She may strike a pose like no other, but Madonna is a nervous wreck about her half-time show during Sunday’s Super Bowl. In interview after interview this past week, she’s mentioned how “nervous” she is. You might be thinking, “poor Madonna.” Or “yeah, right.” Or, “who cares?” Well, I think that the very smart communicators who read the PR News blog should be offering some advice to the Queen of Pop.
If your client or senior executive were to express nervousness over an upcoming speaking gig, what would you advise? Granted, Madonna’s performance will be broadcast live before 100 million+ people worldwide, but it’s the quality of the audience not the quantity that matters. So your client speaking in front of 225 accountants at the Chicago Hilton just might be as important. And unlike the Super Bowl audience, your audience would not be semi-comatose after binging on hot wings and Budweiser. So, what’s your advice to Madonna, who has the jitters and is known to have panic attacks prior to performing?
I might digress for a second to note that Madonna’s messaging the week before Super Bowl is outstanding PR – by saying she’s nervous, she’s taking some of the pressure off herself and lowering the bar of expectations. She has even “mollifed” audiences worldwide by assuring them there won’t be a wardrobe malfunction a la Janet Jackson. She clearly likes the word “nervous” in media interviews, invoking the same adjective when discussing her directorial debut of the movie “W.E.”
There’s a lot of advice out there on how to avoid stage fright, including from Elton John, who has recommended that Madonna just lip-synch for the big event. This is where our professions diverge – imagine advising your senior executive to lip-synch her speech…..
Let’s help out Madonna.
– Diane Schwartz
On Twitter: @dianeschwartz