It’s easy to perform when things are going well. You and the crew are thinking as one. You have a real rhythm and confidence to your performance. “Hey,” you think to yourself, “this is easy.” You’re just loving life…
But don’t fool yourself. This can change in an instant. It’s like golf. If you’ve ever played the game, you know it often replicates life itself. Just when you think, “hey golf is easy,” it turns around and bites you in the leg. Suddenly, you go from playing very well to playing as if you’d never played the game before.
Being a broadcast performer is no different than golf or life for that matter. Just when you think you’re at the top of your game, something happens to knock you off. Maybe it’s the lack of (or too much) sleep. Maybe you didn’t eat right (or ate too much). Maybe your biorhythms are off. Maybe you don’t believe in biorhythms.
Bad broadcasts happen, even to the best.
Now, somebody’s idea of a bad broadcast might be your idea of a good broadcast—it’s all relative. Nonetheless what applies to every broadcaster is how you deal with a rough performance. Not so much how you react after the broadcast when you’re on your way home, but how you react while you’re still on the air!
Live television or radio does not provide for do-overs. So when you stumble, make a mistake, lose your place, mispronounce a word or do something you wish you hadn’t, it takes a lot of discipline and concentration to re-gain your edge and continue as if nothing had happened. Admittedly this is not easy since making a mistake definitely takes some of the starch out of you. It can be very unsettling to be in the midst of a performance that you had fervently hoped would go well, only to see it go south right in the middle—or for that matter, just when you were getting started.
Remember it’s never as bad as you think it is (or consequently, never as good either, but that’s another story). Always take heart in saying, “perfection is an illusion.” After a problem or mistake, try to keep your cool and move on. Use whatever mental trigger you can develop and snap yourself back to attention. Keep your edge, maintain your professionalism and just keep plugging, as if nothing happened.
It’s easier said than done, but the more you maintain your discipline in future performances, the better you will get. It also beats getting bummed out. Doing that will reflect in your performance and will make things even worse.