Great Speakers Use Acting Skills

public speaking using acting skills

*Fixes for anxiety

(information primarily gathered from Great Speaking Ezine with additions and edits from me)

My very favorite is turning it into excitement.  After all both feel the same.  I just replace “I’m scared” with “I’m excited” when the feeling comes up and inevitably other sentences supporting my “excitement” follow.  And in minutes I have myself on the road to excitement.

But not everyone reacts the same and there is no universal fix. Don’t try to use all these fixes at once. Pick out items from this list and try them out until you find the right combination for you.

Visualization strategies that can be used anytime

  • Concentrate on how good you are at public speaking.
  • Pretend you are just chatting with a group of friends.
  • Close your eyes and imagine the audience listening, laughing, and applauding.
  • Remember happy moments from your past.
  • Think about your love for and desire to help the audience.
  • Picture the audience in their underwear.

Strategies in advance of program

  • Be extremely well prepared.
  • Find a  acting class.
  • Get individual or group public speaking coaching.
  • Listen to music.
  • Read a poem.
  • Anticipate hard and easy questions.
  • Organize your speaking notes.
  • Absolutely memorize your opening statement so you can recite it on autopilot if you have to.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Especially practice bits so you can spit out a few minutes of your program no matter how nervous you are.
  • Get in shape. I don’t know why it helps stage fright, but it does.

Strategies just before the program Remember Stage fright usually goes away after you start. The tricky time is before you start.

  • Be in the room at least an hour early if possible to triple check the public address system and everything else on your checklist. You can also schmooze with participants arriving early.
  • Notice and think about things around you to be present.
  • Concentrate on searching for current and immediate things that are happening at the event that you can mention during your speech (especially in the opening).
  • Get into conversation with people near you. Be very intent on what they are saying.
  • Yawn to relax your throat.
  • Doodle.
  • Draw sketches of a new car you would like to have.
  • Look at your notes.
  • Put pictures of your kids/grandkids, dog, etc., in your notes.
  • Build a cushion of time in the day so you are not rushed, but not too much time. You don’t want to have extra time to worry.
  • If your legs are trembling, lean on a table, sit down, or shift your legs.
  • Take a quick walk.
  • Take quick drinks of tepid water.
  • Double check your A/V equipment including the public address system, projectors, etc..
  • Don’t drink alcohol or coffee or tea with caffeine.
  • Concentrate on your speaking ideas and how they will benefit the listeners.
  • Concentrate on your audience.
  • Listen to music.
  • Read a poem.
  • Do isometrics that tighten and release muscles.
  • Shake hands and smile with attendees before the program.
  • Go somewhere private and warm up your voice, muscles, etc.
  • Use eye communication.
  • Go to a mirror and check out how you look.
  • Breathe deeply with your diaphragm, evenly, and slowly for several minutes.
  • Don’t eat if you don’t want to and never take tranquilizers or other such drugs. You may think you will do better, but you will probably do worse and not know it.
  • Open your arms wide, in private, and imagine your eneregry filling the room and covering every listener.  Imagine radiation sunshine from your chest, fingers, etc.

Strategies when the program begins

  • If  legs are trembling, lean on lectern /table or shift legs or move
  • Try not to hold the microphone by hand in the first minute.
  • Don’t hold notes. The audience can see them shake. Use three-by-five cards instead.
  • Take quick drinks of tepid water.
  • Use eye contact. It will make you feel less isolated.
  • Look at the friendliest faces in the audience.
  • Joke about your nervousness. What’s the right wine to go with fingernails?

Remember nervousness doesn’t show one-tenth as much as it feels. Before each speaking engagement make a short list of the items you think will make you feel better. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations. You never know which ones will work best until you try. Rewrite them on a separate sheet and keep the sheet with you at all times so you can refer to it quickly when the need arises.

When speaking in public use these steps to control stage fright so it doesn’t control you.

Barbara Kite is a professional Acting Coach and Executive Speaking Coach as well as Keynot Speaker in Portland Oregon.

www.barbarakite.com

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March 8, 2010 - Posted by | fear of speaking, presentations, Public Speaking

2 Comments »

  1. Barbara, I love your insights. If the situation warrants, I love asking, “What wine goes with fingernails?!” LOL, good stuff. I have found that virtually every time I am to speak as me, the butterflies are very large. However, when I am in character, like my wise-guy-wanna-be Tony Gioviali, the butterflies are tiny little insects.

    The key, and you have mentioned it, is practice. There is absolutely nothing that is as precious to a public speaker, or actor, as rehearsal. I practice until my timing is so on that I can afford little rabbit trails if the audience and moment call for it, and because I have rehearsed for literally hours preparing for the moment, I know exactly where I am when it’s time to return from the rabbit trail.

    I’d love to you use some of your wisdom in my Toastmasters club if you wouldn’t mind. Please email me, or send me a message via Linked In since we’re connected.

    Blessings to you!
    Jerry Walker
    from Atlanta

    Comment by Jerry Walker | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. Owning the moment and the stage is key to alleviating public speaking and networking fears. Everyone has a unique personality–use it. Not everyone is a dance a minute on the stage or a joke teller or a witty soul. As an actor, you know how important it is to be comfortable in your own skin, the trick is to get the right help to identify it and help you use it effectively. Once you know who you are and why you belong on the stage the rest is conversation. Use the all the personality tools you own, the information you feel critical to communicate and connect with the audience. It’s not all there is, but then it never is, which is why we do it over and over again.

    Comment by Jack Shaw | March 17, 2010 | Reply


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