This one is for my fellow stage performers: Tips for a better performance

Updated: Sep 12, 2018


Various notes on debate, talent, and personal image practice for public speaking: (Compiled by R. M. D. Bateman, from various notes he has taken in seminars.)

  1. Practice calm confidence in all things. Even if nervous, breathe and project.

  2. Take control of the situation, be outspoken, and commanding.

  3. Memorize all scripts and lines, talking points as best you can, but make it sound like you.

  4. Always know your topic and your audience.

  5. Treat all situations like a job interview. Be businesslike, polite, and up front.

  6. Don’t allow nerves to override decorum. Know that they will always challenge you, snap at you, confront you, and try to make you look foolish. (especially if you are a magician or mentalist.)

  7. Improvise whenever possible. Be “off the cuff” with facts and information.

  8. Don’t interpret, but be ready to explain.

  9. Be natural in your movement and words, sweat is natural, shaking is natural, a slight stammer is natural, but haughtiness and abusive manner is not.

  10. Don’t act…be. In other words, do not just pretend to be of a position or opinion. Mean it! Pick answers that are genuine, but stand out Learn to cold read people at a glance.

  11. Bringing us to… Don’t over-analyze. The subject or spectator may be uninformed, unreasonable, or ill presented, but never assume it so.

  12. Don’t panic over details, but know as many supporting facts as possible. Prepare by attending all education you can get on the subject at hand. (Stay tuned, kids, I will have some educational stuff coming out soon.)

  13. Perfect your talents with daily practice. Review and make videos of your progress, to watch as a self-analysis.

  14. Make impromptu dialogues a common practice. “Strike up conversations a lot”. Always be open to questions, both asking and answering.

  15. When in performance: focus in on one member of the audience or group at a time, make them your target. This will make you more at ease and less likely to falter.

  16. Be clear in your wants, desires, and expectations for yourself. Don’t perform “over your head”.

  17. Be deliberate in your delivery of an idea Remember to balance emotions with sentiments (Is there humor in tragedy?)

  18. Communicate your ideals with your behaviors. Don’t squelch impulses, feel the spirit of the moment and change a thought or sentiment when the need comes.

  19. Which leads into… Don’t over-compensate for your own feelings by being plastic or stiff in your manner.

  20. Be commanding BUT Don’t force your personality on others, but be open to analysis. Project your voice at a natural level, but be bold.

  21. Physical preparation: Be aware of your angles, your stance, and your posture at all times.Practice breathing exercises. Sing simple songs. Keep a positive attitude. Do some kind of physical exercise for 30 minutes a day. Discipline yourself and follow a health plan. Read positive thinking books.

  22. Be aware of the business, social, political, and economic conditions around you. Study time periods, historical points, events, and happenings in detail. This gives you the advantage of instant rapport.

  23. Keep a set routine: sleep, meals, daily routines keep you alert and ready for challenges. Practice moderation in all things.

  24. Keep uplifting habits, talent development, self-image. Keep priorities in line. Have a belief system, religion, politics, stand for something.

  25. Know how to sell yourself. Have set lists of what you will and will not do, can or cannot do, are and are not capable of, and stick to it. Never allow anyone to force you outside your personal zones.

  26. Punctuality + preparedness = good image = courage = success.

  27. Take direction from someone that has been there when it is given.

  28. Don’t hold grudges when a performance goes sour. They are useless and muddle up your thinking.

  29. Focus on yourself, but not to the exclusion of others.

  30. Be natural and connected Become, rather than just “acting like” a successful person.

  31. One that many magicians and performers forget:  When performing, keep hands in positive even if emotion is negative. Positive hand position is in front of the body and in gestures that make your point clear.

  32. Be careful in today’s world, but in some cases, personal space issues must be dissolved: Touch, look, gesture, listen, feel. Tears, shaking, choking up, clenching, and gesturing: these are all natural and must be allowed to emerge. They will happen a whole lot when you are doing a “cold psychic read” or a mystical experiment and make a connection.

  33. You must be passionate to be believed. This will be demonstrated in your demeanor which will be developed in the practice of all the above.

  34. Above all: HAVE FUN. Make every performance a memorable glance at your joviality, your personal perspectives, and your desire to make the world a better place through your performance.

Good luck and good performance to you!


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