“Are you a Stream, or a Twisted Garden Hose?” -SDR

Media Training Tips for Zoo Professionals:

Keep the energy flowing between you and your audience

There’s the old saying: “It is better to give than to receive,” but really, that’s only the half of it, right?

“Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process,” said Jim Rohn.

Deepak Chopra, in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, refers to the Law of Giving:  “The Universe operates through dynamic exchange… giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of the universe.”

While these philosophies are usually associated with wealth and prosperity, they can be applied to your next presentation or media opportunity with great success as well!

A wealth-consciousness coach assists the flow of energy as it is associated with money. A relationship coach does the same with love, but as a performance coach, I focus on the flow of energy between the speaker (or “performer”) and the audience.  When the flow is unobstructed, the rewards are great; you have a message that can change peoples’ lives, and, in turn, change the world! It is imperative that you optimize every opportunity, right?  

Effective communication relies on this free flowing pathway. At the most effective level, this pathway is like a clean, life-giving, sparkling stream. If you have had a presentation experience that resembled more of a twisted garden hose, then maybe we should take a look at a few easy ways to re-establish that surge!

The biggest inhibitor of flow anywhere in our lives is fear, of course.  That is a topic that I feel is best managed in one-on-one training. (There are even ways that fear can work for you, and not against you!)  Today, however, I am going to focus on two physical obstructions to flowing communication…the beaver dams in the stream, so to speak.

The first obstacle is the most obvious: it is the stage podium.  Some presenters look at it as a safe have. Well, I don’t think the podium was designed to deflect obstacles being thrown from the audience, and unless your topic is so controversial to make that a legitimate possibility, I say, stay clear of it!  It hides you and obstructs your energy from the audience.  Keeping your notes on the podium and returning to it occasionally throughout a long presentation is totally fine, but open yourself up physically and the audience will open up to you much easier.

Second is a physical blockage that is less obvious. It’s one of the basic elements of communication and emphasized in most speech classes but one of the most misunderstood and underdeveloped skills that I come across. This is eye contact.  

Eye contact is not just a scan from one side of the room to the other.  Nor is it “3 seconds this direction, switch, three seconds there…”  Eye contact to a group should be much like any conversation; think of a party where you walk up to a discussion already in progress: the moment the person speaking makes eye contact, you feel acknowledged and respected.  You have been included.  When speaking to a group, there are certain moments that are the most powerful times to connect and create this same feeling:  usually this is the end of a sentence or a thought. Try it yourself in front of a video camera; read something and look into the lens as you say the last words of each sentence.  It takes some practice but learning to bring the eyes to the audience at the right time can make even “cold” speeches, like introductions of the next speaker, so much easier!

Creating an easy flow of energy when you are sharing your message is a skill that can create a wonderful experience for you and your audience. Ease of flow in communication directly helps the flow of love, money and even health.


Sandra Dee Robinson, (Popular day-time TV actress and owner of the
media training and consulting firm, Charisma On Camera. Sandra is also the co-host
of my radio programs, Zoo(logy) Talkin’ Radio and Bears on the Air).