Acting Lessons Help Us To Become Better Public Speakers

When we speak, it's like we've just gotten on stage…
When we speak, it’s like we’ve just gotten on stage…
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As public speakers, it can be very easy for us to become nervous or upset about our next speech despite our understanding of the importance of public speaking. This can happen at any time, even to experienced speakers. The big question is what can we do about it? It turns out that one solution has been used by actors and actresses to solve this very same problem.

Play The Role Of The Speaker That You Would Like To Be

In order to deal with an attack of the nerves, you need to find ways to boost your self-confidence. One way to go about doing this is to try to find out just exactly why you have become nervous. More often than not you’ll discover that you have become afraid of doing something wrong – making a mistake while you are giving a speech.

In order to overcome this problem, what actors do is they identify someone that they respect and admire, another actor, whom they believe could play a given role perfectly. When they’ve identified this person, they then “play” that person and start to imitate them when they are performing.

This is exactly what you and I can do when we find that we have suddenly become nervous about our next speaking opportunity. It doesn’t take much to picture a world famous speaker, perhaps Tony Robbins, delivering the speech that we’ve been asked to give. When we can see this being done in our mind’s eye, then it becomes easy for us to “play” them when we are on stage and do a great job.

Create Your Own Green Room

In the world of acting, actors never just show up and go on stage. Instead, there is a warm-up period that they go through in order to become ready to take the stage. This warm-up happens offstage and is generally done in what is called the “green room”.

In the green room an actor is removed from the audience that he or she will be performing for. This gives them an opportunity to warm up their voice, visualize the performance that they’ll be delivering, etc. The challenge that we have as speakers is that unless you are speaking at a very large event, you won’t have access to a green room before your next speech.

What this means for you is that you are going to have to create your own “green room”. This means that you’ll need to start to show up for your speaking engagements early. By doing this you’ll be able to find quiet places before your presentation that you can use as your very own green room. Note that every speaking location will have bathroom and in a pinch, this is where you can get the quiet time that you’ll need to get ready.

What All Of This Means For You

An attack of the nerves can hit any speaker no matter how much experience they have. In order to make sure that this does not derail the next speech that you’ve been asked to deliver or take away from the benefits of public speaking for your audience, you need to take a lesson from the world of professional actors and actresses.

In order to do the thing that makes you nervous, don’t do it as yourself. Instead, play the role of a speaker that you admire and “become” them while you are giving your speech. Also make sure that you create your own “green room” by arriving early to give your speech so that you can warm.

As difficult and challenging as many of our speeches are, actors and actresses have been dealing with the same issues of stage fright for as long as we have. Learn from the techniques that they’ve developed to deal with these stressful situations and you’ll become a better public speaker.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you are acting as another speaker, do you think that you can take this too far?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I had an opportunity to attend the IEEE USA annual meeting which was held in Portland, Oregon this year. I was there because I was going to be receiving an award. Now I always like to receive awards; however, just before I left to travel to Portland I got an email that explained the details of the award ceremony. This is when I found out that I would have 25 seconds in which to make any comments after I received the award. Oh, oh – just exactly what does a 25 second speech look like?