Great Speakers Use Acting Skills

public speaking using acting skills



Child Within?

What does that have to do with public speaking? Great Speakers have an abundance of imagination, passion, authenticity, focus, commitment, joy and heart. And that it is directly connected to their ability to tap into the child within.

The other night, I conducted another amazing Acting Class and it reminds me of the skills public speakers need in order to be great.

Be A Five Year Old.

Everyone found a spot on the floor and began imagining their five year old space and whatever popped up was then worked on; tying shoes, waiting for Dad to come home after being bad, setting up toys like soldiers, ballerinas, etc., waiting for a friend to come over and play, hitting someone who took their toy away and on and on.

Everyone learned that they restrict themselves as adults and the excitement is squelched because we are grown ups who are not allowed to express our feelings in an authentic way. What a pity. Our heads guide us toward what is acceptable, safe and ordinary. And as years go by we make the rules more and more rigid and the child is no longer heard.

The passion, the joy, the commitment, the imagination, the excitement of the child is so necessary in great public speaking. Have you lost touch with yours? Where do you go to re-learn to be authentic, to see anew, and to play again, engaging others in the excitement of life?

I ask for 10 minutes of your time. Because you can’t THINK what it was like to be a child and try to re-capture it. You can’t IMITATE your childhood phrases or actions or words and expect to re-capture the child within. You have to get down and dirty JUST LIKE ACTORS DO.

You have to put it into the present time and be the child. That means you set some time aside – 10 to 15 minutes. Find a quite place. Yes, I know, that doesn’t really exist, but think of the rewards.

Focus and concentrate (another important aspect of public speaking) on your task and nothing else. Now start imagining your surroundings. You don’t have to be exact, just go with whatever pops into your head (the subconscious is where your creativity lives). If the colors in your room can’t be remembered, just toss in whatever comes up, because it will be there for a good reason. It can be a different age, 10 or 2. It doesn’t matter.

Now start to play. Don’t force, just let it come to you. If it’s difficult and you start thinking – DON’T. Just pick up a toy and start playing and talking to yourself out loud IN THE PRESENT, as if it’s happening right now.

Be brave. Be adventurous. Be silly. Be amazed. Commitment, Focus, Imagination, Letting Go, letting it happen to you instead of making it happen, freedom, authenticity, seeing for the first time and being present (absolutely important for public speakers) are just some of the rewards.

Without releasing the child, you will continue bringing your head, and not your heart, to your communication.

 Barbara Kite is an Acting Coach and Speaking Coach in Portland Oregon as well as an actress and director.

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment