in the success of any company. The ability to carry out face-to-face communications with customers and stakeholders in a relaxed, confident and authentic way is essential.
As with all personal connections and relationships, good communication skills are an important part of building strong working relationships across all levels and situations in the business environment.
One of the most effective ways to achieve this, and ensure your business benefits from it, is to take the time beforehand to understand your audience.
The ability to adapt and tailor your performances – both in terms of your actions and words – is a huge asset and will enable you to forge strong connections and successful relationships, which can in turn have an impact on the business’ bottom line.
Simply knowing your lines – or the details of what you are supposed to say in an important meeting – isn’t enough.
The impact a boardroom performance has and the degree to which it resonates with your audience can mean all the difference between a sealed deal and a failed pitch.
High stake meetings require rehearsal, and even the most confident of communicators can benefit from thinking about how a business’ story can be told and delivered.
Storytelling in the boardroom
Storytelling is hugely effective in a business context.
The power of storytelling is something those in the arts understand and work with all the time. Actors and drama professionals appreciate how effective storytelling works, why people are so drawn to stories and the various functions they serve.
Telling a story is one of the single most powerful ways to motivate, inspire or influence people – whether they are your own team or prospective customers.
Capturing someone’s imagination and making them feel like a part of the story means they are far more likely to really engage with you and your business. But the story itself is unlikely to be enough.
Ultimately, the style of the story must match the facts – the how must match the what, to achieve a business-winning performance.
Rehearsal is a crucial part of developing an impressive storytelling technique to ensure that business messages are not lost due to an uninspiring delivery.
Few businesses can afford to leave their customers and clients feeling uninspired. Can yours?
Rehearsals are key
Without rehearsal and practice, you may not be able to give the perfect performance while under pressure.
For most of us, engaging and really capturing the attention of our audience while simultaneously getting the right messages across can be extremely difficult when working under pressure.
The key to great performances – including the boardroom performance in crucial business meetings – is not only “knowing your lines”, but also deliberately and consciously adapting delivery, tone and messaging, in a way that your audience relates to.
This flexibility in the moment can only be achieved when you already have a really clear grasp of what it is you are trying to convey, having thought hard about the audience you are playing to – whether it is an important stakeholder, a customer or a prospective client.
To ensure the boardroom performance has the biggest possible impact on the bottom line in key meetings, businesspeople need to be able to reflect on their tone and the audience they are speaking to in challenging and high-pressured circumstances and situations.
Rehearsal and flexibility in the moment can make all the difference between sealing the deal and not.
Charlie Walker-Wise is client director at RADA in Business