Public speaking Tips From an Actor
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
There is a direct correlation between public speaking and acting. For the past 5 years of my career, I've built an entire business and established school around the art of helping children and teens achieve their full potential through theatre - which is one of the most authentic and vulnerable outlets of public speaking.
Having been involved in the world of theatre for nearly 20 years, one of the most important things I've learned in the trade is the ability to improvise. For those of you who don't know, improvisation is a type of theater in which almost everything is unplanned or unrehearsed. For theatre newbies, typically when performing a play or musical, there are weeks upon weeks of rehearsals and preparations that lead up to an end result. With improv, however, this is not the case. Improv throws you onto your feet and puts you in those uncomfortable situations where you have to think on your feet...and fast. Being able to improvise is an invaluable skill when it comes to speaking to be remembered. Sometimes you may get that question you weren't ready for, sometimes you may get that hardball interviewer, sometimes you may get thrown a curveball - this happens, it's life, and it would be naive to assume otherwise. As someone who's both performed and taught improv for years, we can work together to make sure that you are ready for whatever the world may blow your away.
Here's a great tip - Don't be afraid to take impactful pauses!
If you need to think for a second, that's fine, but do it in a way that doesn't make it look like you're stumped. Restate the question (another great active listening tool,) or take a look around the room for dramatic effect. Just keep the conversation going! When in doubt, speak from the heart - not in a cheesy Hallmark card kind of way - but with confidence in yourself, your brand, or whatever your ultimate goal is. Fun fact: actors on Broadway forget their lines all the time, but us as audience members would never know because of the way they cover it up.