Drop an Anchor

There’s a pretty quick way to lose an audience. And that’s with mindless wandering. Many of us introverts have a habit of moving while we pull our thoughts into view, looking at nothing in particular in the room while searching the dark recesses of our brains. Extroverts are full of energy – for them movement is large, fast and continual.

For a short time, either of these things is okay. It’s an interesting view, from the audience’s perspective. But make it a part of your routine, and it gets monotonous.

Try dropping an anchor – you pull the audience right in.


I remember auditioning for one of the 2 roles in a 9/11 commemorative stage production called, The Guys. (It’s a rich reflection of a captain in the New York Fire Department who lost eight of the 12 men in his company while attempting to evacuate the World Trade Center towers following the terrorist attacks. He is faced with the task of delivering eulogies for each of the men and needs the help of a local journalist to assist – the type of script I love getting into.)

One of the journalist monologues used during the audition was a gripping piece focusing on the difficulty of helping the captain see beyond the pain of the eulogies to the celebration of the firefighters’ lives. As I was delivering this 2-3 minute piece, I paced back and forth across the stage, bringing to mind the emotions, the grief, the agony of the moment. But all the audition committee saw was my downturned face and my movement which translated into trying to be emotional. They lost the power of the message based on my extraneous display.

The director suggested,  “Merri, try it again, planted center, looking at us. Limit your movement.”

That’s when I knew. When I was forced to “drop an anchor”, the message came out beautifully. Focus was where it needed to be – on the message and the listeners. Firmly planted, I drew connection to the audience. When the message was hard to say, that came out – there was no disguise. My eyes averted their view, went shut, maybe bowed. And if, whether through excitement or grief, the emotion was extreme, the movement made sense. The audition committee saw the richness of the message delivered with care. Luckily they gave me a second chance – I got the part.

We are quick to cover up our emotions AND our focus when we share out of habit – full of our routine movement. In these cases, the audience has difficulty grabbing what’s important. As much as they want to, they can’t find the hook. But when we drop an anchor, when we still ourselves to let the truth of the message come out – it happens honestly, engagingly and undeniably full of connection. Got an important message? We don’t usually get a second chance.

Drop an anchor and hook the audience.

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On January 30th, 2012, posted in: clarity, Connecting, Delivery, extroverts, important message, introverts by
2 Responses to Drop an Anchor
  1. Being a good networker has noithng to do with whether we are an introvert or extrovert. It has to do with our attitude towards other people, ability and willingness to be connected, to help people, to allow others to help us and our manners and manner of socializing and networking.Being able to work a room is a different skillset than networking. We could excel in one area and not the other. But, together they are dynamic. What introverts and shy people do so well is pay attention and focus on their conversation partners. That is a charming trait that makes others feel special. Disclosure: I wrote How To Work a Roomae and The Secrets of Savvy Networking.

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