Great Speakers Use Acting Skills

public speaking using acting skills

*FOR SPEAKERS – Phillip Seymour Hoffman on Acting


Listen to a great actor talk about his craft and ask yourself what you can take away from it as a performer youself?

“In my mid-20s, an actor told me, ‘Acting ain’t no puzzle,’ ” Hoffman said. “I thought: ‘Ain’t no puzzle?!?’ You must be bad!”  You must be really bad, because it is a puzzle.

Creating anything is hard. It’s a cliché thing to say, but every time you start a job, you just don’t know anything. I mean, I can break something down, but ultimately I don’t know anything when I start work on a new movie. You start stabbing out, and you make a mistake, and it’s not right, and then you try again and again. The key is you have to commit. And that’s hard because you have to find what it is you are committing to.”


“On every film, you’ll have nights where you wake up at 2 in the morning and think, I’m awful in this,” he recalled. “You see how delicate it is — a little movement to the right or the left, and you’re hopelessly hokey.”

 MERLY STREEP on Hoffman

 “I remember seeing Philip in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley.  He played a rich, spoiled snob, and I sat up straight in my seat and said, ‘Who is that?’ I thought to myself: My God, this actor is fearless. He’s done what we all strive for — he’s given this awful character the respect he deserves, and he’s made him fascinating.”

 New York Times  By LYNN HIRSCHBERG   Published: December 19, 2008

 Hoffman on Hoffman

 “You have to bring in vulnerability and privacy that normal people run screaming from.  I think that for most people, it’s one of their worst fears. 

 If you’re an actor and it’s something you want to do well, you are confronting that fear honestly. 

I don’t think actors are different from other people.  I think, they still have that fear, but they know they have a need to create something and do something with it.  But to get past that moment, you are dealing with something – to me it’s quite primal – because you could get up there and not be vulnerable and not be private and be pretty bad because you get up there and protect the shit out of yourself. 

Even when I was young I think I felt this.  I knew I had to start this play, and I knew I had to start it with a certain energy.  And I knew that would take something of me that I wasn’t kosher with.  I didn’t like it, that that was gong to be asked of me and that I was going to have to do it, the possible humiliation of it.”

 Actors At Work  by Rosemary Tichler and Barry Jay Kaplan

 Barbara Kite is an executive speaking and professional acting coach, director and actress in Portland Oregon.


July 2, 2009 - Posted by | acting skills, fear of speaking, presentations, Public Speaking

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