RAHWAY, NJ — About 20 minutes before the first audience members arrived, Rosh Lowe was testing the lighting inside Union County Performing Arts Center’s Hamilton Stage. A technician threw a switch and suddenly Lowe was bathed in an amber glow.
“I like this,” Lowe said. “This feels good.”
Lowe has always felt good on a stage and in front of an audience, going back to when he was 10 years old and shared the spotlight with Angela Lansbury in the 1983 revival of “Mame.” He may have grown up on Broadway, but in the past 20 years he has become a familiar face to Florida audiences who have followed his career as a television news reporter for WSVN in Miami.
Lowe’s quest to make others feel comfortable in front of an audience brought him to Rahway on Monday, Aug. 13, for the launch of MicDrop, his full-service public speaking firm. He would be working with employees of electronics retailer US Mobile, teaching them to overcome a fear that is deeply rooted in many people.
How deep? Well, Jerry Seinfeld once mused that since public speaking usually tops national polls as the No. 1 fear — and death comes in second — most people would rather be in the casket at a funeral than delivering the eulogy.
That’s why clients like US Mobile owner David Mosseri have sought Lowe’s help for his employees. The business has locations in Linden and Elizabeth.
“I’m hoping they learn to communicate with the customers better and understand the business as a whole in speaking to people as opposed to selling,” Mosseri said.
What Lowe teaches can be utilized in any facet of life. After all, he lives by the motto that all speaking is public speaking. On Monday, Aug. 13, it was tailored for the corporate arena, but in his world heart-to-heart chats with the kids, dinner date conversations, watercooler banter and other discussions are all examples of public speaking.
Lowe has perfected a two-pronged approach, beginning with a five-part structure anyone can use to formulate and deliver a speech. It includes an introduction, some personalization and other components. Then, there is the performance aspect of making a speech. He said when the word “performance” comes up, some people wonder if Lowe’s MicDrop method is disingenuous. }
He said it is not. Whether speaking to a crowd of 1,000 or to your neighbor while getting the mail, Lowe instructs people to step into the character of the best version of themselves.
“Who do you picture yourself to be?” Lowe said. “A lot of people say ‘courageous, loyal, passionate.’ What I ask them is, ‘When was that taken away from you?’ You have to understand this: No one is born with the fear of public speaking.
“Public speaking comes from life events, where someone along the line tells you’re not worthy enough to speak. What I do is, I tell them, ‘I want you to go into the character of the best you.’ So, it’s not disingenuous. I’s just the opposite. It’s going back to the real you. The you before life knocked you down.”
Eli Nash, the founder and president of JEG & Sons, a marketing and distribution service, began working with Lowe a few years ago. Nash, who grew up in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, had helped create a documentary about abused children. When he needed help speaking to groups across the country about the film, Lowe came to the rescue.
“I did my first run-through on the speech and it was super dry,” Nash said. “I had quotes from Viktor Frankl, quotes from Eli Wiesel, all kinds of statistics. He shut me up about a minute into it. He said, ‘Cut the (expletive), Eli. I want to hear your story.’ I don’t want to hear quotes from Viktor Frankl. I don’t want to hear quotes from Eli Wiesel. I want to hear your story. That’s what is going to move the audience.’”
Mosseri agrees that Lowe’s MicDrop methods work. He said profits at US Mobile increased 50 percent since Lowe first worked with his employees several weeks ago.
“With MicDrop, I saw how I could marry my two passions: storytelling and performance,” Lowe said. “Once you stand on a Broadway stage, you are given a gift: the ability to connect with an audience. I decided that I was going to share this gift with the world. I saw so many people who lived their lives in silence. They were so frightened to speak. I knew I could help them.”