Chris Boardman Music Blog: Vital Collaborations Part 2: Managing your fear

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Vital Collaborations Part 2: Managing your fear

(This is an excerpt from a speech I gave at the VizualNow Event July 27th).

Part 2.

For thousands of years humans have used stories and story-telling to help them accept what they don’t understand. 

We all make up and tell stories about ourselves...which ends up creating a large part of our identity.
And when we perceive our “identity” is under attack we will defend the illusion rather than the reality.

If we are afraid, or uncomfortable it is next to impossible to hide. It will show itself in the words you choose, your facial reactions and your body language. What’s worse is: in a collaborative situation your fear can become the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Your fear accompanies you wherever you go. And even though you may think you can hide it, those around you will sense it-making accommodations be they subtle or overt. Best case scenario is that the people you are working with will accept your peccadilloes...because what you contribute is of great value. Worst case: you will be let go because you are perceived to be too much trouble.

What is it about my list of successful people that helps them deal with their fears. What is that “gold dust” I was looking for?

It’s not’s confidence.

Successful people work hard not only on their craft but also on themselves. They practice their interpersonal skills...they meticulously prepare for meetings and collaborations and they understand that without effective communication failure is almost certain.

Think of it this way: 
Filmmakers think and speak in terms of visuals and angles, lighting, lenses, blocking costumes etc. Composers think in musical terms: melody, rhythm, harmony, sound. If you speak from your expertise you will be speaking a foreign language and the quality of the communication will be poor.

Better to be prepared to establish a common language as a basis for your communications. 

Identifying, understanding and acknowledging what you are afraid of combined with superior preparation will give you the confidence to participate successfully. 

This won’t be lost on your collaborators....because 

confidence is a sign of strength...

and instinctively people will are drawn to strong, positive personalities. 

coming soon:

Part 3 Making connections

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  1. This is a really important post for others to understand. They do not teach enough of this in college or elsewhere for aspiring (and practising) creatives to learn how to be successful at what they do. There are not only obvious differences in vocabulary but also the tone of voice and physiology which underpin your words are important factors. If you've got 'stuff' going on and aren't willing to invest in working on yourself (and we all need to - me included), then it's just like planning to fail. Your creative talent is a given and is the entry ticket but it is not what separates the winners from the also rans.

    As George Bernard Shaw noted "In the right key one can say anything. In the wrong key, nothing: the only delicate part is the establishment of the right key."