More on getting naked
October 26, 2005
"Presenting naked" involves being lost in the moment. I do not mean lost as in losing your place. I mean being so "in the moment" — without worry of the past or future — that you are as demonstrably interested (or moved, impassioned, excited, etc.) as your audience has (or will) become. This is a true connection.
A fantastic book on creativity, Brenda Ueland's If you Want to Write, speaks of the importance of being "in the moment" to maximize our creativity and impact on an audience. The harnessing of this creative energy and being fully present is more of an intuitive activity, not an intellectual one. Ueland compares this kind of creativity and connection to a wonderful musical performance.
In playing a musical instrument such as the piano, for example, sometimes you play at it and sometimes you play in it. The goal is not to repeat the notes on a page but to play beautiful music. To be in it, not separate from it. Great musicians play in it (even if not always technically perfect). The same thing holds for presentations. The aim should be to be in it completely at that moment in time. Perfection of technique is not obtainable perhaps (or even desirable), but a kind of "perfect" connection can exist between the audience and artist (or presenter) when she "plays in it."
"Only when you play in a thing, do people listen and hear you and are moved."
— Brenda Ueland
"Only when you play in a thing," Ueland says, "do people listen and hear you and are moved." Your music is believable and authentic because you are "lost in it" not intellectualizing it or following a set of prescribe rules (notes, instructions). We are moved because the artist is clearly and authentically moved as well. Can this not hold true for presentations? With presentations, you are believable because you too are moved. You have to believe in your message completely or no one else will. You must believe in yourself fully and be "lost in the moment" of engaging your audience.
More on the "naked truth" in Japan
Since we were talking about "presenting naked" and Hadaka no Tsukiai in the previous post, I thought I'd point you to some photos from my friend Markuz Wernli Saito. Markuz, a fantastic presenter by the way, is a designer and photographer from Switzerland who divides his time between San Francisco and Kyoto. He is the photographer and designer for the new book Mirei Shigemori: Modernizing the Japanese Garden.
Onsens (hot springs) are not the only place to get nude and speak the "naked truth" in Japan. The sento (public bath) is a common feature in Japanese cities and towns as well, although their numbers are decreasing. Markuz does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of this slice of traditional Japan in a way that is fresh and, well...naked.
See a photographic essay on the Japanese sento by Markuz Wernli Saito. The sento is "an unpretentious communal space for cleaning one’s body and soul," says Markuz.