Saturday, June 27, 2009

Find Your Green Room Trigger

In this week's New Yorker, Alex Ross writes about Marlboro Music, an elite summer music program at Marlboro college in Vermont "where artists could forget about commerce and escape into a purely musical realm."

The summer seems to give the musicians a formative and utopian musical experience that carries them through the year:

"One musician after another says the same thing: from September to May, when they sit down to play in an antiseptic postwar performing arts center after an hour or two of rehearsal, they close their eyes and think of Marlboro."

Take a moment and think of a memory, an experience, a place where you felt in the zone. It could be a moment from childhood or an experience you had this week; an athletic or artistic or travel experience - just a moment when you were at your best and everything seemed to click.

Think of a word, a mantra, a motion that represents that experience for you and use it each time before you get up to speak.

I call this the Green Room Trigger. For the musicians in Ross's piece, their summer at Marlboro is that trigger - a memory that enables them to feel present and in the zone - even at potentially disheartening and unfulfilling moments.

From the Green Room: Find your Green Room Trigger - a word, mantra or motion that takes you back to a moment in your life where you were fully present. Then use this trigger before you get up to speak. Over time, this exercise will help you get in zone and be at your best each time you speak.


Lily Kaiser said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for the comment. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. What a coincidence that our blogs have the same name!
I used to enter speech competitions and I wish I had known about the strategies you're posting. All of your entries are really to the point, informative and practical. Keep it up! What got you started blogging?

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you for your comment Lily. I started blogging soon after I started Green Room Speakers. I really appreciate your feedback. Please let me know if I can ever be helpful.

Anonymous said...

I really like this suggestion, though I'll probably need to test drive a few different triggers to find out which will work best.

Sarah Gershman said...

That makes sense - but once you find the right trigger, stick to it. Repetition strengthens the power of this ritual.

Jake said...

I have found a connection between athletics and public speaking when it comes to preparation. To get "in the zone" I do some of the same things - stretch, visualize my goals, warm my body up, drink water etc.

Sarah Gershman said...

I absolutely agree. Often people find that their trigger is an athletic moment. Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I like such pithy suggestions. But how does one be totally present while using a green room trigger that involves reverting to a memory or distant place?

Sarah Gershman said...

Great question.

I think it's an emotional presence. You tap into a time in your life when you were in the zone - and connect that feeling to speaking.

For me, the green room trigger helps me get to an emotional place where I can focus on what's happening in the here and now.