Being Shirley Bassey
Have you ever had an experience – one so powerful that you just knew it was going to make a long term, radical difference to your life? One of those dramatic moments, the culmination of a series of moments, that shifts something fundamental to your team building singapore, whole way of being, doing and having, your total modus operandi in your own world?
I want to share such an experience with you. A while ago, I was attending a trainer’s training workshop, and not just any training workshop, but one which offers the opportunity to polish presenting skills, add power to performance and packs a punch in its way of challenging with charm.
I arrived with a sense of possibility and openness, eager to learn and practice. I knew this was not going to be a traditional “sit there whilst I tell you” scenario. I knew we were about to see ourselves in a new light, to hear varied opinions and to feel less comfortable than we might wish. I suspected we were going to be stretched in many new directions at once, and would possibly never experience ourselves the same way again.
My anticipation was correct, and within the first half hour, introductions over, ground rules established, we were being asked to present our own material to the group of seven students. Our trainer had made his aims and intentions clear – he wanted us to have a definite experience of surprising ourselves at least once during the workshop. He wanted us to go beyond our norms, blow out our inhibitions and be more than we had ever been before.
Over the two days, we did some extraordinary things – we sang songs, watched videos, listened to music, heard and told stories, did exercises, drew pictures, played games. Not extraordinary in themselves, but within a training environment, what might that represent for you? Where and when did you last spend your time, whilst experiencing work related learning, jumping up and down, moving around the room, laughing and singing – and being positively encouraged to do so? At Kindergarten, Reception, Nursery School – maybe, to some degree, but possibly not since then.
I believe that as a group, we all experienced artfully executed shifts and breakthroughs in our learning, elegantly assimilated and of lasting benefit. The changes in our performances were evident from the greater assurance, fluency and power we were exhibiting. Our individual abilities to command our “space”, to hold and enthral the audience, even without words, were magical even before day one was completed. As day two progressed, voices strengthened, posture emerged strong and assured, whilst fluidity and command of the stage were firmly established.
The culmination of the experience was our final performance – we were each allotted a task – part of a “cunning plan” (I quote the trainer being Baldrick from the ‘Blackadder’ television programmes) to elicit our absolute individual best, to push our boundaries and enable us to truly surprise ourselves. I was invited – or was that “challenged”? – to give my presentation, without any notes or external prompts, in the persona of, yes, you guessed it, Shirley Bassey, resplendent in a pink feather boa.
My initial responses were curiosity, anxiety, amusement – so I mentally worked through my presentation, recalling my memories of Shirley Bassey – “The minute you walked in the joint – boom, boom – I could see… “, and “G o l d … finger… “ Slinky, glittering dresses, elegance, sex appeal, glamour, power, presence, punch. And I simply decided that I was going to go for it, be brilliant, and give it my all.
I prepared myself, getting into character by adding extra jewellery, more make up, perfume – so that scented, coiffed and groomed I awaited my turn to take the stage, anticipating with some nervousness, but more excitement, as I rose to make my entrance.
My audience seemed to be immediately hooked. They laughed and cheered and responded magnificently as I played with them and really allowed myself to “be” Shirley Bassey. What a truly liberating experience that was.