Tag Archives: Audience


Pitchcoach-004-SeriousAudience In any pitch, presentation or interview before an audience the way you come across matters, usually more than what you actually say. You need to perform, something actors do for a living. This is what I learnt from one actress, Imogen Sage, when asked about dealing with an audience.

How do you handle nerves facing a live a audience?

Preparation is everything. Through constant repetition in rehearsal you become so familiar and so comfortable in the role that knowing your lines will be no problem, even if you are nervous. This means you can enjoy, rather than fear, the sense of occasion. This is something that actors live for.

How do you respond to a difficult or disappointingly small audience?

You do your job and give it 100%. You give everything and expect nothing in return.


How does the audience effect the performance?

Perfomances do not exist in the absence of an audience. There is two way exchange of energy, with a shared sense of anticipation. As an actor you tap into this to be ‘in the moment’ and tune in to what kind of audience they are. As much as they are listening to you, you are listening to them.

The theatre is the involuntary reflex of the ideas of the crowd”.

Sarah Bernhardt



Don’t blame the audience!

To continue the theme of the post before this, storytelling, I checked out Nigel Rees’ Dictionary of Anecdotes for a relevant story. This one caught my eye.

Oscar Wilde was once asked by a friend how his latest play, Lady Windermere’s Fan, had gone. “It was a great success,”he replied, “but the audience was a total failure,”

If you have the wit of Wilde you can carry this off.  If you are as humourless as the self-congratulatory judges of Strictly Come Dancing you can’t.  Blaming the television audience, who have made John Sargeant an unlikely folk hero, was not an astute move.

The same goes for a pitch.  When the eager question, ‘how did it go?,  is met with, ‘they didn’t seem that interested, ‘ or, worse still, ‘ they clearly had another agenda’,  then you know the audience is being blamed.

The pitch may well have contained great insight, a killer strategy and a perfect solution.  It deserved success!  But if the performance was difficult to follow,  lacked surprise and failed to engage, don’t blame the panel when they don’t vote for you.

Worth remembering also, that unlike the ‘Strictly’ panel who do claim expertise, people judging pitches may not be experienced in receiving and evaluating a pitch.  Not  an easy task when much rests on the decision.

All this leading to the unsurprising, oft repeated, advice that you rehearse before an ‘audience’.  See if they get it, and enjoy it.