Picture yourself at the front of the stage, a room filled with hundreds of engaged members of the audience. Your story and your message inspires the room and the standing ovation makes you realize that you’ve got what it takes to be a successful public speaker.
It might be easy to see this in your mind, but how do you translate it into reality? Cue cards, presentation slides, a killer suit/dress and attention-grabbing icebreaker might be a great place to start. However, if you’re still struggling whenever giving a presentation or still a rookie in the business, where do you go to better your speaking skills?
You may like to consult a public speaking coach. Alternatively, you could try acting. Acting will definitely push you out of your comfort zone and hone you to become a fearless and entertaining presenter.
Acting may not be your first choice but it’s worth exploring. Below are a few acting techniques that you can practice in order to improve and be fearless with your next presentation:
1: Claim the stage
Actors get sufficient time to familiarize themselves and claim the stage as their own prior to their performance. It allows them to become adept at the set, take a good grasp of the surroundings and cultivate the emotion of the character they play as around it.
Speakers usually don’t get enough rehearsal time on stage and more often than not, they only get to be on the podium on the day of the event itself where the room is already packed. Still, you can claim authority and take a moment to get into character -and – as a speaker. Claim the stage as it is your own and accept your part in it and so will your audience.
2: Observe body language
Body language is, if not more, equally important as the text in your slides and words coming out of your mouth. It’s a powerful communication tool and actors and speakers alike make use of it in their performance and presentation.
Body language and other nonverbal communication gestures have a huge impact in better conveying your messages across to your audience. When you learn how to effectively use body languages and gestures, it speaks more than words. Try a few methods to better connect with the audience through nonverbal communication; deliver messages with your hands and coordinate physical and appropriate expressions to your discussion.
Do keep in mind that you don’t have to over-animate your body language, keep it natural as if you’re speaking with a friend, not with a large audience.
3: Practice enunciation
Enunciation‒both in words and emotion‒is critical if you want the audience to have a better grasp of your message. Part of an actor’s job is to deliver their lines and emotions with precision and certainty, often with a little bit of mystery.
Speakers tend to keep their emotions detached from their presentation. Deliver a precise content and express what you feel along with it. Most speakers perform well in terms of concisely discerning and interpreting their message, however, this leaves ambiguity because of vague emotions.
If you want your audience to feel what you feel and understand what you want them to, enunciate it appropriately and convincingly. You want them to feel excited and engage with your brand, show how delighted you are and so shall they too. You want them to take a peek inside your head, let them read and feel what you want them to.
4: Connect with the audience
Focusing only on your content and boxing yourself in is much like presenting a keynote in an empty room. There’s a call-to-action in every presentation and you need to establish yours from the very beginning.
Look-turn-speak is a common acting technique adapted by public speakers. It’s an effective way to have the audience engaged in the presentation.
The technique goes this way: You lead with your eyes (establishing the connection; look element), turn your head and speak accompanied with movements for better message delivery (listeners are deeply and even more so engaged as you go along; turn and speak elements respectively).
5: Vocal expressiveness
The quality, tone and overall vocal expressiveness is vital in making emphasis on subtle interpretations of your work.
Improve yours by recording yourself while practicing the deliverance of your message. Then listen to it afterwards. You may feel awkward listening to it at first but this way you’ll be fully aware of your vocal performance. Did you notice mispronunciations? Unconvincing vocal expressions? Then, note these details and practice again until you’re satisfied with how you sound.
6: Find your light
“Find your light” is a common expression in theatre and the industry. No one would switch their attention to the actor if s/he’s not in the spotlight, would they?
When a speaker steps onto and claims the podium, it’s no different than an actor taking the spotlight and performing. You need to take the stage and showcase your confidence once on the platform. You need to accept your role and let the audience acknowledge your stance; you’re in the same room with an aim to learn and influence.
Whether you admit it or not, acting techniques translate well and helps you become better and a more effective speaker. The very fact that it boosts your confidence aids in overcoming your nerves and conquering your fear of speaking in public.
Don’t try to deliver a speech, have a conversation with your audience.
What other acting techniques do you think are guaranteed to improve your public speaking skills? Share it with us!
About Chie Suarez
Aside from providing tips and hacks in personal and career development, Chie Suarez is also a resident writer for The Fordham Company — one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau.