Everyone is gearing up for the Oscars—one of the most glamorous and talked-about red carpet events of the year. The entire media world is paying attention, and global audiences watch the best creative, artistic, and athletic superstars in the world dress to the nines and celebrate their accomplishments.
But don’t be fooled; the performance isn’t nearly over for these stars, who are under a lot of pressure to play their best at acceptance time. PR reps are on hand, last minute touch-ups are a must, and the business lessons are ripe for picking.
There’s a lot to be learned by examining the examples they set for us on the public stage. Here are seven lessons from awards season we can use to prosper in business.
- Prepare the details and know your story. The stars have a flock of personal assistants to keep track of all their loose ends. As a businesswoman, take care of yourself in the same way. Be over-prepared for daily work issues such as meetings and events. Dress one step better than necessary at the office. Know a couple of great places to take clients to lunch at a moment’s notice. Be ready to throw out the title of a recent news article about your industry. Little things matter; they add up and spell “impressive” to your boss. Also, telling some of the back-story about your major accomplishments adds to the allure of your performance and solidifies your professionalism. Adele’s E! red carpet interview at the Golden Globes is an excellent example of this.
- Look the part. Know “who” you’re wearing. Celebrities get this question at every event. They are representing the designer as well as making a fashion statement, and you can do the same at work. Wear clothes that are made well and look good on you, and talk about it. Compliment your co-workers on their style, and they’ll comment on yours. This shows you care enough about what you’re doing to get dressed up for it. Don’t forget the details of fashion as well. You never know when you’ll be asked to perform for the Mani Cam (take care of your nails, as your hands speak for you!). Be ready for Glam Cam; your 360-degree view looks different than your half-view in the bathroom mirror. The perpetual pro is Jennifer Lopez. She knows the rules and makes or breaks them on her terms. Her Grammys interview is clearly not her first.
- Practice makes perfect. It doesn’t look the same on camera as it does in real life. Prepare for the big event in the real environment—lighting, audio, presentation, props, timing, etc. Repeat the names of your most important audience members (your clients). Don’t neglect anyone on your management team (your supervisors). Remember your fan club (administrative staff). These are the people who propel you to success. Know what you want to say when you win, and sound sincere. Compare the SAG acceptance speeches of two winning ladies, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence. Did you notice a difference? Which one did you like better, and why?
- Network. Don’t miss your chance to network! Introduce yourself to your hero. Have questions and compliments ready, and go for it! This works well at conferences as well as at black tie events. Tweet about it. Take pictures. Use the platform to build your audience and elate your followers. Meet the veterans (compliment them on mastering their art/business) as well as the newbies (they’re the up-and-comers you might work with one day when they are the headliners). So while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler entertained us at the Golden Globes, sharp businesswomen know this is the time for major networking.
- Shine. Personality counts. Practice positive body language. Look interested when others talk; it makes you look more interesting yourself. Smile! Someone is always watching. Accept wins and compliments with sincerity. You do fabulous work, so own it! Be proud! If you lose, do so with grace, and give the winner her props. For inspiration, check out Tory Burch’s exuberance over her acclaimed New York Fashion Week show for Fall 2013.
- Master public speaking. Professionals, whether performers or businesswomen, are always asked to give a clip for the cameras.
- Revel in the moment. You are exceptional at what you do. Say it humbly, but own the moment. LL Cool J said, “When I look at [my Grammys], they inspire me to strive for excellence.”
And now you have homework: Watch and learn. The Oscars air on Sunday, February 24. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to evaluate these and other business lessons during this Super Bowl of awards season. Who impresses you with her eloquence? Who’s sincere acceptance speech was well-rehearsed, complete, engaging, and uplifting? Who paid attention to detail? Who dressed to impress? Which actress would you promote in your next big project? And most importantly, what will you take away from this onscreen business lesson?
Will you be tuning in to the Oscars on Sunday? What do you hope to glean from it?
Photo courtesy of Fan Pop